It may have been the Eagles’ best offensive drive of the season.
The drive came with the Buffalo Bills still hanging around in front of their still-loud fans late in Sunday’s game at New Era Field when the Eagles got the ball with 14:29 still left in the fourth quarter and holding a 24-13 lead.
The Eagles got the ball at their own 17 and with the wind blowing right in their faces. By the time the Bills got the ball back with 6:12 to go, the outcome was decided at 31-13 in the Eagles’ favor.
The Birds had gone three-and-out on their previous possession and the one before never happened because punt returner Boston Scott fumbled a punt to give the ball to the Bills.
The Eagles were staring at another three-and-out right at the start of this drive. On third-and-five, quarterback Carson Wentz scrambled up the middle for 13 yards and a first down.
“That was a naked play and the D-end just got so wide I just saw green grass and took it,” said Wentz.
Then came a third-and-10.
This time, Wentz was supposed to throw a screen pass but a defender was in the throwing lane, so he took off running again. This time he got 11 yards and another first down.
“Right when the D-end was in the throwing lane, at that point, I just went into improvise mode and made a play,” said Wentz.
There was one more third down conversion along the way. This one was a third-and-seven and came after the Eagles reached the Bills’ 21. This time, Wentz threw into the stiff wind that howled all day and found tight end Zach Ertz uncovered inside the 5 for a completion and a first-and-goal.
Ertz wasn’t very involved in the game plan all day, but to his credit he said afterward, “I would rather have two catches (which he did) and win than 15 catches and lose.”
Wentz knew early in his drop back that he was going for Ertz on that play.
“He crushed his guy off the line,” said the quarterback. “I saw his release and then that was the route right there and he got wide open on the corner, did a great job and I know he had a really quiet game otherwise, but you know when we needed him, he stepped on in and made the play.”
The drive ended when Jordan Howard plunged in from three yards away.
Howard, who carried the ball 23 times, which is the most for any running back since head coach Doug Pederson took over, carried eight times for 34 yards on a drive that consumed 14 plays and 8 minutes, 17 seconds and went 83 yards. It salted away the win.
Head coach Doug Pederson said the drive was actually his teams’ best of the season, with a caveat.
“Yeah, because it’s kind of the last one, but it’s impressive,” said Pederson. “The guys really, again, took it upon themselves when we rode the offensive line, the tight ends, and found a way to win.”