It was Week 4 of the 2019 season and the Eagles worked on a short week and needed a victory. Everyone knew it would be a tough assignment – Thursday night at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. As it turned out, the Eagles played their best game of the season and upended Green Bay 34-27 and provided a formula they can use this week to beat the Packers in another gotta-have-it moment in 2020.
Offensively, the Eagles in their win at Lambeau Field were efficient and effective. They relied on the running game to generate 176 yards on 33 carries, an average of 5.9 yards per attempt. The protection for quarterback Carson Wentz was pristine. Wentz was not sacked as he completed 16 of 27 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. The offense scored four touchdowns in four trips inside the Green Bay 20-yard line. Running back Jordan Howard, who is now on the practice squad, accounted for three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
On defense, the Eagles stuffed Green Bay's running game, just 77 rushing yards on 20 carries, and made the Packers one-dimensional. That the dimension was Rodgers bobbing and weaving around a constant pass rush to throw for 422 yards was tough, but the Eagles limited Rodgers to a pair of touchdowns and came up with a last-minute end-zone interception by linebacker Nigel Bradham on a pass tipped by cornerback Craig James.
The special teams contributed as well, with Miles Sanders returning a kickoff 67 yards, Cameron Johnston booming three punts inside the 20-yard line, and the Eagles having the advantage in starting field position – their own 32-yard line versus Green Bay starting at its own 21-yard line.
Added all up, it was a great team victory and it helped propel the Eagles toward a postseason spot. And, as the 3-7-1 Eagles prepare to play this playoff-bound Green Bay (8-3) team, it serves as a template for Philadelphia. It will take all three phases to make it happen. The Eagles have the goal of playing their best 60 minutes of the 2020 season and playing complementary football, understanding that Green Bay is one of the best teams in the NFC – if not the NFL – and that Rodgers is having an MVP-caliber season.
In other news and notes …
1. Quarterback Carson Wentz had his weekly meet-the-media session on Wednesday and is looking forward to playing with an offensive line that should make its second consecutive start together, and he says that he's been both introspective and staying in the moment during the toughest season of his career.
"Whether you're having success or struggling, you've got to have a little bit of both," he said. "You've got to be a little bit introspective to see where you're at and at the same time my process with how I prepare and how I get ready and all of those things, that never changes whether we're 10-0 or 0-10. That's not going to change because I feel confident in the process, how I prepare, how I get ready, and I think the guys feel the same way with how they prepare. You can't press. You can't try to do too much, but at the same time you do have to look at where you can get better, where you can improve, and what's maybe holding you back."
2. Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp has not lost an ounce of confidence in placekicker Jake Elliott, who this season is 11-of-15 on field goals and on Monday night missed his first PAT of the season and is now 14-of-15 there.
"I got a ton of confidence in Jake. I was bummed for him missing that PAT," Fipp said. "Shoot, I think he's 100 percent – well, I know he was 100 percent on PATs going into that game. I think he was one of only a handful of kickers in this league who were in that situation there and obviously came up short. We obviously expect him to make that kick. I thought he did a great job coming back and making that 40-plus-yard kick there for us in the game and I got no worries with him at all."
3. Zach Ertz has been activated to the 53-man roster off of the Injured Reserve list and could play Sunday at Lambeau Field after missing five games with a high-ankle sprain. Ertz joins a tight end corps that has been productive, so we will see how the Eagles employ Ertz and Dallas Goedert, in addition to Richard Rodgers. Ertz was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. The Eagles had a light workout at the NovaCare Complex, practicing without helmets to get back in the swing of things after a tough and physical Monday night game.
4. The release of safety Will Parks, who just could never gain traction in the defense after opening the season with a hamstring injury, gives rookie draft pick K'Von Wallace an opportunity to gain more playing time. Wallace has been a staple on special teams, playing 142 snaps. He's only seen action on 53 snaps in the defense, so we will see how more involved Wallace might be with the defense that continues to use a lot of personnel in the secondary.