The Eagles got their first overtime win of the Doug Pederson-Carson Wentz era on Monday night against the Giants thanks to a second-half turnaround. After what can only be described as an ugly first two quarters, both the offense and defense got things going in the right direction after halftime, climbed back from two scores down, and came away with the victory.
Offensively, the team went into the game without Nelson Agholor and Jordan Howard, and then lost both Lane Johnson and Alshon Jeffery in the first half. The Eagles had to figure out once again a way to gain yards without key players on that side of the football. Against the Giants, they were able to find ways do that and put themselves in a position to win the game. Let's fast-forward to the final drive, in overtime.
ALL OF THE VIDEO CLIPS FEATURE AUDIO ANALYSIS FROM FRAN DUFFY
Here were some key plays from the drive:
On the first play of the possession, the Eagles leaned on a West Coast offense staple, the "spacing" concept, where the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers run hitch routes and the No. 3 receiver runs to the flat. This helps spring Miles Sanders for an 11-yard gain and a first down against man coverage.
On the very next snap, Wentz hands the ball off to Boston Scott on a simple pin-pull run play. The "pin" blocks come from Dallas Goedert and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who block outside-in on the two linemen across from them. The "pulls" come from Brandon Brooks and Jason Kelce, who release to the right sideline as lead blockers in front of Scott. One of the defenders on that side is removed from that part of the field thanks to pre-snap motion. Scott takes the handoff from Wentz and scampers for 25 yards and another first down.
On the next snap, the Eagles move the pocket with Wentz, rolling him to the right on a sprint-out play where he hits Joshua Perkins for a first down. Perkins, working out of the slot, was matched up against star cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and the young tight end ran a strong route to get open across the field. Perkins sold his route vertically up the hash before sticking his foot in the ground and breaking laterally, using his speed to pull away and make himself available to the quarterback for a 13-yard gain and a first down.
Three plays after that, Miles Sanders gained 10 yards on third-and-2. If this play looks familiar, it's because it was the same play the Eagles ran against the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round of the playoffs back in 2017 with Nelson Agholor that went for a huge gain! Sanders is lined up in the bunch, close to the formation. Wentz takes the snap from under center and acts like he's pitching the ball to Scott to the right before putting it right in Sanders' belly. Vaitai is pulling to the left side and makes a great block on the playside linebacker, but Sanders' vision and patience to play off the block and find a crease between Vaitai and Jason Peters is what stands out on this play. Sanders gets skinny and heads upfield for a big play.
Finally, the touchdown to Zach Ertz is off a pass play that we see a lot from the Eagles, particularly down in the low red zone. Ertz motions close to the formation to create a "bunch" look. The Giants try to communicate pre-snap with some sort of an "in and out" call, but it's not communicated well and they end up busting the coverage, leaving Ertz open in the back of the end zone for the walk-off touchdown.
The game-winner by Ertz was great to see, particularly after he put so much on himself for the loss against Miami the previous week. That wasn't the only big play he made on the night, however, because not only did he lead the team with nine catches for 91 yards, but he also reached the end zone twice. One was the game-winner, and the other was the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, off an Eagles staple.
This concept, which is basically a version of what I would call a "follow" concept (where one receiver breaks inside and another runs right behind him in the same direction, "following" him into an area of the field). The way the Eagles get to this concept really gets Ertz isolated one-on-one. It's been a go-to play for them in short-yardage situations in the red zone, on third and fourth down since 2016. It's a tough play to stop, and both Ertz and Wentz display a ton of confidence in each other on these plays.
Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside caught his first career touchdown last week in Miami, but he made what may be the best catch of any Eagles wide receiver all season long this week against the Giants.
There were a handful of things to like from Arcega-Whiteside on this play, from the release to the route to the ball skills all the way to the catch point. It was outstanding. One of the most underrated parts of this, however, is that this is the kind of play that hopefully continues to foster the relationship between both he and Wentz. With the injury to Jeffery, the Eagles will rely on the rookie wideout even more down the stretch. Plays like this will help give Wentz, and the rest of the team for that matter, confidence in his abilities to finish on the ball. Look at the Eagles' sideline after that catch! Some of the leaders on the team are right there and look fired up after the grab. That's great to see!
One of the heroes from Monday's win was running back Boston Scott, who busted off a number of big plays both in the run game and in the passing game against the Giants. The Eagles were creative in his usage and found ways to get him the ball in space. His explosiveness will be an important part of the offensive attack down the stretch for this team.
Perkins, Scott, and Greg Ward combined for 199 scrimmage yards against the Giants – and all three of those players began the year on the practice squad. With each week, the stakes get larger and larger for this Eagles team. This week against Washington, a win would be absolutely crucial as the team looks to gain sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They will need these young players to continue stepping up in order for that to happen.
Fran Duffy is the producer of the Emmy-nominatedEagles Game Planshow which can be seen every gameday during the season on NBC10 in Philadelphia. He is also the host of two Eagles-related podcasts,Eagle Eye in the Sky, which examines the team from an X's and O's angle each and every week as well as theJourney to the Draft podcast, which covers college football and the NFL Draft all year round. Fran also authors the Eagle Eye in the Sky column, which runs four times a week during the football season to serve as a recap for the previous game and to preview the upcoming matchup. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging, and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices, and opponents.