The Eagles not once, but twice, kept Green Bay out of the end zone in a goal-to-go situation in the fourth quarter as used three total touchdowns from running back Jordan Howard to pull out an emotional, dramatic 34-27 victory over the previously unbeaten Packers to improve to 2-2. The Eagles now have 10 days of rest before the New York Jets come to Philadelphia.
Doug Pederson remains perfect on Thursday nights, improving his record to 5-0 as Eagles head coach.
It was a scary scene at Lambeau Field with 1:15 left in the game as safety Andrew Sendejo tried to tackle tight end Robert Tonyan, but collided helmet-to-helmet with cornerback Avonte Maddox. The entire team came out to support Maddox, who was taken off the field on a stretcher. The team announced that Maddox has movement in all of his extremities, but was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.
When play resumed, the Packers had the ball at the Eagles' 7-yard line. After a 4-yard gain on the ground by running back Aaron Jones, Rodgers' second-down pass was batted into the air by cornerback Craig James, who subbed in for Maddox, and intercepted by linebacker Nigel Bradham to seal the win.
It was Rodgers' first interception of the season as he was 34-of-53 for 422 yards with two touchdowns and the interception for a 93.4 QB rating. Rodgers was also the Packers' leading rusher with 46 yards on the ground. Rodgers completed his first 10 pass attempts, and wide receiver Davante Adams, who finished with 10 catches for 180 yards, went for over 100 yards in the first quarter alone. Adams, however, didn't finish the game as he suffered a toe injury in the fourth quarter.
Green Bay was 3-of-7 in the red zone, while the Eagles were a perfect 4-for-4. The Eagles forced a turnover on downs earlier in the quarter as Green Bay passed four times from the 1-yard line, and was unable to get the ball in the end zone.
The Eagles rallied from an early 10-0 hole – the team has trailed by double digits in all four games this season – by scoring on four straight possessions, not including a kneeldown to end the first half. Philadelphia relied heavily on the ground game as Howard had 87 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground, including the game-winning points with 14:13 left in the fourth quarter. Howard also 28 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air to be the first Eagles running back with a three-touchdown game since LeSean McCoy against the Jets in 2011. It was Rodgers' first career loss at home (58-1-1) after leading by 10 points at any moment in the game. Thursday night marked the first time that the Eagles ever defeated Rodgers.
Rookie Miles Sanders chipped in with 72 yards on the ground and also sparked the offense with a 67-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
Quarterback Carson Wentz was an efficient 16-of-27 for 160 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 113.2 QB rating. Tight end Zach Ertz was the leading receiver with seven catches for 65 yards. Tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery each had a touchdown grab.
Defensive end Derek Barnett forced a fumble with a strip-sack of Rodgers that was recovered by defensive end Brandon Graham at the Packers' 17-yard line. Howard scored on a 1-yard run to make it 21-13 in the second quarter.
The Eagles' offense was not called for a single penalty in the win.
FIRST QUARTER RECAP
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a perfect 10-of-10 for 129 yards and wide receiver Davante Adams caught six of those passes for 107 yards in the first quarter alone to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
Running back Aaron Jones scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive.
There was a scary moment on the Packers' first offensive play from scrimmage. Running back Jamaal Williams took the handoff and was wrapped up by two Eagles defenders when defensive end Derek Barnett charged in, led with his helmet, and crashed directly into Williams' head. Williams was placed on a board and taken off the field on a stretcher. Williams gave a thumbs up to the crowd and the Packers shortly later announced that the running back had feeling in his extremities. Barnett was called for unnecessary roughness on the play. Later on the same drive, Rodgers hit a streaking Adams down the right sideline for 58 yards to the Eagles 7-yard line to set up Jones' touchdown.
Making matters more difficult for the Eagles' defense was that Sidney Jones left with a hamstring injury. Avonte Maddox moved to the left cornerback position, Malcolm Jenkins went to the slot, and the Eagles used more big nickel packages with Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien.
