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December 10, 2019

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

Eagles NFL
121019CarsonWentz3 Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz will make his first playoff start on Sunday.

After the first half of the Philadelphia Eagles' Monday night matchup against the New York Giants, the Birds looked like they were dead, as the offense was lifeless, and their body language was lethargic. In the second half, the Eagles were able to get the offense going a bit, the defense clamped down, and they turned in one of the more entertaining-but-bad wins in recent memory.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Hop On My Back' Award: Carson Wentz

On the night, Wentz was 33 of 50 for 325 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs, while throwing to guys like Boston Scott, Josh Perkins, and Greg Ward (we'll get to them momentarily). He led a late-game, 14-play, 85-yard TD drive that ate up 6 minutes and 17 seconds, and in overtime, the Giants never got the ball as Wentz led another 8-play, 75-yard TD drive for the win.

It wasn't always pretty, especially in the first half, but Wentz carried the team on his back with the season on the line. He was clutch when the Eagles needed him most.

2) The 'Practice Squad All-Stars': Boston Scott, Greg Ward, and Josh Perkins

Scott, Ward, and Perkins were all on the practice squad at various points this season, and were unlikely heroes in a late-season game. 

  1. Boston Scott: 10 carries for 59 yards and a TD, to go along with 6 catches (on 6 targets) for 69 yards. Scott is now the favorite to be league MVP.
  2. Ward caught 4 passes for 34 yards.
  3. Perkins caught 5 passes for 37 yards.

It just goes to show how bad the receivers have been this season when fans are (rightfully) all geeked up over a receiver making 4 catches for 34 yards. But they made the plays they should have made, which connot always be said of the starters. 

(I still contend that Antoine Bethea got a fingernail on the throw to Ward in the end zone, which is TBD on the re-watch).

3) The 'Bounce Back' Award: Zach Ertz

Ertz had perhaps the second-worst game of his career a week ago in Miami, when he was unable to make a trio of plays that he usually makes, but he bounced back in a big way against the Giants, catching 9 balls for 91 yards and 2 TDs. Ertz now has a 5-game TD streak against the Giants.

4) The 'Bounce Back, Part II' Award: The Eagles' defense

The Eagles' first half defense could be summed up like this, as rookie Darius Slayton had 5 catches for 154 yards and 2 TDs:

121019RonaldDarby

The Eagles were once again getting torched, a week after one of their worst performances of the season in Miami.

In the second half, however, the Eagles' defense completely shut down the Giants, allowing a grand total of 29 yards.

5) The 'OH NO, They Really Need Him' Award Lane Johnson 

Carson Wentz was hit and fell into Johnson's leg, leaving Johnson writhing in pain.

Johnson was able to get up and walk off the field with a heavy limp, before eventually being carted away.

We'll see how long Johnson will be out, but for now it looks like he avoided a much more serious injury: 

The Eagles need Johnson against DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys Week 16. Hell, they need him Week 15 against Washington's Ryan Kerrigan.

6) The 'OH NO, They Need To Be Able To Trade Him' Award: Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery may not have been as lucky as Johnson.

Even prior to the injury, it was looking a whole lot like Jeffery was going to be let go this offseason whether that be via trade or release. If the Eagles were able to trade him, for literally anything, the cap hit wouldn't be as bad as if they were to release him. 

If Jeffery's injury is as serious as feared, any hope of trading him is gone.

7) The 'Sweet Roster Management (More Specifically, HOW THE HELL DO YOU GO INTO A GAME WITH 3 WIDE RECEIVERS?!?)' Award: The Eagles' organization as a whole

When it was learned that Nelson Agholor would be inactive for this game, that left the Eagles with 3 wide receivers. Before the game, if I may congratulate myself for a moment here, I pointed out the math behind this decision.

When the Eagles lost Jeffery, they were down to 2 receivers, and when they lost J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the final drive, they were down to 1. Trust me, the math checks out.

The Eagles would be wise to never go into a game with 3 receivers ever again. I mean, they have 3 receivers currently on the practice squad! What's the point of having them there if you're not going to use them when you need them?

8) The 'Looooooong Drive' Award: The Eagles' unsustainable, painful-to-watch offense

The Eagles had two scoring drives of 10-plus plays, bringing their 10-plus scoring play drive total to 17 on the season.

 OpponentPlays Yards T.O.P. Result 
 Washington12 75 7:10 TD 
 Washington19 74 8:55 FG 
 Falcons13 73 8:29 TD 
 Lions1080 4:32 TD 
 Packers11 60 5:39 TD 
 Jets12 77 7:08 FG 
 Vikings10 40 4:44 FG 
 Cowboys12 66 5:51 FG 
 Bills14 83 8:17 TD 
 Bears12 70 6:33 FG 
 Bears12 61 7:16 FG 
 Bears16 69 8:14 FG 
 Patriots16 95 9:33 TD 
 Dolphins12 50 6:56 FG 
 Dolphins12 75 4:34 TD 
 Giants10 58 5:39 TD 
 Giants14 85 6:17 TD 


It is impressive that Wentz has been able to consistently engineer these drives when there is no threat at all of a WR doing damage down the field, but it's an unsustainable way of conducting offense in the modern NFL.

9) The 'Tiebreaker' Award: The Giants

Two ties were broken in this game:

  1. For the first time in franchise history, the Eagles now hold a winning record against the Giants. They are now 87-86-1.
  2. Eli Manning now has a starting regular season record of 116-117.

So that's fun.

10) The 'Remains Gross' Award: The NFC East

The updated standings:

NFC East Record Division record GB 
 Cowboys6-7 4-0 
 Eagles6-7 2-1 
 Washington (eliminated)3-10 0-3 
 Giants (eliminated)2-11 1-3 


The Eagles will play in Washington next Sunday, but a Week 16 date with the Cowboys looms on the horizon.


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