THREE-AND-OUT: Travis Fulgham and Jalen Hurts

Ed Kracz

PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles talk about how close they are to turning things around, though just how accurate that sentiment is remains to be seen.

The next three games will make or break their season because they are in the NFC East and two of them are against a New York Giants team that won its firsts game, 20-19, on Sunday over the Washington Football Team.

Sandwiched between New York are the Dallas Cowboys in a primetime game on Nov. 1 and a bye.

While there’s no predicting how close the Eagles are to turning around a 1-4-1 season, a case could be made that they are closer to having a winning record than not.

To wit:

  • They had a chance to try a game-winning kick against the Bengals in the final seconds of overtime against the Bengals, but a false start pushed them out of field goal range.
  • A missed 57-yard field goal with just over three minutes to play against the Steelers would have given the Eagles a lead.
  • A failed two-point conversion try in the final minutes that would have tied the game against the Ravens.

In the NFL, though, that is the fine line between winning and losing.

"That's right where we should be, 1-4-1,” said head coach Doug Pederson.

Here’s my three-and-out from the 30-28 loss to the Ravens:


Travis Fulgham

Come on down DeSean Jackson on Thursday night against the Giants, if you are able. Alshon Jeffery, too, whenever that may be.

Just don’t expect to take snaps away from Travis Fulgham, who made it three straight games with a touchdown catch and is playing the No. 1 WR this team needs.

Fulgham has three touchdown catches in three straight games. His most recent came on a fourth-down throw and required he rise above two of the best DBs in the game – Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters - to latch onto an 18-yard pass.

“Wentz made a check at the line,” said Fulgham after making six receptions for 75 yards and the score. “It was a great check. And he placed the ball at the right spot, floated it up, and let me get a chance to go up and get it.”

Fulgham was targeted much in the first half, somewhat of a surprise after what he did against the Steelers a week earlier, with 10 catches for 152 yards and a TD.

After two quarters, Fulham was targeted just three times and had two catches for 27 yards. One of those targets was a Hail Mary throw at the end of the first half that it looked like he was close to catching.

Fulgham ended with seven targets in the second half.

In three games, he has 18 catches for 284 yards and three TDs.

“He’s a baller,” said QB Carson Wentz. “I said last week, I see it in practice. It’s good to just see these guys get their chance and make plays. … There was zero blitz a handful of times today and I just looked to him.”


The spark

The game changed when the rookie quarterback entered the game. His 20-yard run with 5:32 left in the second quarter gave the Eagles their initial first down of the game. Until that point, the Eagles had minus-7 yards of total offense.

Hurts continued to spark the first first-down drive with another first-down run as the Eagles eventually got to the Ravens’ 21.

He played seven snaps and was effective.

Nobody is suggesting he take over for Wentz, but perhaps a larger role is in his future. 

He was drafted in the second round so it’s up to the Eagles’ offensive brain trust to figure out how to utilize him.

“I think Jalen’s a playmaker,” said Wentz. “You bring him in off the bench and defenses have to be ready for him. He’s at where I’m at and all of the above and I think it puts a little stress and a little pressure on the defense.

“There are some exciting plays potentially there to be had. It’s something that we’re going to keep repping, keep working on and hopefully find ways to supplement our offense and find ways to get some big plays that way.”

Added Pederson: “I guess I could have put him in there one or two more times. He gave us a spark at times and that was good to see, and we'll just continue to keep him involved.”


Missed opportunities

Two dropped passes are the most glaring.

One had the potential for an 88-yard score from John Hightower, or at least a 45-yard or so gain into Baltimore territory on the Eagles’ first offensive possession, and the second a certain score that Miles Sanders let go through his hands in the end zone at the end of the first half.

Sanders’ drop came on second-and-four after the Eagles had navigated to the Ravens 21. Sanders then picked up one yard on a run then Wentz was stopped on fourth-and-one, leaving the Eagles without any points despite a nice drive late in the first half.

Another missed opportunity was the inability to grab three points on an untimed down in the second quarter. After Wentz was roughed on his Hail Mary throw into the end zone, the ball was moved up 15 yards and gave them a shot at a 52-yard field goal. Jake Elliott, though, was wide right.

Lose by two points and those bungled chances are viewed in a harsh light.

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