On an ugly football night, the prettiest play won the game for the Philadelphia Eagles.
After giving up a lead and getting down by 11 points with under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter to the one-win New York Giants, Carson Wentz rallied his squad.
Sitting at first-and-goal from the 18-yard-line following a penalty by Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce with 46 seconds remaining, the Eagles needed a touchdown. Wentz delivered his best pass of the season.
The Eagles QB, who had been underwater all game behind a sieve offensive line, stepped up in the pocket and dropped a dime to running back Boston Scott running a downfield route out of the backfield. Listed at 5-foot-6, Scott corralled the pigskin with one arm while gracefully falling toward the end zone.
TD, Eagles: 22-21 lead.
“He wasn’t the primary read on that play,” Wentz explained after the win, via the team’s official transcript. “The way it happened — I stepped up in the pocket — and [Giants S Jabrill Peppers] had pretty good coverage. But [I gave] Boston a chance there to make a play and he did. He plays bigger than whatever he is — 5-foot-7 — he plays bigger than that. [Scott] made a great play. I was pretty surprised when we pulled it off. When I threw it I thought it was a little high, but like I said, [Scott] plays bigger than he is. Obviously there were a lot of emotions there. It was kind of a big, exciting moment, but a big, kind of sigh of relief because we left a lot of plays out there. The way we battled and found a way at the end of the game was huge for us.”
Wentz’s play hasn’t been pretty this season. Too often, he tries to play superhero behind a makeshift offensive line leading to plays like his killer interception that wiped out a chance to stretch the Eagles’ lead late in the first half.
But then the fifth-year quarterback makes a magnificent play that reminds us of his top-shelf talent.
The win puts the Eagles at 2-4-1 atop the putrid NFC East, leapfrogging the disappointing Dallas Cowboys. A loss would have potentially jumbled the standings, with the Giants staying in the thick of the hunt. Philly’s win sets up what could quickly become a two-horse race.
The comeback victory could spur Philadelphia, which faces Dallas next week and plays the Giants again after a Week 9 bye. Sweep those tilts as they get healthier, and the Eagles could be soaring toward a playoff spot.
“It does a lot for our confidence the way we’ve really fought to come back in the last couple ball games,” Wentz said. “To actually do it and pull out a win is huge for our confidence and we know it’s a divisional game. So it’s huge for the NFC East, as well. … We’d love to not be in those situations where our backs are against the wall. We left a lot of plays out there. We were in the red zone a lot and didn’t score many points. Those are the things we have to clean up and be better.
“But when our backs are against the wall and we have to make plays, I’m going to give guys all the opportunity in the world to make them. [Coach Doug Pederson] does a great job of calling the game in those situations where we’re playing fast and putting a lot of pressure on the defense. We’re obviously doing some good things in those situations. We have to keep building on it. But again, ideally we don’t put ourselves in those situations. But when we need it, we’ve been successful for the most part so far.”
The Eagles are a flawed team ravaged by injury. Luckily, they play in the NFC East, which gives them a path to the postseason where anything can happen. As the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Philly is lucky to be in the NFC East and good enough to win if Wentz makes plays like he did to lead the comeback win.
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