Eagles beginning to get on track after rocky start to season

The Eagles are finally seeming to get themselves in order following a couple of rough games.

The+Eagles+prevail+over+the+New+York+Giants+by+the+slimmest+of+possible+margins.

NFL/Google

The Eagles prevail over the New York Giants by the slimmest of possible margins.

The past three weeks have been a wild roller coaster ride for the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles. The squad has been tremendously short-handed, plagued by an incredible amount of injuries to some significant players key to their winning recipes. Veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been in and out of the Eagles’ lineup for the first eight weeks, dealing with minor injury one after another. In Week 6’s contest against the Baltimore Ravens, top running back option Miles Sanders suffered an unfortunate knee injury. 

 

As if Eagles fans thought the injuries probably couldn’t get any worse for the team, they were soon proved wrong. In that same game against the Ravens, star Tight End Zach Ertz also caught the injury-bug, hurting his ankle and leaving the game. Ertz was subsequently placed on the Injured Reserve and is still unable to play for at least the next 3-5 weeks as of October 30th, 2020. Fellow tight end Dallas Goedert along with rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor have also remained sidelined with their respective physical ailments.

 

Now, after this unfortunate backstory has been set, let’s discuss what’s happened during the Eagles’ past few contests.

 

Sunday, 10/11/20, Week 5.

 

Coming off a fantastic October 4th victory (the Eagles’ first of the season) against the San Francisco 49ers on a Sunday Night Football matchup in the Bay Area, the Eagles’ next opponent were their interstate rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for Week 5. At this point in the very young season, the Steelers were still an undefeated squad, who seemed to look pretty polished out on the field. (Headed into Week 8, Pittsburgh is still an unbeaten team, with their flawless 6-0 record prior to their November 1st matchup with the Baltimore Ravens).

 

Long story short, the Eagles headed into Western Pennsylvania and got beaten, as predicted by the pregame odds and analyst projections. The Birds put up a great fight in the first half, only down by a field goal at intermission. However, the 3rd quarter was when the downfall occurred, as the Philadelphia defense allowed two big Steeler touchdowns which gave Pittsburgh the momentum, and there was no stopping them from there. The Philly defense could not seem to contain rookie receiver Chase Claypool, the biggest problem of the day for the Eagles, who caught THREE touchdown passes and made himself look like an All-Pro veteran star for the Steelers.

 

Despite the loss in the record column, this was the first game the Eagle offense looked to be flourishing and operating much more smoothly than in the opening several games of the season. Running back Miles Sanders carried the football 11 times for a solid 80 rushing yards, including 2 great touchdown runs. However, the biggest bright spot of this game for the Eagles was the unbelievable performance of the newly-activated 25 year old wide receiver Travis Fulgham, who just came up to the Eagles official roster from the practice squad. Playing in just his second pro-game, Fulgham was absolutely outstanding in this contest- making TEN receptions for a whopping 152 receiving yards and 1 TD. Despite Fulgham’s impressive performance, the final score of this game was 38-29, and the Eagles dropped to 1-3-1 on the season.

 

Sunday, 10/18/20, Week 6.

 

After this disappointing Week 5 loss, things weren’t looking to get much easier, as the Eagles headed home to prepare for the following Sunday’s clash with the exceptional Baltimore Ravens. This game was an interesting one for the Eagles. Down 17-0 at the half, things seemed pretty hopeless for Philly, and a fourth loss of the season seemed almost inevitable. After scoring just 6 points in the 3rd quarter, and being down 24-6 with only the remaining 15 minutes to go, even then a comeback seemed extremely unlikely. 

 

However, the Eagles slammed their feet on the gas pedals intensely for a late game surge, scored a few crucial 4th quarter touchdowns, and suddenly it looked like the game was in reach. Despite the tremendous effort in the final minutes, it proved to be just a bit too little, too late for a complete comeback, and the Eagles fell short once again in Week 6, taking the 30-28 loss to Baltimore. Centerpiece QB Carson Wentz threw 2 touchdown passes along with 1 rushing touchdown himself and avoided throwing any interceptions. However, Wentz’s performance proved to be not enough to secure Philadelphia’s second win in Week 6.

 

Thursday, 10/22/20, Week 7.

 

Thursday Night Football was on the menu on October 22nd for the Eagles, who would kick off Week 7 with an Inter-Division matchup against the New York Giants. Another home game for Philadelphia, this one would take place on an unseasonably warm October night at Lincoln Financial Field. Coming into this game, both the Eagles and Giants had only 1 win to their credit in this season’s miserable NFC East division. However, on this night, one team would grab their second win. 

 

The Eagles started off the game with fantastic energy and execution on the offensive side of the ball, storming down the field on the opening drive of the game and scoring a touchdown to open things up. After this, the Giants came right back and scored a touchdown of their own, tying the game up at 7 to 7 at the end of the 1st quarter.

 

After a decent 1st quarter from both teams, the game got sloppy and ugly to watch. Both teams struggled mightily on offense, and thus it seemed to be a defensively-oriented battle from there on out. At the half, the Eagles led just 10-7 after a 2nd quarter made field-goal by Philadelphia kicker Jake Elliott, the only offense of the entire frame. The 3rd quarter showed that the sloppiness of both teams in this game was going to continue, and after another touchdown allowed by the Eagles defense in the period, the Birds trailed 14-10 headed into the 4th.

 

The Eagles knew they needed to flip on their energy switch, and quickly, if they wanted to win this game. However, despite how much Wentz and the rest of the offense tried to get going on offense, it seemed nothing would click or go in Philly’s favor.

 

After a Giants touchdown reception by Sterling Shepard with just 6:17 remaining in the game to put New York up 21-10, it appeared the Eagles would be taking loss number 5 on the season. Until suddenly, that certain flip switched into gear, and the Eagles woke up from their long nap.

 

With just about 6 minutes remaining in the ballgame, Carson Wentz caught fire and got the Birds flying. After a gorgeous 59-yard completed pass downfield to receiver John Hightower, the Eagles were deep into Giants’ territory and seemingly very close to a crucial TD. That absolutely essential touchdown came about 50 seconds later, as Wentz completed a beautiful pass to Greg Ward Jr. into the end zone to get the Eagles within 5 points of the Giants’ lead.

 

As the Giants then got the football back, holding their 5-point advantage with just 4:34 to go, the Philadelphia defense locked itself in and held strong. As the defense stopped Quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants from a huge 3rd-down conversion with 2:10 remaining, this gave the Eagles the football back and their chance to go for the win. A touchdown would put them up by a single point, and potentially be the game winner. 

 

With QB Carson Wentz leading the charge, the Eagles marched down the field right back into Giants’ territory. Backup tight end Richard Rogers, playing in place of the injured Zach Ertz, made some crucial catches on this late-game drive effort. 

 

Then finally, with just 40 seconds remaining in the game, Wentz threw a sharp and crafty pass to the 5 foot 6 inch running back Boston Scott who caught the ball and dove into the end zone for an Eagles touchdown. This put the Birds up 22-21, and after a tremendous strip of the football by Brandon Graham on Giants QB Daniel Jones to give the Eagles back possession, the ballgame was then officially over. 

 

The Eagles had somehow, some way, found a manner in which to scrape out this ugly-looking win by *a single point* on the scoreboard. Unbelievable stuff.

 

It may not have been pretty to watch, but nonetheless, as the cliche goes, “a win is a win.” Always take what you can get with the Philadelphia Eagles.