Battered Eagles Are Used To Overcoming Key Injuries
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing Carson Wentz and key starters to win the Super Bowl three years ago and made the playoffs the past two seasons with significant players hurt.
It’s never been this bad, though.
The Eagles (1-4-1) finished Sunday’s 30-28 loss to Baltimore with only two healthy starters on offense: Wentz and center Jason Kelce.
And, they almost rallied to tie the game by scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter. The Ravens (5-1) stopped Wentz on a 2-point conversion to secure the win.
Running back Miles Sanders suffered a knee injury at the end of a 74-yard run and tight end Zach Ertz went down with an ankle injury. Both aren’t expected to play against the New York Giants on Thursday night.
“This is where veteran players who have been through it, and as recently as the last couple of seasons with us, know how to deal with it, know how to handle it and know how to pull these guys along,” coach Doug Pederson said Monday. “I think it’s valuable to have the experience that our guys have had. Listen, nobody wants to go through a season with the amount of injuries that have piled up on us right now. But you saw it. There’s no quit in these guys. There’s always a constant battle until the end and that’s encouraging moving forward.”
In 2017, the Eagles lost Wentz, left tackle Jason Peters, linebacker Jordan Hicks, versatile running back Darren Sproles and special teams captain Chris Maragos to season-ending injuries. Nick Foles led them to their first Super Bowl title.
Wentz finished 2018 on the sideline with a back injury. Again, Foles led them to the playoffs and a win in the wild-card game.
Last season, Wentz led Philadelphia to four straight must-wins in December and the team clinched the NFC East without seven starters on offense in an elimination game.
“We’ve just got to keep it together, keep it tight, keep focusing on one week at a time,” Pederson said. “But I am encouraged by what we’ve done, even though we haven’t necessarily won the game.”
Jalen Hurts played his first snap on Philadelphia’s seventh possession and ran 20 yards to get the offense a first down for the first time in the game. Wentz was split wide on the play and blocked Marcus Peters down the field. Hurts later was a decoy on Sanders’ long run that was fumbled and recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. He was on the field for Wentz’s 1-yard sneak for a TD. Hurts also took the snap and was tackled on a 2-point conversion try. Overall, Hurts has been on the field for 18 snaps this season. The offense has gained 180 yards on those plays.
“I think Jalen’s a playmaker,” Wentz said. “You bring him in off the bench and defenses have to be ready for him.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offensive line needs healthy bodies. Jamon Brown allowed two sacks, four hits and nine pressures in his first start since last season with Atlanta. Calais Campbell tossed aside the 340-pound Brown on one sack that made the veteran look more like one of the inexperienced linemen the Eagles have been using. If Johnson and Jack Driscoll can’t play, Brett Toth would become the fourth offensive lineman to make his first career start this season.
Travis Fulgham keeps making plays since his debut with the Eagles in Week 4. He had six catches for 75 yards, including a leaping 18-yard TD on fourth-and-9 in the fourth quarter. Fulgham has 18 catches for 284 yards and three TDs in three games.
Impressive numbers for a guy who was cut four times by three teams since Detroit selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 draft.
“I just wish I could’ve made more plays for the team, and we just need to do more to get the win,” Fulgham said.
Jake Elliott missed a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half that proved costly. Elliott is only 7 for 10 overall, 1 for 4 from beyond 50 yards.
Ertz is expected to miss a few weeks and Sanders, Driscoll (ankle) and defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quad) are expected to be out at least one game. Johnson (ankle) and safety K'Von Wallace (shoulder) also didn't practice Monday.
16 — Wentz absorbed 16 hits, including a couple late ones that were personal fouls, and got sacked six times. He can’t continue to withstand that many shots.
The Eagles host the Giants (1-5) on Thursday night. The Giants gave coach Joe Judge his first win Sunday, holding on for a 20-19 win over Washington.
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