SECOND QUARTER RECAP
The Eagles exploded for three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-20 lead at halftime, going 3-for-3 in the red zone.
Quarterback Carson Wentz finished the first 30 minutes 8-of-13 for 63 yards with two touchdowns and a 113.1 QB rating. His leading target was tight end Zach Ertz, who had four catches for 41 yards. Tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who fully returned from injury, each had a touchdown.
Running back Jordan Howard led the Eagles' balanced attack with 44 first-half rushing yards and scored the final of the three touchdowns on a 1-yard run.
The Eagles fell behind 10-0 after a 30-yard Mason Crosby field goal. Philadelphia has trailed by double digits in each of its four games this season.
The turning point was a 67-yard kickoff return by rookie Miles Sanders to spark the offense. Down 10-0, the Eagles capitalized on the good field position as Wentz connected with Jeffery for a 6-yard touchdown.
The Packers answered with a 31-yard field goal, but decided to settle for the three points on a fourth-and-2 from the Eagles' 13-yard line.
After the second Crosby field goal, the Eagles received great field position again as the kicker knocked the kickoff out of bounds. The Eagles converted three third-down situations and Wentz hit Goedert for a 3-yard touchdown to take a 14-13 lead.
The Eagles' defense, armed with the lead, stepped up as Barnett strip-sacked Rodgers and the ball was recovered by defensive end Brandon Graham at the Green Bay 17-yard line. Howard's 1-yard touchdown extended the lead to 21-13 with :59 to go in the half.
It was enough time, however, for Rodgers to catch fire. With no timeouts, Rodgers connected on back-to-back passes with wide receiver Geronimo Allison, the latter a 19-yard touchdown to make it 21-20 Eagles at halftime.
Rodgers finished the first half 16-of-22 for 241 yards with a touchdown for a 123.5 QB rating.
THIRD QUARTER RECAP
The third quarter ended in a 27-27 tie as each team scored a touchdown.
The Eagles extended their lead to 27-20 with a fourth straight touchdown drive (not counting kneeldown to end the first half). Wentz was 5-of-6 on the Eagles' scoring march. Mack Hollins ran a great route to get separation against Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander for a 13-yard gain. Wentz hit Hollins on the play with a rope as he perfectly timed the throw waiting for defensive back Darnell Savage to get out of the passing window. Howard scored on a 20-yard screen pass. The Eagles went for the two-point conversion, but Wentz's pass to Jeffery was incomplete keeping it at 27-20.
Linebacker Nigel Bradham, who came up with the game-sealing play in the end, dropped what would have been a pick-six as he faked as if he was going to rush, only to get back in coverage. The Packers didn't punt at all in the first half, but did so on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter.
Rodgers didn't just move the ball with his arm on Thursday night. He gained 14 yards on a scramble to spark the Packers' third-quarter scoring drive. Facing a third-and-7, the Eagles brought the blitz and Rodgers found wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 26-yard gain. The Packers tied the game on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to tight end Jimmy Graham with 3:16 left in the quarter.
Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' Thursday-night matchup against the Packers.
FOURTH QUARTER RECAP
It was a wild finish as Bradham intercepted Rodgers in the end zone to seal the win for the Eagles with just 20 seconds left. The pass intended for Valdes-Scantling was tipped in the air by cornerback Craig James, who subbed in for Avonte Maddox, who was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit from teammate Andrew Sendejo.
Howard put the Eagles ahead for good. His 16-yard run to the Green Bay 2-yard opened the fourth quarter then he barreled in on a second effort to make it 34-27 with 14:13 left in the game.
The Packers got a first-and-goal situation from the 1-yard line after Maddox was called for a pass interference penalty in the end zone on a pass intended for wide receiver Allen Lazard. However, the Packers passed four straight times with the final attempt to Graham in the back of the end zone falling incomplete.
Green Bay had one final opportunity on its last offensive drive, but Rodgers' first interception of the year sent the Eagles back to Philadelphia with the win.