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Morning Roundup: 'This team is resilient'

Britain Covey
Britain Covey

Before you dive into his Victory Tuesday edition of Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings, make sure to check out:

Nick Sirianni: 'This team is resilient'

Just because Nick Sirianni is the first head coach in franchise history to take the team to the postseason in each of his first three years on the job, it doesn't mean that it was all smooth sailing along the way. The Eagles lost five of six games in Sirianni's rookie year of 2021, but he steered the ship as the team won seven of their final 10 games to earn a Wild Card berth.

The Eagles needed all three phases on Christmas Day to upend a spirited Giants team that refused to lay down despite the team's 5-9 record entering the game. Philadelphia got back to its winning ways with a 33-25 victory to improve to 11-4 and regain its post atop the NFC East. The Eagles also entered a tie for the best record in the conference.

"I think what we've shown is that this team is resilient," Sirianni said. "We have resilient guys. We've had to show that a bunch this year. We would love to be winning by multiple scores, but that's not the reality of the NFL.

"Always better feeling correcting the tape after a win than after a loss, that's for sure. So, we needed to get out of the funk that we were in and sometimes that's just by getting a win. I thought there were a lot of good things out there today. Obviously, I'll have to watch it and have some more answers for you guys about that. A lot of good things."

Offensively, the Eagles amassed 465 yards of total offense, doubled the Giants in first downs gained, and owned a near nine-minute advantage in time of possession.

Defensively, the Eagles allowed New York to gain more than 50 yards on a drive once all game. Two of New York's touchdowns came off turnovers. And the Giants converted just 4-of-14 third-down opportunities.

Special teams, as you'll read below, provided a spark from Britain Covey's career-long punt return and Jake Elliott was automatic once again on all four of his field goal attempts. – Written by Chris McPherson

D'Andre Swift dazzles on Christmas Day

Running back D'Andre Swift led the Eagles to victory on his first Christmas with his hometown team.

Swift rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown in the team's 33-25 win over the New York Giants. The fourth-year back is just 12 yards shy of totaling 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career.

"As long as we are winning, that is all I care about," Swift said. "Everything else will come after that."

The Eagles did win, and it was thanks in part to the strong running from Swift.

In the first quarter, Swift's 12-yard rush set the Eagles up on the 1-yard line, where Jalen Hurts was able to sneak across the goal line. Swift's run came after Britain Covey's 54-yard punt return put the offense in tremendous field position.

Swift thought he found the end zone with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. He initially was able to turn nothing into something as he cut across the backfield, finally finding a hole to score. However, after video replay, it was ruled that his knee had touched the ground at the 5-yard line, negating the touchdown.

The Philadelphia native eventually got into the end zone, patiently waiting till the fourth quarter.

On first-and-goal from the New York 5-yard line, tight end Jack Stoll provided a block on the right side of the line of scrimmage, paving the way for Swift to get past one tackler. The hard work was just beginning for Swift as he initially cut to the right before switching back to the left, sending safety Xavier McKinney flying as he dove into the end zone.

"Swift played a great game," Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni said.

This was Swift's sixth rushing touchdown of the season, the second-highest total of his career (8 in 2020).

The hard work continued for Swift as the Eagles looked to close out the game late in the fourth quarter.

On the Eagles' final offensive drive, Swift rushed seven times for 38 yards, including two runs of 10 or more yards and an impressive hurdle.

"We spend a lot of time working on that," Sirianni said. "Again, some of those runs by Swift and the offensive line to open it up, and the tight ends, it was just a good team effort to take that clock down."

The Eagles were able to chew 4:12 off the clock and extend their lead to eight with a 43-yard field goal.

Swift spearheaded an impressive performance by the Eagles run game that saw the team finish with 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

"It was real big, important we got the run game going," Swift said. "Anytime one of our numbers gets called or a run play gets called, we try to execute for the team." – Written by Owen Boyle

Jalen Hurts rewrites the NFL record book

The sold-out crowd at Lincoln Financial Field roars when the Eagles get set to unleash the Brotherly Shove on the opposition. After running back D'Andre Swift rushed for a 12-yard gain on the Eagles' first offensive play from scrimmage Monday night, it was time – and the crowd knew it. Hurts bullrushed his way into the end zone for the game's first points of the night. For Hurts, it was a milestone, eclipsing Cam Newton for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season by a quarterback in NFL history with his 15th tally.

But the most impressive play came from the pocket with the game on the line. The Giants clawed their way back, trailing just 20-18 early in the fourth quarter, firmly in command of the momentum in the game. Philadelphia faced a third-and-20 from its own 26-yard line. Hurts took the shotgun snap and aired the ball deep down the right sideline for wide receiver A.J. Brown. Hurts layered the ball perfectly through the zone coverage for a 32-yard gain and the first down. Running back D'Andre Swift finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to provide some cushion for the Eagles.

"I just held up, held up enough, and looped it through the pocket, and was able to get it open through the defender," Hurts said. "A.J. made a great play, staying alive, not letting the situation get the best of us and finding a way to overcome that circumstance, and kind of put ourselves there."

The Eagles knew that the Giants' M.O. leading into the game was that Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale was going to bring pressure. And lots of it. The Eagles would not always be able to account for everyone, so it was on Hurts to beat the free rusher, either with his arm or his legs, to keep drives alive.

Hurts answered the ball, completing 24-of-38 passes for 301 yards with two total touchdowns and an interception. QB1 added another 34 yards on the ground.

