‘Great Scott:’ Eagles Complete December Run, Win NFC East
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (973espn.com) - The names may change but the results don't for Doug Pederson.
The Eagles are headed back to the postseason for the third consecutive year by completing a four-game, intra-division winning streak with a 34-17 win over the New York Giants at rain-swept MetLife Stadium.
Philadelphia lost star rookie Miles Sanders (ankle) and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks (shoulder) in-game but still persevered with playmakers named Boston Scott, Josh Perkins, and Deontay Burnett.
Scott, the lead back once Sanders exited in the second quarter, finished with 138 scrimmage yards -- 54 rushing and 84 receiving -- with three touchdown runs while Perkins, elevated to a more significant role due to Zach Ertz's absence with a broken rib and lacerated kidney, hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz.
"It's just the result of the machine that's the offense. Doug Pederson put us in situations to be successful and it's on us to capitalize in those situations," Scott said.
Wentz, meanwhile, set new franchise records for completions and passing yards while leading the Eagles back from the abyss of 5-7 to a division title and a home playoff game against the loser of San Francisco/Seattle on Sunday night, all without his star playmakers like Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor and Darren Sproles never mind Ertz and the in-game injuries on Sunday.
Wentz finished 23-of-40 for 289 yards and the TD.
"I think that's what makes it that much more special. The camaraderies of the guys buying in and believing," Wentz said. "... we've had new playmakers every week. Different guys stepping up because guys are getting hurt and banged up. It's just fun to see guys step up in big moments like that."
The real turning point of the game came early in the fourth quarter and some familiar names on defense provided it. Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones couldn't handle a low snap and when he finally did pick it up, Malcolm Jenkins whacked the football out and it squirted back toward the New York end zone where Fletcher Cox scooped it up at the two-yard line.
"I didn't try to pick it up and score," Cox said. "I just tried to make sure I got the football and try to get it back to the offense and get it in position for them to score. ... It was a big play of the game. That was a big play, that was a big turning point for us."
Scott waltzed in a play later and the Eagles went from a precarious 20-17 edge to a comfortable 27-17 margin effectively stealing the heart of the 4-12 Giants.
Jim Schwartz's defense played very well overall with the lone real blemish, a 68-yard TD run by New York star Saquon Barkley. On Barkley's other rushes, however, the former No. 2 overall pick was limited to 24 yards on 16 rushes.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen