Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles clinch NFC East title, await NFC West runner-up in Wild Card Round

The Eagles found a way.

On offense, the Eagles were without tight end Zach Ertz, tackle Lane Johnson, and wide receiver Nelson Agholor before kickoff due to injury.

Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks and dynamic rookie running back Miles Sanders were injured in the first half.

Defensively, cornerback Jalen Mills was unable to go with an ankle injury. Avonte Maddox started at cornerback but left due to injury. Defensive end Brandon Graham briefly exited.

It didn't matter.

The Eagles found a way.

The Eagles broke a 17-17 tie entering the fourth quarter and erupted for 17 points in the final 15 minutes to beat the New York Giants 34-17 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium to finish the regular season with a 9-7 record, good enough for the team's second NFC East Division Championship in three years.

The Eagles will host the loser of Sunday night's NFC West de facto title game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks during Wild Card Weekend. Time and date have yet to be announced.

Quarterback Carson Wentz set the Eagles' single-season records for completions and passing yards, going 23-of-40 for 289 yards with a touchdown for a QB rating of 88.4

Running back Boston Scott scored three touchdowns on the ground to power the offense, accounting for 138 yards from scrimmage.

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox recovered a fumble by Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, forced by safety Malcolm Jenkins, at the New York 2-yard line with 13:03 remaining in the game. On the next play, Scott plowed into the end zone to make it 27-17 and the Eagles were on their way.

Defensive end Derek Barnett had two sacks. Cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc had a critical fourth-down stop of Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Cornerback Sidney Jones posted an interception.

Here's the position-by-position recap of how the Eagles performed:

QUARTERBACK

Carson Wentz played a turnover-free game, completing 23 of 40 attempts for 289 yards with a touchdown for an 88.4 passer rating. And he did this with five pass catchers who were on the practice squad at some point this season. Five! Wentz was great on the move. He showed touch on a beautiful over-the-shoulder throw to tight end Dallas Goedert along the sideline. He showed his arm strength on the 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joshua Perkins in the second quarter, throwing the ball across the field. 

RUNNING BACK

Miles Sanders provided the spark early, gaining 52 yards on the ground before exiting with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Jordan Howard was active, but didn't get a touch as head coach Doug Pederson said after the game that he wanted to preserve both Howard and wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Howard was in the lineup for the first time since November 3, sidelined with a shoulder injury. Arcega-Whiteside was limited in practice this week with a foot injury.

When Sanders left, it became the Boston Scott show.

If you remember, Scott was the spark plug in the overtime win over the Giants three weeks ago with 59 yards rushing and 69 receiving yards. On Sunday, Scott posted 138 yards from scrimmage with 54 yards on the ground and another 84 receiving. However, Scott crossed the goal line three times. And his 39 yards gained on a third-and-13 screen pass all but sealed the game.

PASS CATCHERS

Six players caught a pass in this game for the Eagles. Five of them were on the practice squad at some point this season. Greg Ward came up with clutch reception after clutch reception, finishing with six grabs for 43 yards. Tight end Dallas Goedert, coming off his career performance against Dallas, had four catches for 65 yards in Ertz's stead. Tight end Joshua Perkins had the first touchdown for the Eagles to finish with four receptions for 50 yards. But Deontay Burnett came off the practice squad this week to chip in with two catches for 48 yards, including a 41-yarder. Robert Davis made a beautiful contested catch, but it was wiped out due to penalty.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The line was without Lane Johnson due to an ankle injury. His tag-team partner Brandon Brooks exited following an extra point attempt with a shoulder injury. Halapoulivaati Vaitai started at right tackle and Matt Pryor filled in at right guard. Wentz was only sacked once all game and the Eagles gained 121 yards on the ground against a stout defensive front.

RUN DEFENSE

Before Saquon Barkley rushed for a 68-yard touchdown in the third quarter, he had 11 carries for 10 yards.

Eleven carries for 10 yards.

His final totals of 92 yards on 17 carries looks more than respectable with the big touchdown gallop which made it 17-17 late in the third quarter.

But the defensive line was outstanding and just like in the win over Dallas, the team tackling was on point. Defensive end Brandon Graham had three tackles for loss. Cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc stuffed Barkley on a fourth-down run in the fourth quarter.

There was a sequence where the Giants had second-and-1, then third-and-1, before finally converting on fourth down. Daniel Jones used his legs to get 26 yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE

Jones finished 28-of-47 for 301 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 76.6 QB rating. The Eagles brought him down four times, led by Derek Barnett who had two. Safety Malcolm Jenkins was all over the field with eight tackles and the forced fumble of Jones that defensive tackle Fletcher Cox recovered at the Giants' 2-yard line which essentially won the game for the Eagles. Safety Rodney McLeod twice jarred the ball loose from Giants tight end Kaden Smith. LeBlanc also had a key pass breakup. Cornerback Sidney Jones had an interception late.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jenkins had a special teams tackle early and Graham drew a holding penalty on a punt that helped aid the Eagles in the field position game. The fact that two key starters were coming up huge on special teams showed what they mean to this squad. Jake Elliott provided the go-ahead points on a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter in the rain. Even though the Eagles eventually won going away, this was a critical turning point as a miss here would have given the Giants the ball with good field position in a tie ballgame.

Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' Week 17 clash against the New York Giants.

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