"I think we're hungry. I think we're motivated, eager," Hurts said. "Kind of the same things I've been saying just in terms of that standard we have for ourselves and demanding that of ourselves. I don't think win, lose, or draw, there's a circumstance where we compromise the standard of what we want and how we want to be. It's just a matter of being together and committing ourselves to that excellence and chasing that.

"Obviously good to get a win. Great to get a win. We kind of went through a little tough stretch there, but to be able to overcome the things we did today – defense played the way they did. Kind of had some unfortunate things happen with a couple of the turnovers. In the end, I think we just have to continue to grow. Continue to grow and control the things that we can. Controlling that ball security, controlling the little details, and how we're attacking guys, how we're lining up. So, just everybody doing that together. It takes everyone. It's still a process, it's still a journey with no arrival."

During the week leading up to the game, Hurts challenged himself publicly to play better. He knew that he needed to back up his words and set an example for the team.

"You have to not only be able to lead by example, but you have to be able to lead by action. Lead by execution. Lead by what you do daily. Lead by the level of commitment that you are showing and just try being an example. Be an example for somebody else to follow. The number one thing is I'll never ask somebody to do something I'm not willing to do," Hurts said. "So, it's just about us finding out what that is in terms of our togetherness and just staying together through everything. Just growing. This is a great opportunity for us to grow on. How we were efficient, minus the turnovers, that's kind of been the whole thing, if anything we just need to continue to find ways to protect the ball. Whether it's a tip ball that gets caught, or an unfortunate fumble, or whatever it is, just finding ways to eliminate those things." – Written by Chris McPherson

Britain Covey sets the tone for the Eagles

It was a Christmas to remember for Eagles wide receiver/punt returner Britain Covey.

After the defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, Covey trotted out to return the punt, something he has done well all season.

Covey fielded Jamie Gillan's 41-yard punt at the Philadelphia 33-yard line. With no lane to run on the near side, Covey bounced off a tackle and darted toward the far sideline. The receiver used his speed to outrun numerous Giants defenders, including Gillan. Covey received crucial blocks from tight end Grant Calcaterra and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus as he cut back inside before being tackled at the New York 13-yard line.

"Once I passed the punter, I knew I probably wasn't going to score," Covey said. "If I had maybe five or 10 more pounds, I could have muscled my way in there."

The second-year receiver's 54-yard punt return was the longest of his career.

Just two plays later, the Eagles were able to put the ball in the end zone with a Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown.

"That first one after the defense gets a big stop and then Britain coming and doing what he did, he's a special returner," Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "He has turned himself into a very special football player who's a weapon for us."

"Britain Covey made a great play early in the game when he set the tone for us and we were able to punch it in early," Hurts said.

Covey was also able to get his first career reception, a 7-yard screen pass.

Per the receiver, there have been packages in for him the whole year, but in-game situations have prevented the ball from finding his hands.

"I don't view myself as a punt returner who plays wide receiver, I view myself as a wide receiver who plays punt returner," Covey said. "So, it was nice to get the first one."

"Philadelphia, get out there and vote for Britain Covey for the Pro Bowl because I haven't seen anybody play better than him and return the ball better than him," Sirianni said. "He's a stud." – Written by Owen Boyle

The Eagles look to celebrate the holiday by securing sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a win over the Giants. New York looks to play the role of the Grinch by mucking up the end of the regular season for the Eagles.

Kelee Ringo makes rookie mistake after biggest play of his young NFL career

In the hoopla following the Eagles' 33-25 thrilling win over the Giants, rookie cornerback Kelee Ringo made, well, a rookie mistake.

After snaring his first career interception in the end zone as time expired to secure the win, Ringo put the ball down on the ground as he celebrated with his teammates. Thankfully, veterans Kevin Byard and Shaquille Leonard made sure to get Ringo the keepsake, which the fourth-round pick out of Georgia safely tucked away in his bag. A Christmas gift for himself and Eagles fans as the team snapped a three-game losing streak and regained their perch atop the NFC East.

"Just continue to build, every single opportunity that I get," Ringo said. "God blessed me with the opportunity and I have to make the most of those."

Ringo was one of three rookie starters on defense Monday afternoon, along with fellow defensive back Sydney Brown and linebacker Ben VanSumeren. Ringo finished with five tackles, a pass deflection, and, of course, the interception.

Jake Elliott's fourth field goal of the game gave the Eagles an eight-point cushion with 1:10 remaining. The Giants, with veteran Tyrod Taylor replacing Tommy DeVito at quarterback, still had a chance to tie the game.

"We just had to trust ourselves, not do anything special," Ringo said of the team's message entering the final drive. "Do the things that we're taught throughout the entire week."

A roughing the passer penalty and two passes to tight end Darren Waller positioned the Giants at the Eagles' 26-yard line with four seconds left. Enough time for one final heave.

"Do your job. Pay attention to the play," Ringo said of the instructions before the last snap. "Stay underneath the receivers. Stay between the receivers and the ball."

Taylor stepped up in the pocket and rolled left. As defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was bearing down on him, Taylor pointed to the end zone and fired the ball desperately into a sea of black uniforms as Ringo plucked it and went to the ground.

After just one defensive snap in the first 13 weeks of the season, Ringo played 54 in the previous two games prior to Monday's showdown. And while it's certainly the biggest play of his young NFL career, Ringo delivered one of the all-time greatest defensive plays in Georgia Bulldogs' history with a pick-six to clinch the National Championship over Alabama as a redshirt freshman. Monday's clincher, though, will help the Eagles get one step closer to their goal of finishing out the regular season strong and positioning themselves in the best manner for the postseason. – Written by Chris McPherson

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