Good morning, Eagles fans! With their backs against the wall, the Birds got a crucial 25-22 victory over the New York Giants yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field. Despite trailing 19-3 with just minutes left in the first half, the Eagles found a way to flip the script and fight for a game they had to have. The players are off today but head coach Doug Pederson will speak to the media at noon, which we will carry live. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft leading off with what the win means for the 2018 season.
1. Paving Way To The Postseason
There was no doubt about it. Sunday was a must-win game for the Eagles. And the Eagles did not start off like a team playing in an elimination game. With just minutes left in the first half, they trailed 19-3 and needed a spark.
Then, they got it.
They ended the half with a crucial scoring drive and went on to outscore the Giants 22-3 in a dominant second half to pick up a season-saving victory. With the win, Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro writes that the path to the playoffs is clear. The 5-6 Eagles are one game behind the 6-5 Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, the two teams they take on in the next two weeks. It will be tough, but these two must-win games present a great opportunity for a team that now has a pulse:
"This was a do-or-die point in our season. Everybody knew that coming in. It wasn't really said, but everybody understood it," right tackle Lane Johnson said. "Our backs are still pushed against the wall heading into next week."
2. Clutch Carson
After tough losses that came down to the fourth quarter or later for the Eagles this season, questions arose about quarterback Carson Wentz's ability to provide a game-winning drive. Wentz put those questions to bed on Sunday with several clutch drives.
One fourth-quarter drive ended with a touchdown that gave the Eagles their first lead in nearly a month. The second broke a late tie and ended with a game-winning field goal by Jake Elliott. And these came after a drive at the end of the first half that gave the Eagles crucial points and momentum going into halftime.
Wentz was clutch and delivered a stellar performance in the win Sunday:
"We just executed," Wentz said. "In all those other past games, it just came down to a play or two here and there and we didn't execute and today, we got it done. It didn't take anything extra from us, we just had to dial it in and execute and we got it done."
3. Déjà Vu For Giants And Jake
Jake Elliott did it again.
After his 61-yarder buried Big Blue last year in the Eagles' home opener, Elliott left a similar taste in the Giants' mouths as they left Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
The Eagles marched down the field in a tie game late and took more than five minutes off the clock. Elliott then stepped up and delivered a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with just 22 seconds remaining. After a few desperate offensive plays by New York, the Eagles closed out another three-point win over the Giants at the hands of their trusty kicker. Dave Spadaro has more on how Elliott was clutch once more:
"These are the situations you have to kind of thrive in as a kicker in this league knowing that most of the games are going to come down to just a possession or two," said Elliott, who has been good on 17 of 21 field goal attempts and all 21 of his PAT kicks this season. "I kind of have that mindset that it is going to come down to me every game and I try to be ready for those."
4. Jenkins' Game-Changing Pick
While the Eagles' offense scored when it mattered against the Giants, the second-half turnaround was sparked by the suddenly ferocious Eagles defense. The second half saw the Eagles' pass rushers get more pressure on Eli Manning and force the Giants' offense into mistakes. Containment of running back Saquon Barkley was also key as was the play of a shorthanded secondary.
The turnaround was evident after a huge play by safety Malcolm Jenkins. His interception of Eli Manning at the end of the first half, the Eagles' first interception at home since Week 1, saved points and provided a spark. Alex Smith has more on how the defense fueled the turnaround in a must-have game:
"I think the biggest turning point for our defense was that pick by Malcolm before the end of the half," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said after the game.
"I think at the end of the day, there were a ton of small plays here and there that when you look at them in (the game's) totality, we needed every one of them to keep points off the board," Jenkins said.
5. Player Of The Week
Yesterday's comeback win saw monumental performances from a few key players who took over the game. Vaughn Johnson selected three players for this week's Toyota Player of the Week, which you can vote for here. One of them is the local kid, running back Josh Adams:
When the 2018 season began, Josh Adams was not expected to carry the load in the Eagles' backfield. In fact, Adams wasn't even on the team's initial 53-man roster.
But injuries forced Adams into the unexpected role of lead back, and the undrafted rookie from Warrington, Pennsylvania has taken full advantage of the opportunity.
Adams scored the Eagles' only touchdown against the Saints and followed that up by carrying the ball 22 times, easily his career high, for 84 yards. He scored a touchdown followed by a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles their first lead of the game.
Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' NFC East clash against the New York Giants.