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Morning Roundup: Clutch Eagles defy Bills in overtime thriller

Jake Elliott
Jake Elliott

Before diving into another Victory Monday edition of Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings, don't forget to check out:

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's 12 initial takeaways from the Eagles' 37-34 overtime victory.

• Relive the roller coaster as it happened in Owen Boyle's in-game recap.

Nick Sirianni 'extremely happy' with team's resolve in comeback win

The Eagles won their second overtime game of the 2023 season on Sunday, making it the first time since 2000 that the team has captured multiple overtime triumphs in the same year.

Philadelphia improved to 7-1 in one-possession games this season. The Eagles have won 10+ games in back-to-back years for the first time since 2013-14. Including playoffs, Philadelphia is 17-3 (.850) in its last 20 home games.

It certainly wasn't an easy one as the Eagles fought back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and executed on a mandatory-scoring drive in overtime to beat the Bills 37-34.

"That shows the mental toughness of our guys. I'm happy. I'm happy," said Head Coach Nick Sirianni, who became just the third head coach in NFL history to guide his team to a 10-1 start or better in consecutive seasons. "I'm glad that we can learn from this. I think that's my emotion that I have, I'm extremely happy that we found a way to win this football game. I'm extremely happy that the corrections will be made after a win than after a loss, right?" – Written by Chris McPherson

The Buffalo Bills are in South Philadelphia to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, November 26 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles are celebrating the past by wearing their Kelly Green throwback jerseys and hope to improve upon their league-best 9-1 record. The Bills, meanwhile, have been a staple of the AFC playoff picture in recent seasons, but currently sit on the outside looking in.

Jalen Hurts sets career high with 5 total TDs

At halftime, quarterback Jalen Hurts' stat line read as follows: 4-of-11 for 33 yards passing with an interception, 22 rushing yards and a touchdown but a lost fumble as well. The Eagles trailed 17-7.

Two quarters and an overtime later, here's how Hurts' evening ended: 200 yards passing with three touchdowns and a QB rating of 96.2, 65 rushing yards with two more touchdowns, including a 12-yarder for the walk-off win in overtime.

Hurts set a career high with five total touchdowns as the Eagles erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and won the game on a must-have scoring drive following a Bills field goal to open overtime.

Per Elias Sports, Hurts is the second NFL QB since 1950 to start 10-1 or better through 11 games in back-to-back years, joining Peyton Manning (2005-06).

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Hurts has won 14 straight games against teams with winning records, marking the longest streak by an NFL QB since 1950.

The Eagles are 27-2 (.931) in their last 29 regular-season games started by Hurts (dating back to Week 15 of 2021), including 16-1 since Week 11 of 2022. Since 2021, Hurts has registered a .781 winning percentage (32-9), which leads all NFL QBs.

Just wow.

"First off, it was a great team effort and a great team win," Hurts said. "You know I kind of had a little reflection moment in which I was thinking, 'What do you guys (the media) want me to say?' We just continue to find ways to win. We play together and we have shown our resiliency day in and day out. Game in and game out, we have been challenged in a number of different ways. We always find a way, and that's something that you can't really take for granted. It's hard to quantify."

It was the fourth straight game in which Hurts rallied the Eagles back after trailing at halftime.

"I don't think it's anything you learn about him because you know that he's clutch," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "He's been clutch for us, clutch for this city, clutch for this team for the past three years now. He just kept going and put his head down and worked and made some big-time plays at the end." – Written by Chris McPherson

Jake the Make strikes again

"Clutch" was the word Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni used to describe his kicker Jake Elliott when he talked with the media following Sunday's thrilling overtime win.

Many of his teammates expressed the same sentiments in the locker room.

"I call him Jake the GOAT, he is the second-best athlete on the team," said Darius Slay, as the two bantered while Elliott was walking by the cornerback's locker. "He is GOATED, one of the best kickers in the league, by far."

Clutch is an understatement when it comes to what Elliott did tonight and has done this season.

