In the immediate aftermath of the season-ending ACL injury to 2017 MVP candidate Carson Wentz, it was easy to wonder if the Philadelphia Eagles’ hopes of advancing to Super Bowl LII had been dashed.
But if Sunday is any indication, the Eagles might not be grounded.
Quarterback Nick Foles, making his first start for Philadelphia since Nov. 2, 2014 (he played for the Rams in 2015 and Chiefs in 2016), threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Eagles’ 34-29 come-from-behind win over the New York Giants.
The win guarantees the 12-2 Eagles at least one home playoff game, but the No. 1 seed in the NFC is still very much in play.
Yes, the Giants aren’t the best team in the NFL this season – they were eliminated from playoff contention a couple of weeks ago – but Foles hasn’t played much over the last couple of seasons, so it was a bit of a mystery how he’d respond to being thrust into the starting role again.
It’s just one game, but if Foles continues playing like he did on Sunday, he won’t be the problem for the Eagles. The fact that the Giants, who have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season, put up 29 points vs. the Eagles and converted 10-of-18 third-down attempts, should be a concern.
New York led 20-7 early in the second quarter, and it looked like Philadelphia was going to suffer a tough loss days after losing their young leader. But the Eagles regrouped, and their special teams deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround.
The Eagles blocked Aldrick Rosas’ extra-point attempt on the Giants’ first touchdown, blocked a Brad Wing punt in the second quarter that gave Philly the ball deep in New York territory and quickly became a touchdown that allowed the Eagles to take the lead for the first time in the game, 21-20, and blocked a 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
The defense had its moments, including a Ronald Darby interception that led to the Eagles’ second touchdown, and late in the third quarter, with the Giants attempting a game-tying two-point conversion, Eli Manning was sacked, maintaining a small lead for Philadelphia.
The Giants did threaten in the final minutes, with Manning driving the Giants into a first-and-goal situation from the nine. But a short pass to Sterling Shepard lost two yards, and a pass attempt to Roger Lewis was incomplete. Shane Vereen did pick up five yards on third-and-11, but right tackle Bobby Hart gave those yards back with a false start on the next play. The fourth-down try, an end-zone pass to Evan Engram, was too high.
Engram protested, wanting a pass interference call, but it never came.
All told, Foles was 24-for-38 for 237 yards, with the four touchdown passes.
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