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The Mechanics Of A Game-Winning Field Goal

Posted Sep 24, 2017

To get to the point where placekicker Jake Elliott was carried off the field after his 61-yard field goal beat the New York Giants 27-24 on Sunday, so much happened. Let’s recap, from the players’ point of view.

  • The defense forced New York into a three-play offensive series, aided by two penalties on Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers, an illegal-shift penalty and a holding penalty. On third-and-15 from the Giants 20-yard line, quarterback Eli Manning completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram, who was tackled just shy of the first-down mark by linebacker Mychal Kendricks. “I knew he was short,” Kendricks said. “Just short, but short.”

  • Brad Wing kicked away from punt return man Torrey Smith, filling in for the injured Darren Sproles. Wing, perhaps aware of the Miracle of the Meadowlands punt returns from Brian Westbrook in 2003 and DeSean Jackson in 2010, had his punt go out of bounds at the Eagles 38-yard line with 13 seconds remaining.

  • On first down from there, the Eagles had two timeouts remaining and the chance to run two plays, ideally getting the ball to the New York 30-yard line. It didn’t quite happen. Quarterback Carson Wentz threw out of bounds on first down and then completed a 19-yard pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on the right sideline as two Giants defensive backs collided. Jeffery was able to step out of bounds with one second remaining on the clock. “We practice it all the time,” Jeffery said. “Torrey did a great job of clearing out over the top and I tucked in there and Carson put the ball right where it needed to be.”

  • Then the Eagles lined up for the final play and New York called timeout to try to ice Elliott. He ran over to the sideline for one kick into the practice net and then trotted onto the field. “I kind of knew they were going to call a timeout, due to the fact that the Chiefs did it last week and we missed that short field goal,” Lovato said. “I saved that snap. I didn’t snap it as they called the timeout because I wanted to save myself and save Jake’s leg so he didn’t have to kick one before the timeout. I got set again, got a clean snap, it was a clean kick right through the right upright. I was running down the field because with a field goal like that, you have to protect (against a run back). He booted that ball through the right upright and all I could do was take off my helmet and sprint around the entire stadium. It was probably the most exciting time in my entire life for a football experience.”

  • Holder Donnie Jones has seen a lot, so he knows how special that moment was because everyone chipped in. “The offense got us into position to make a kick. Then there was the snap, the hold, the protection and the kick. It was a true team job," Jones said. "It sounded good, but I couldn’t tell. I was more focused on Odell Beckham back there (as the return man).”

  • Finally, Elliott: “It’s kind of all a blur to me. I don’t really know, all I know is that the ball was in the air for a really long time and (it was) real close to that right upright.”

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