With the game on the line, it was on the right leg of Elliott to send the game to overtime.

The Eagles were in a comfortable range for the seven-year veteran, but two false start penalties on center Jason Kelce pushed the offense back.

Elliott came on to attempt a 59-yard field goal in rainy and windy weather.

"Given the conditions, that was probably the toughest one I have had to hit," Elliott said. "I would say at the beginning of the game, that was the tougher end (of the field) to kick on, but as the game progressed, it became more of a crosswind, so I appreciated that.

The murmur of the crowd quickly became a roar as Elliott nailed a line drive through the uprights.

On initial look, the ball was headed right down the middle, but it quickly curved to the right, sneaking inside the right post by mere inches.

"I definitely needed to drive it in order to get it there, so I took a little air out of it," Elliott said.

This is not the first time Elliott has come up clutch for Philadelphia this season.

In Week 2, he nailed a 61-yard field goal against the Minnesota Vikings, tying his franchise record for the longest-made field goal, one that Elliott set in 2017.

Then, in Week 4, he kicked a 54-yard field goal against the Washington Commanders to win the game in overtime. That was the longest game-winning field goal in franchise history since the 1970 merger.

"Those are situations I have always thrived in, going back to high school and through college," Elliott said. "I feel like I have been put in those situations quite a bit. I feel an extra boost of confidence."

"Nobody else we'd rather have in the world than Jake Elliott kicking a field goal," Sirianni said. – Written by Owen Boyle

Olamide Zaccheaus rises to the occasion

Olamide Zaccheaus literally rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter of Sunday's overtime win over the Bills.

Eagles cornerback James Bradberry had just intercepted Bills quarterback Josh Allen, giving the offense the ball on the Buffalo 24-yard line.

After two rushes for -5 yards on the first two plays of the drive, the Eagles were stuck in a third-and-long scenario.

With the Eagles down by three and 11:18 remaining in the game, Zaccheaus and quarterback Jalen Hurts connected for a highlight-reel touchdown.

"It is just about capitalizing on the little opportunities that Jalen and I do get," Zaccheaus said.

After his first read was not there, Hurts scrambled out to his left, extending the play. He motioned for Zaccheaus to go to the back left corner of the end zone, planted his feet, and lofted the ball in the air.

For what felt like an eternity, time paused at Lincoln Financial Field as the ball traveled to the end zone. It was Zaccheaus who rose the highest, over two defenders, to high-point the football and maintain possession when he hit the ground.

"It was a scramble drill," Zaccheaus said. "I just went to the open space. Jalen trusted me and I made the play."

"I have to watch the film, but I saw what I saw," Hurts said. "We made it happen. He made a great catch."

Zaccheaus, who played his high school football up the road at Saint Joseph's Prep, gave the Eagles the lead with his second touchdown of the season, and first in front of the home crowd.

The first-year Eagle made the most of his only target of the night.

"I always say, the play does not care who makes it," Zaccheaus said. "This time, it was me; I had to step up. It was a huge moment for the team to take the lead in the fourth quarter." – Written by Owen Boyle

Brandon Graham sets the franchise record for most regular-season games played

Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman's first-ever draft pick was Brandon Graham, the team's first-round selection out of Michigan in 2010.

On Sunday, Graham broke David Akers' record for most regular-season games played by an Eagles all time, appearing in his 189th contest.

And, wow, talk about one for the ages.

Graham delivered the defense's only sack against elusive quarterback Josh Allen, the 73rd of BG's illustrious career, ranking fourth on the franchise's all-time list.

Head Coach Nick Sirianni delivered Graham a game ball after the win.

"I'm very thankful to still be here," Graham said. "That win was exhausting, but, man, it was worth it. To still be here and set a record like that, first, I just want to thank the organization for sticking with me. I'm very thankful just for the opportunities that I get still and so I try to make the best of them." – Written by Chris McPherson

Defensive tackles use the 'next man up' mentality

"It is the next man up mentality."

That is how Jordan Davis classified the performance of the team's young corps of defensive tackles.

