Good morning, Eagles fans! Happy Victory Friday! The Eagles handed the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season last night under the prime-time lights. After a slow first quarter, the Eagles dominated the rest of the game defeating the Pack 34-27 at Lambeau Field. Running back Jordan Howard stole the show with three touchdowns, while Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert, coming off injuries, both contributed a touchdown. The defense also shined pressuring Aaron Rodgers forcing a fumble late in the second quarter and then picking him off in the end zone to seal the win. It was Rodgers' first loss in 60 career home games when holding a 10-point lead. In this edition of Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft, we will cover all the action from the Thursday night victory. Let's get right into it!
1. Spadaro: What a win! Eagles come up with big plays to win thriller!
In the locker room after it was over and the Eagles pulled out a 34-27 win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field, the players had the music booming and they were laughing and so very happy to have done what few outside the team thought they could do: Go into the hostile road environment and go toe-to-toe with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – and win.
"Every player on this team deserves it," tight end Zach Ertz said. "It takes an entire roster to do that and that's what we did tonight. We were resilient. We were tough. We kept fighting. And we ended up on top. It was huge. A huge, huge win."
2. Who is Craig James?
When cornerback Avonte Maddox was being tended to by the medical staff in the fourth quarter after the scary hit from teammate Andrew Sendejo, safety Malcolm Jenkins went to cornerback Craig James.
Craig James? Who?
A rookie free agent who played three games for the Minnesota Vikings last season out of Southern Illinois, James was signed to the Eagles' practice squad on September 3, promoted to the active roster for the Falcons game, sent back to the practice squad, and then brought back up this week with the injury to Ronald Darby.
Jenkins wanted to prepare James. With Darby out, Sidney Jones exiting early with a hamstring injury, and now Maddox down, James was called into duty with 1:06 left in the game. The Packers had the ball at the Eagles' 7-yard line and Philadelphia was holding a 34-27 lead.
James didn't need Jenkins to tell him that he was going to be targeted by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"Oh, no doubt. I'm the guy nobody knows about just coming into the game and right when you see that new guy you have to target him and that's the weakness of the defense right now. You can't blame them," James said.
"My mindset first was like, 'Man I hope Avonte is OK,' and then it was like, 'OK Craig, you have to be locked in. Play these plays like it's your last plays of football.' In that moment, I just prayed for Avonte's health and then I asked God to be out there with me and guide me mentally and physically."
Two plays later, Rodgers targeted James, who was covering wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. James popped the ball in the air, and it was intercepted by linebacker Nigel Bradham to seal the win.
In 2017, no one knew who Jake Elliott was when he nailed a 61-yard game-winning field goal, the longest in franchise history, to beat the Giants. Elliott was signed off the Bengals' practice squad after the injury to Caleb Sturgis. The Giants game was Elliott's second as an Eagle. That kick helped spark a nine-game win streak. Will James prove to be another unlikely hero in Eagles lore?
3. Game Recap: Eagles knock Packers off the ranks of the unbeaten in an instant classic
In a Thursday night showdown, the Eagles come out on top against the undefeated Packers in a bounce-back game. Chris McPherson recaps the entire game, from all the top plays to a chronological play-by-play of the contest. Check out the full recap here.
"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." – Chris McPherson
4. Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders gear up running game to beat Packers
It is no secret that running back Jordan Howard was the top contributor on the scoreboard Thursday night. Howard posted 87 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 carries and added a receiving touchdown. Miles Sanders chipped in with 11 carries and 72 yards, along with a 67-yard kickoff return that led to a touchdown as the Eagles churned out a total of 176 rushing yards on 33 carries. Check out their reactions after the game, here.
"We always think we can run the ball. We have a lot of confidence in what we do," Howard said. "This was a big game for us. We didn't want to fall to 1-3. To come in here and win, it's big. It's important. Now we can get some rest and get ready for the next game."
5. Head coach Doug Pederson improves to 5-0 in Thursday night games
With the victory last night, Doug Pederson is undefeated on Thursday night prime-time. This win, like all the other ones, he credits the players for their effort and resilience. Check out what he had to say about the win below.
"I love those guys in the locker room, the way they've battled through adversity already early in the season, in these last few games, last two weeks," Pederson said. "Having to come on the road, Thursday night, a team that's undefeated and playing extremely well at home, and to do what we did. Hopefully it gives us momentum, gives us a little shot in the arm now. We get some time off to get these guys healthy. We have a home game coming up. I couldn't be more proud of the guys in the locker room for playing a full 60 minutes. We talked about that this week and I'm very proud of the guys."
6. Carson Wentz reflects on the importance of this win and going 2-2
After a rocky start to the season, quarterback Carson Wentz understands the importance of this win for the team. While 1-3 would not have been the worst possible situation, going 2-2 is a much better feeling. Check out Wentz's reaction to the win below.
"It's huge. Especially the point of the season that we're at," Wentz said. "Going 2-2 is a heck of a lot better than going 1-3. Thursday night game, on the road, at Lambeau, a lot of things working against us this week. To come in here and fight to end, the defense coming up big at the end, it was a huge win for us."
7. Defense comes up big at key moments to turn back Pack
The defense delivered three huge plays at Lambeau Field that ultimately led to an Eagles win. The first was Derek Barnett who made a strip-sack of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The next one was a goal-line stand that the Eagles made early in the fourth quarter, stopping Green Bay on four plays from the 1-yard line. The game ended with the best defensive play from cornerback Craig James who got his hand on a Rodgers pass and gave linebacker Nigel Bradham a chance to make an interception in the end zone to clinch the win. Check out all the details and more from these game-changing plays here.
"We came up big when we had to," Bradham said. "It was tough out there. Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the league. He's tough. He makes all kinds of plays. So, we had to just hang in there and when the opportunity presented itself, we had to make the play."
8. Snap count analysis
Here's a look at the playing-time breakdown from last night's win.
The entire offensive line and quarterback Carson Wentz played all 62 snaps on offense.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was on the field for 50 snaps in his return from a calf injury. Tight end Dallas Goedert, who was limited against Detroit last week, played a season-high 43 snaps.
Jordan Howard led the way in the ground game, but also in snap counts amount the running backs with 33. Miles Sanders (22) was second, followed by Darren Sproles (7).
The Eagles used Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a sixth offensive lineman on three occasions.
Defensively, linebacker Nigel Bradham and safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod played all 81 snaps. Cornerback Rasul Douglas was not on the field for only two snaps.
The injury to Sidney Jones (hamstring) in the first quarter forced safety Andrew Sendejo to play 65 snaps on defense. Plus, he added another 21 on special teams.
Defensive end Derek Barnett and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox paced the line with 61 snaps apiece, while defensive end Brandon Graham had 60. Josh Sweat had 28 snaps at defensive end. Hassan Ridgeway and Akeem Spence combined for 89 snaps at defensive tackle.
Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill made his season debut and played 13 snaps on defense with an additional four on special teams.
Nathan Gerry led the way on special teams with 23 snaps.