Report Card: Uneven Eagles Survive the Giants
PHILADELPHIA - With the season on the brink the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final 4:38 on Thursday night to edge the New York Giants, 22-21, and take a huge step forward in the dismal NFC East.
It was a struggle for most of the night and you could argue the Giants lost it more than Philadelphia won it. An egregious drop by Evan Engram that may have gone for a touchdown and sealed the game for New York was the opening the Eagles needed.
After the Eagles turned into a one-score game on a Carson Wentz to Greg Ward 3-yard touchdown pass, the defense generated a stop after allowing two first downs.
From there it was noted Giant-killer Boston Scott, who hauled in a beautiful 18-yard TD pass on a wheel route from Wentz to vanquish the Giants for an eighth consecutive time and change the narrative from the sky is falling to NFC East favorites.
Here's the report card:
Carson Wentz - C: It was the typical uneven 2020 performance from Wentz. Some great throws and some head-scratchers mixed in. The inconsistency can almost surely be traced to the offensive line and all the changes. As the interior pressure mounted on Thursday Wentz's mechanics went south but he made enough throws to help the Eagles escape, finishing 25-of-43 for 359 yards with two TDs and an interception.
The Offensive Line - D: More changes created issues, especially on the interior. Sua Opeta got his first NFL start at left guard and had his issues as Wentz was under duress for much of the night and the constant interior pressure forced deterioration of the QB's mechanics.
Jordan Mailata has been impressive to date at left tackle but Markus Golden, a pure speed rusher, was a bit of kryptonite for the Australian Superman.
Jake Elliott - D: During the week, special teams coordinator Dave Fipp insisted he wasn't concerned with Jake Elliott's slump from long range. That isn't going to be the case if the fourth-year kicker starts missing gimmes and that started Thursday when Elliott hooked on from 29 yards at the end of the first half.
Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham - B+: The All-Pro defensive tackle, Cox, is such a great player, someone who marries amazing physical gifts with a high football IQ. He showed up the latter by sniffing out a screed to Wayne Gallman and by working with Josh Sweat to force a fumble on Dion Lewis.
It wasn't the Super Bowl but Graham came up with the strip-sack that sealed the game and is playing at a very high level at age 32.
Both Cox and Graham had four tackles each.
DeSean Jackson - B: Jackson had a big impact early and then kind of got lost a little bit as Wentz went heavy Travis Fulgham. Jackson was then injured again late and carted off the field after being inserted for the high-leverage punt return before the game-winning drive. Unfortunately, it looked serious and Jackson was unable to put weight on his right leg.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM and every Monday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SportsMap Radio. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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