Coming into the game, the group was already without Milton Williams, who has been an integral part in the success of the Eagles' run defense playing the second-most snaps at defensive tackle entering Sunday's game.

"Milton is really a big part of our defense," said Eagles cornerback Darius Slay. "Milton is dawging. He is one of our best defensive tackles in the run game."

To make matters worse, veteran tackle Fletcher Cox went down with a groin injury in the second quarter. He tried testing it out to start the third quarter but could not continue.

The defensive tackle group was left with second-year starter Davis, third-year pro Marlon Tuipulotu, and two rookies – Jalen Carter and Moro Ojomo.

"It is not just Jalen and I; it is everybody down the line. It is Marlon and Moro," Davis said. "It all comes together, that is what we practice and what we preach."

Everyone contributed to the overtime victory, but it was the two first-rounders, Carter and Davis, who made the biggest plays.

With 1:27 left in the first half, Bills kicker Tyler Bass was on for a 34-yard field goal attempt that would have given his team a six-point lead. However, Carter's left hand had other ideas.

The ninth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft used all of his 6-foot-3 frame to leap the highest and get a few fingers on the ball.

"I felt it hit my hand, but I did not know where the ball went," Carter said. "I turned around and saw it went to the left."

Then, in overtime, it was the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who made a game-saving play.

With the Bills just outside of the red zone, and looking to win the game with a touchdown, the 336-pound Davis ran down Bills quarterback Josh Allen, tackling him out of bounds as he scrambled for a minimum gain of 4 yards.

"It was the situation, we had to figure out a way to win," Davis said. "When I saw him run, I was like, 'It is now or never.' We just had to get him down, by any means necessary."

On the next play, Allen's pass to wide receiver Gabe Davis fell short, forcing the Bills to settle for three points on the opening drive of overtime. The Eagles never gave the ball back as quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for a game-winning touchdown. – Written by Owen Boyle

Jack Driscoll fills in admirably for Lane Johnson

All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson woke up on Sunday morning feeling pain in his groin and, after a series of tests and treatment from the team's athletic training staff, an MRI, and a workout, the veteran spent a rainy afternoon on the bench watching his team battle the Buffalo Bills at Lincoln Financial Field.

Jack Driscoll replaced Johnson, who missed his first game of the season.

"Our job is to be ready at any time," said Driscoll, who had to replace Johnson against the New York Jets due to injury. "It's no different whether it's the first play of the game or before the game or whatnot. My mindset is to always be ready. I don't want to be the reason why we go in there and can't execute."

Driscoll added, "We got a game to win. No one is going to feel sorry for me. Just go in there, play my hardest. It's not going to be perfect."

The end result is that the MRI Johnson took prior to the game showed inflammation and, after going through a pre-game test on the field, he felt sore and so the Eagles took the conservative approach and made Johnson inactive.

It didn't help that steady precipitation made the field slick, so the Eagles felt it was in the best interest of Johnson to rest him and make sure he's ready for San Francisco on Sunday.

"Obviously, Lane is one of the best players in the NFL," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "There's no doubt in my mind that Lane Johnson is one of the best players in the world.

"We have a ton of confidence in Jack Driscoll. Jack Driscoll, I haven't seen the tape, but I have a feeling he played an outstanding game just because of the way the game was going, the rush, all those different things. But when you lose Lane Johnson, he's special, right? He's different."

"It was another gutsy win for us. Jack stepped in and played a hell of a game," quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "He played a (hell) of a game after being put on the spot and this isn't the first time this happened. This happened in 2021 against the Chiefs and he came in and played a great game as well. It's being ready and having an opportunity. I know as a competitor, Jack was ready for the opportunity after how the Jets game went. He was ready this time around."

Johnson suffered a groin injury on December 24 last season at Dallas and was inactive for the final two games of the regular season before returning for the postseason run to Super Bowl LVII. Johnson then had surgery in the offseason to repair the injury. – Written by Dave Spadaro

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