Another late goal-line stand helped the Eagles grind out a 20-16 victory the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense marched to the Eagles' 4-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but was unable to punch the ball into the end zone thanks to a fourth-down sack by second-year defensive end Derek Barnett.
The Eagles took the ball back with 1:13 to go, but short gains on three straight plays forced Indianapolis to call all three of its timeouts.
On the ensuing possession, the Colts moved the ball to their own 46-yard line to set up a Hail Mary pass from backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, but the pass fell to the turf to give the Eagles their second win of the season.
In quarterback Carson Wentz's first game of 2018, he completed 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Running back Wendell Smallwood rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz both led the team in receiving with 73 yards apiece.
The Eagles' defense made quick work of the Colts' offense on the game's opening possession, forcing a three-and-out after getting to Luck on third down and forcing a desperation shovel pass. Wentz then took the field to an electric standing ovation.
With completions to all three tight ends (Josh Perkins, Ertz, and Goedert) as well as rhythmic runs by Smallwood and Corey Clement, Wentz led the Eagles on a methodical drive of 12 plays for 79 yards that took 5:11 off the clock.
The drive culminated when Wentz found Goedert wide open in the end zone on a 13-yard pass for the rookie's first career touchdown reception.
The defense rode the wave of momentum for another three-and-out as the Colts only gained 2 yards on the possession. Defensive end Michael Bennett hit Luck's arm as he attempted a third-down throw and forced an ugly incompletion.
Early on the Eagles' ensuing drive, Wentz pulled off one of his signature escapes from the pocket and made a pass down the field to Goedert. But after a third-down sack and a missed 55-yard kick by Jake Elliott, the Colts regained possession at their own 45.
A pass interference penalty on cornerback Jalen Mills quickly gave the Colts a first-and-10 at the Eagles' 15-yard line. Five plays later, an impressive catch in the corner of the end zone by wide receiver Ryan Grant tied the game at 7-7 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Eagles couldn't take advantage of a defensive holding on their next drive and punted after five plays. But the Eagles' defense went right out, survived a 33-yard run by Luck, and forced to the Colts to punt at midfield after safety Corey Graham stepped in front of a screen pass to make an impressive deflection on third down.
The Eagles marched down the field in a hurry on their next drive. Running back Josh Adams, in his NFL debut, ran for 26 yards on two carries. A 34-yard pass to running back Wendell Smallwood brought the Eagles inside the red zone. The drive stalled, however, after a fumbled snap that forced the Eagles to settle for a 33-yard Elliott field goal to make the score 10-7.
The Eagles' defense once again forced a punt after just five plays. On the ensuing drive, a 6-yard scramble-and-dive by Wentz picked up a first down at the Philadelphia 38. But without timeouts, the clock ran out on the offense and the Eagles, as the game went into halftime.
Check out all of the best photos from Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts on September 23, 2018.
The Eagles received the second-half kickoff but couldn't get anything going on offense as the Colts forced a three-and-out. The Indianapolis offense marched down the field and converted on a fourth-and-2 at the Eagles' 28, but the defense forced a 35-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal three plays later and the Colts tied the game at 10.
On the first play of the Eagles' next drive, Colts linebacker Anthony Walker undercut a Wentz pass to Ertz and intercepted it at the Eagles' 17-yard line. The Colts' offense couldn't get anything going and settled for a 31-yard field goal to take a 13-10 lead. Safety Rodney McLeod was hurt on the series and had to limp off the field with a knee injury.
The Wentz-to-Ertz connection was back to 2017 form on the next drive as a 28-yard pass brought the Eagles deep into Colts territory. A completion to Agholor and a tough first-down run by Smallwood got the Eagles even closer, but they had to settle for a 24-yard Elliott field goal to tie the game at 13-13 with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles' defense made yet another three-and-out stop on the Colts' next drive, giving the offense the ball at its own 19.
After a short run and an incompletion on a deep ball to Agholor, Wentz was hit by Colts defensive tackle Margus Hunt who forced a fumble and got the recovery. The Colts took over at the Eagles' 13-yard line and took the game into the fourth quarter tied at 13. The defense stopped the Colts three straight plays and a 28-yard Vinatieri field goal made it 16-13 Colts with 14:20 remaining.
The Eagles overcame a plethora of penalties to begin a remarkable 17-play, 75-yard drive. Passes to Goedert and Agholor and a run by Smallwood brought the Eagles into Colts territory.
The drive seemingly stalled after a fourth-down throw from Wentz fell incomplete, but a holding penalty on Indianapolis kept the drive alive. On third-and-9, an incredible desperation pass by Wentz and an Agholor hurdle converted a first down at the Colts' 26.
A screen pass to Clement gave the Eagles another first down at the 12-yard line. On second-and-2 from the 4-yard line, Smallwood punched in a touchdown to give the Eagles a 20-16 lead with 3:02 remaining. It capped of a drive that took 11:18 off the clock.