Elliott Sinks Giants Again with Late Kick
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - When the New York Giants visited Lincoln Financial Field last year the Eagles were leaking oil in the secondary and persevered late as Jake Elliott's franchise-record long 61-yard field goal arguably kickstarted the run toward Super Bowl LII.
This time a lesser kick -- a 43-yarder with just 22 seconds left -- lifted Philadelphia (5-6) to a 25-22 comeback win, keeping the Eagles relevant in the NFC East race despite the absence of Jim Schwartz's top five cornerbacks and losing another, undrafted rookie Chandon Sullivan, in game.
The Eagles found themselves down 19-3 at halftime after allowing a mind-numbing 346 yards of offense but a late Malcolm Jenkins interception of Eli Manning seemed to shift momentum.
"Just a bad decision," Manning said of his throw. "One-hundred percent bad decision on me. They were playing soft [coverage] and I just have to throw that away and try for a long field goal."
The second half was the polar opposite of the first 30 minutes with the Philadelphia defense stifling the Giants with a strong pass rush and simplified coverage schemes that helped protect the untested young CBs, particularly De'vante Bausby and Cre'Von LeBlanc, who moved from the slot to outside corner after Sullivan went down.
Jenkins, meanwhile, served as a jack-of-all-trades, starting at safety and mixing in some nickel linebacker work without Jordan Hicks available and ultimately also playing in the slot.
"Just do simple better," star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said when asked what the young players were told at halftime. "I think that was the biggest thing for us. Everybody just calmed down."
After the dismal first half, the Eagles defense allowed only 56 total yards in the second half giving the offense some time to gather its sea legs.
Much of that came in the form of a reinvigorated run game in which rookie Josh Adams carried it 22 times for 84 yards, including a 1-yard TD run with just over 10 minutes left that put Philadelphia on top for the first time at 22-19.
"He's fast man. He's really quick, he's getting his knee healthy," All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson said of Adams. "He goes about his business, really smart and doesn't say a whole lot. He's one of those guys that's just a silent killer."
After the Giants deadlocked the game on the ensuing possession the Eagles set Elliott up for the game-winner by moving the football and siphoning nearly 5 1/2 minutes off the clock thanks to a 10-play drive featuring six runs even if most of the efficacy on the march came from Carson Wentz throws to Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor.
Wentz bounced back from his toughest game as a professional to finish 20-of-28 for 236 yards with a touchdown to Ertz and a 108.6 passer rating while Ertz was the top receiver as normal, hauling in seven of eight targets for 91 yards.
Along with Adams, Corey Clement was also effective in the backfield, running for 45 yards on five carries.
The Eagles are now a game back of both Dallas and Washington in the NFC East with the Redskins visiting Lincoln Financial Field a week from Monday and Philadelphia visiting Dallas in two weeks.
"While none of this has been enjoyable or what we wanted this season to be, the fact of the matter is we have never been out of reach," Jenkins said. "Not to say that next week is going to be any easier. It's the same kind of process. ... we still have the same injuries and all these things. We have to find a way to come up with the best plan, be prepared, get these guys ready and go compete."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen