Philadelphia Eagles News

Morning Roundup: The East is not enough

Happy Victory Monday, Eagles fans and welcome to the playoffs!

The Eagles defeated the New York Giants 34-17 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium to clinch their second NFC East title in three seasons. Click here for a complete position-by-position recap of the win!

The team hopes to carry the momentum of its four-game win streak into this Sunday's Wild Card showdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is set for 4:40 p.m. on NBC. Tickets go on sale at Ticketmaster.com today at noon. Head coach Doug Pederson will also speak to the media at noon and we will stream it on our site, app, and social media channels.

Until then, check out all of the stories from the division-clinching win as well as some amazing stats about the 2019 season.

1. Spadaro: In total team win, Eagles clinch NFC East

As the final seconds ticked down and the chants of, "E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!" bounced around a MetLife Stadium still filled with Eagles fans and the reality set in, that this football team that has taken hit after hit after hit kept playing football and winning down the stretch – that the NFC East Champion Philadelphia Eagles clinched it with a convincing 34-17 win over the New York Giants on Sunday to, as defensive end Brandon Graham said, "play to live another day," the celebration carried into the locker room and spilled into the hallways and then onto the buses carrying the team down the New Jersey Turnpike back to Philadelphia.

Incredible.

"It has taken every one of us in this locker room, and more, to get to this point," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We've overcome a lot. We've had a lot of players go down with injury. That can cripple some teams. Not us. We just kept it rolling, kept working hard, and we believed that we would turn it around. Here we are. We aren't finished yet."

2. Great Scott! Running back Boston Scott steals the show

After running back Miles Sanders went down before halftime, the Eagles put their run game in the hands of Boston Scott, and he did not disappoint. The 2018 sixth-round draft pick ran for a career-high three touchdowns and 54 yards along with 84 receiving yards against the Giants in the biggest game of the season.

"This league is all about being able to produce and after the last Giants game (where Scott had 128 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown) they talked about continuing to learn, continuing to grow, continuing to adjust to the game, and just making the best of my opportunities," Scott said. "The fact that I've had opportunities, Doug Pederson has had confidence in me, the coaching staff has had confidence in me, I'm really grateful to be out there because I have definitely made mistakes, but it's been cool."

Scott began the 2019 season on the Eagles' practice squad before getting called up to the active roster on October 11. Since joining the active roster Scott contributed 311 yards and two touchdowns prior to Sunday's game. The 5-6, 203-pound running back stepped into the spotlight in the Meadowlands and he credits his readiness to assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley.

"I know it's a revolving door, you're always a play away from being called up and being put in that situation," Scott said. "Duce has done a great job preparing me, continuing to ask me questions even when I was on the practice squad. Motivating me and keeping me locked in and focused because you never know when your opportunity might come."

It came on Sunday and he delivered.

3. Carson Wentz 'grateful' to be headed to the playoffs

When it comes to the regular season, quarterback Carson Wentz checked every box in the final four games.

Wentz had to prove he could win in the clutch. The Eagles were tied or trailed in the fourth quarter of three of the victories.

Check.

Wentz had to protect the ball. Well, he hasn't thrown an interception since the Hail Mary attempt at the end of the December 1 game in Miami and the team, as a whole, hasn't turned the ball over in the past two games.

Check.

Wentz had to show he could stay on the field. He not only played all 16 regular-season games for the second time in his career, but became the first Eagles quarterback to throw at least one touchdown pass in all 16 games. In fact, his streak of 19 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass in the longest active streak in the league.

Check.

Wentz had to lead the Eagles to the playoffs.

We all know the answer to that one.

"I'm just grateful. Grateful for my health, grateful to be out here with the guys in these big meaningful games," Wentz said after completing 23 of 40 pass attempts for 289 yards with a touchdown for an 88.4 QB rating. "Grateful to be playing into January. The last few weeks have been backs against the wall for us. Guys have responded and stepped up and kept making play after play after play. Just kept believing. And here we are playing into January. Hopefully we can do something special."

Head coach Doug Pederson praised Wentz for his ability to lead the team when it mattered.

"I think he's grown up as a leader of this team. You've seen it here now the last couple of games, how he's really just put the team on his back and said, 'Hey, follow me,' and I think that's a sign of growth and a sign of maturity," Pederson said.

"I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre and that's what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and he said, 'Hey, follow me,' and that's what Carson can do. The guys really, and I have so much faith and trust in him that I can call almost any play and he's either going to make that one work or he's going to get us into a better play and so he's really grown up that way and really matured that way in this league and just really turned into a pro."

4. The D in December is for Doug

For the third year in a row, the Eagles are headed to the playoffs. Doug Pederson is now 42-27 in his four seasons (including playoffs), with the .609 win percentage the best by a head coach in team history.

Since 2017, Philadelphia has produced the third-best winning percentage (.733) in the month of December with an 11-4 record, trailing only Baltimore (.800, 12-3) and Kansas City (.800, 12-3) in that span.

In the final quarter of the regular season, the Eagles won all four games against division rivals and the offense produced at least 400 yards in each victory despite not having six starters from Week 1 on Sunday. Five of the six players who caught a pass from Carson Wentz against the Giants were on the practice squad at some point this season. And this was a team that was 5-7 after a humbling loss in Miami.

Pederson found a way to keep the team together.

"I just think staying consistent with the players. I think just getting them to believe in themselves, honestly, through all the different adversities and things that we've faced," Pederson said. "Thorough the amount of injuries that have piled up, and through the next guy, and promoting all the practice squad players, and just sort of, for me, just kind of keeping everybody on the same page. I think that's the most proud that I feel with these guys, and leaning on the leadership of the football team and the veterans, and leaning on the coaching staff, and just trusting. In this business we have to trust a lot of people, and that's what I'm most proud about."

It may not be enough to earn Coach of the Year honors, but no one overcame all of the obstacles and persevered the way that the Eagles did down the stretch thanks to Pederson.

5. The defensive captains team up for (another) season-defining play

Last week against Dallas, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox stripped running back Tony Pollard and the fumble was recovered by safety Malcolm Jenkins to kill a promising drive in Eagles' territory.

On Sunday, with just over 13 minutes remaining from the Giants' 27-yard line, the two team captains on defense produced magic again when Giants quarterback Daniel Jones struggled with the shotgun snap. Jenkins, who came on a blitz, stripped the ball as Jones tried to regain control and it bounced toward the end zone. Cox shoved Jones out of the way and pounced on the ball at the 2-yard line.

Running back Boston Scott scored on a rushing touchdown on the next play to make it 27-17 and all but put an exclamation point on the win.

"We needed that. They had the momentum at that point in time, so that was a big shift, especially to get right down to the one was a huge momentum shift and you feel that as a team and that was the play that sparked it all," Jenkins said.

"I didn't try to pick it up and score," Cox said. "I just tried to make sure I got the football and try to get it back to the offense and get in position for them to score."

On the Giants' previous possession, running back Saquon Barkley took a carry 68 yards to the house for a touchdown to tie the game with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter. Outside of that one carry, Barkley, who Jenkins called the best running back in the league, produced just 24 yards on 16 carries.

The Eagles' defense struggled on the road allowing 64 points in its previous two outings to the Dolphins and Washington. The Giants put up 17 points on Sunday, but none in the fourth quarter with the season on the line.

"I thought we played with a lot of resolve," Jenkins said.

And the Eagles are once again division champions.

"It means a lot. It means a lot to this organization, it means a lot to the fans, it means a lot to the City of Philadelphia, and it means a lot to us," Cox said. "We just came out and everybody did their job, man. The last four weeks, everyone has been focused. We got a lot of guys down. It's just the next guys have been stepping up. With guys stepping up, to me, it's bringing this locker room that much closer."

Go inside the locker to see how the players celebrated clinching the NFC East.

6. Brandon Graham: 'You know the Cowboys are mad'

The longest-tenured player on defense, defensive end Brandon Graham, gets it.

With the season on the line, Graham had three tackles, all for loss, and a sack in the win over the Giants. He also drew a holding penalty on a punt that saved the Eagles from being pinned at their 1-yard line.

And after the win, he said what every Eagles fan was thinking.

"Every time you win the NFC East, you know the Cowboys are mad. Everybody is mad," Graham said. "I'm just enjoying this win, man. We can't get too far ahead. We have some work to do, but I'm going to enjoy this one. Like Coach (Pederson) said, we have to earn everything. I feel like we earned this one."

Typically, Malcolm Jenkins breaks down the huddle in the locker room after the win, but Jenkins said that Graham did that on Sunday. Hopefully, it went better than his huddle breakdown below.

7. Injuries to watch

The onslaught of injuries this season for the Eagles did not slow down at all on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here are the injured players whose availability will have an impact this weekend against the Seahawks.

WR Nelson Agholor: Missed five of the final six regular-season games with a knee injury.

G Brandon Brooks: Left Sunday's win over the Giants in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Did not return.

TE Zach Ertz: Saw his streak of 34 consecutive regular-season starts come to an end Sunday because of an injured back and ribs.

T Lane Johnson: Suffered an ankle injury in the Week 14 win over the Giants and has not practiced since.

CB Jalen Mills: Missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury incurred the previous week against Dallas.

RB Miles Sanders: Exited Sunday's game against the Giants in the second quarter and did not return.

Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' Week 17 clash against the New York Giants.

8. Carson Wentz rewrites the record books

In arguably the biggest game of his career, quarterback Carson Wentz set multiple singe-season franchise records. He broke his own single-season franchise record (379 in 2016) for completions (388) and surpassed Donovan McNabb in 2008 (3,916) for the most passing yards in Eagles single-season history (4,039). Wentz also became the first quarterback in Eagles history to record at least 4,000 passing yards.

After his 24-yard pass to tight end Joshua Perkins in the second quarter, Wentz became the first Eagles quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in all 16 regular-season games. Wentz has thrown a touchdown in 19 consecutive regular-season games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL and second-longest streak in team history (Wentz had 22 straight games with a touchdown pass from December 22, 2016 through November 11, 2018).

Wentz's touchdown pass tied with Nick Foles (2013) and Ron Jaworski (1980) for the sixth-most passing touchdowns (27) in Eagles single-season history, behind himself in 2017 (33), Sonny Jurgensen in 1961 (32), Donovan McNabb in 2004 (31), Randall Cunningham in 1990 (30), and Norm Snead in 1967 (29). He is the only quarterback in Eagles history to record multiple seasons with 27 or more passing TDs.

9. Miles-tones from a rookie season for the ages

Despite leaving Sunday's game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, Miles Sanders accounted for 52 rushing yards on just nine carries (5.8 yards per carry) to finish the greatest season by a rookie running back in franchise history.

• Sanders' 818 rushing yards are the most by an Eagles rookie running back.

• Sanders not only set the Eagles' rookie record for yards from scrimmage with 1,327, but he also led all NFL all rookies in that category.

• His 1,641 all-purpose yards were also a franchise rookie record and it, too, led all NFL rookies. Sanders finished eighth in the NFL in all-purpose yards.

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