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September 24, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

As they are wont to do, the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off an odd, thrilling win over the New York Giants on Sunday, this time via a game-winning 61-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, a guy who was on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad a couple weeks ago. 

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

1) The 'Getting Laid' Award: Jake Elliott

Elliott's 61-yard game-winning field will be remembered for a long time in Philadelphia. Sadly, here's where my head went immediately after the kick.

That was a common sentiment, as Nelson Agholor was essentially yelling the exact same thing in the locker room after the game.

Here's Elliott's kick with the Titanic music playing in the background:

But, yeah, Jake gettin' it tonight.

2) The 'Thank You' Award: Brad Wing

Former Eagles punter (at least in training camp, anyway) Brad Wing should be getting a thank you basket in the mail for his shankopotamus punt that even gave the Eagles a chance at a long field attempt in the first place. Wing punted from the Giants' 34-yard line, hitting an ugly wobbler that only went 28 yards and landed out of bounds, stopping the clock as soon as it contacted the ground. Awful.

That's now the third time in recent history that a Giants punter hit a God-awful punt in the waning moments of game, leading to a thrilling Eagles win. Let's recap them, just for fun.

First, there was Jeff Feagles' liner that Brian Westbrook took back to the house, when a punt with any kind of hangtime whatsoever would have led to a fair catch:

Then, of course, there was DeSean Jackson's return on a crappy Matt Dodge punt:

And now this.

3) The 'Totally Redeemed Yourself' Award: Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery had two bad penalties, and only had 3 catches for 37 yards on 7 targets when the Eagles had the ball at their own 38 with 7 seconds to play. But in the most important offensive play of the day, Jeffery came up huge, making a contested catch, and somehow getting out of bounds with 1 second to go.

Jeffery totally redeemed himself. 

4) The 'Ground and Pound' Award: The Eagles' run game

After being completely ineffective running the football weeks 1 and 2 against the Redskins and Chiefs, the Eagles finally got it going against the Giants, and from a number of contributors:

 PlayerCarries Yards YPC TD 
 Wendell Smallwood12 71 5.9 
 LeGarrette Blount12 67 5.6 
 Corey Clement22 3.7 
 Carson Wentz22 3.7 
 Darren Sproles11 3.7 
 TOTAL39 193 4.9 

Anytime you can run for 193 yards, you're probably going to win, although obviously, the Eagles were able to get the W a little unconventionally.

5) The 'Walking Wounded' Award: The Eagles' defense

In the second half, the Eagles were without Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Rodney McLeod, and Ronald Darby.

Way back in June, I ranked the 10 players the Eagles could least afford to lose to injury. Cox (2), Hicks (3), and McLeod (10) all made the cut, and Darby unquestionably would have if he were on the team at the time.

The Eagles held the Giants scoreless through three quarters, and then gave up 24 points in the fourth quarter when all of those guys were gone. They badly need Cox, Hicks, McLeod, and Darby to get well soon.

6) The 'Dead Men Walking' Award: The Giants

The Giants are now 0-3 overall, 0-3 in conference play, and 0-2 in divisional games. Is that bad? That seems bad. 

7) The Divisional Bully Award: The Eagles

OK, that might be a little bit of a stretch, but the Eagles are obviously off to a great start against their divisional foes. A season ago, the Eagles had two wins within the NFC East. This year, they already have two after three weeks. Obviously, those divisional wins are enormous for tie-breaker purposes at the end of the season.

8) The 'Bleep Ball' Award: Carson Wentz

Wentz had an "OK" day, I guess, statistically anyway, but his deep ball accuracy must improve. Wentz badly overthrew a deep ball to Jeffery, who had gotten wide open behind the defense in the second quarter. That should have been a touchdown. Later, Wentz had two off-target deep balls that ended up being pass interference calls on the Giants. Good results, bad throws.

That is a continuation of Wentz's first two games, in which Wentz was similarly inaccurate when throwing deep. 

9) The 'Dumbest Rotation Ever' Award: Doug Pederson's LG by committee

For some reason, the Eagles went LG by committee, alternating series between Chance Warmack and Stefen Wisniewski. That is among the strangest substitution ideas I've ever seen.

10) The 'Big Balls Doug' Award: Doug

Pederson would have gotten destroyed by local sports talk radio this week if the Eagles lost this game, due his decision to go for it on fourth and 8 near the end of the first half.

It was a debatable decision, for sure, but far from egregious. The Eagles were on the Giants' 43-yard line. If they convert, they're very likely getting points. If they punt, it's going to be a low net yardage return, no matter what. 

That call aside, Doug was 2/2 on fourth down conversions, which eventually led to 14 points they wouldn't have otherwise gotten if Doug were a scared little punk.

And I guarantee you nobody will mention that. When coaches go for it on fourth down and get it, they never get credit. They only get criticized when it doesn't work, and that is so far beyond stupid it makes my head hurt. Embrace the aggressiveness.

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