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November 25, 2018

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

For most of the first half of the Philadelphia Eagles' 25-22 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, it looked a whole lot like we were watching the Birds' season getting flushed down the toilet, for good. However, after a spirited second half, the Eagles stepped up and took control against a team with inferior talent, getting a win that they desperately needed.

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

1) The 'Captain Comeback' Award: Carson Wentz

OK, so we probably shouldn't be calling him that just yet. As we noted earlier this season, while Wentz has otherwise had a stellar start to his career, game-winning drives have not exactly been his forte.

Against the Giants, Wentz and the Eagles' offense took the field with the score tied and 5:49 left on the clock. 10 plays, 50 yards, and 5:24 later, Wentz, with help from the rushing attack, led the Eagles into field goal range, where Jake Elliott kicked a 43-yard field goal, all but sealing the come from behind win.

This game wasn't just about a comeback for Wentz on the scoreboard, though. It was also a comeback from the worst game of his career last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The numbers weren't gaudy. He was 20 of 28 for 236 yards (8.4 YPA), one TD, and no picks, but the comeback nature of this game, from two perspectives, especially in a "win or go home in shame game," had to have given Wentz a boost of confidence.

2) The 'Must Be Preserved At All Costs' Award: Pat Shurmur

Shurmur, as you probably know, was instrumental in the Vikings' trade for Sam Bradford prior to the 2016 season when he was the offensive coordinator in Minnesota. If that trade never happened, who knows how history would have played out. Would the Eagles still have won the Super Bowl last season? 

"If you ever travel back in time, don't step on anything," Abraham Simpson said to Homer Simpson on his wedding day. "Even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can't imagine."

On Sunday, at the half, Saquon Barkley had 9 carries for 94 yards, and a 51-yard TD. Somehow, Shurmur only saw fit to give Barkley four carries in the entire second half. 

Additionally, his star player wasn't shy about flat-out blasting him after the game.


Anyway, if you ever travel back in time like Homer Simpson, if you're an Eagles fan, whatever you do, do not harm Pat Shurmur.

3) The 'Giant Killer' Award: Jake Elliott

Last year at home against the Giants, Jake Elliott did this: 

This year, Elliott's 43-yard kick was less dramatic, but won a game nevertheless. A year ago, Wentz was mic'd up for Elliott's 61-yard field goal, and was caught remarking to Kamu Grugier-Hill on the sideline that he would give Elliott his game check if Elliott made the kick.

This time around? "I still have my pay check today," Wentz said.

4) The 'Put It On Their Backs' Award: The offensive line

In his post-game press conference, Doug Pederson said that the offensive line urged him to run the ball, as they wanted to put the game on their backs. Pederson obliged, and the Eagles' OL did just that. On a fourth quarter drive, the OL paved the way for the Eagles' backs on an (almost) all-run drive that went as follows:

  1. Josh Adams for 0.
  2. Screen to Corey Clement for 23.
  3. Clement for 8.
  4. Adams for 15.
  5. Adams for 11.
  6. Adams for 3.
  7. Adams for 1 (TD).

While I believe the hand-wringing about running the ball is way overdone in this town at times, when the run game is working, it's fun to watch.

5) The 'Lead Back' Award: Josh Adams

The Eagles have found their lead back. Well, for the rest of this season, anyway. That would be Adams, who played better than his 22 for 84 (3.8) and 1 TD line would indicate. On his 52-yard TD run that was called back by an unnecessary hold by Jason Kelce, Adams looked explosive.

He was perhaps the lone bright spot in the Eagles' brutal loss in New Orleans last week, and he kept his positive momentum going against the Giants.

Clement had an effective day as well, chipping in five carries for 45 yards, and two catches for 31 yards.

6) The 'Band-Aid' Award: The Eagles' secondary

With the Eagles' top five corners missing, the trio of Chandon Sullivan, DeVante Bausby, and Cre'Von LeBlanc held their own, at least as much as was to be reasonably expected. Hell, Tre Sullivan and even Deiondre' Hall got snaps at safety for the Eagles today after Corey Graham went down for a bit.

How many of you even knew those guys existed a few months ago?

7) The 'Eli Face' Award: The Eagles' defensive line

Of course, as they have done for years, the Eagles' D-Line has created more "Eli faces" than any team in the league. While not dominant for 60 minutes, the defensive line responded with enough pressure to get key stops in the second half, which was imperative with the aforementioned banged up secondary.

8) The 'AWWWWWFULLLLL' Award: The officials

Holy crap, officiating is just so bad in so many games, it's unreal. In this matchup, there were a ton of horrendous calls, both ways. 

There was a ludicrous offensive pass interference call on Alshon Jeffery that shouldn't have been called, and an obvious offensive pass interference penalty by Sterling Shepard that should have been called, but wasn't. 

There was Olivier Vernon's facemask penalty that was flagged, but then picked up, when it was very much indeed a face mask. Of course, earlier in the game, Vernon was flagged for the ticky tackiest of roughing the passer calls on Wentz. Later in the game, Wentz was the victim of a low hit that should have been flagged.

And then of course, LeBlanc got away with a big handful of Odell Beckham's jersey that should have set up the Giants with a 1st and Goal from the 1, but pass interference wasn't called.

That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure you can think of more. But these are game-changing plays, and it happens most weeks. How can officiating in one sport be this awful?

9) The 'Ho-Hum' Award: Zach Ertz

Ertz was good today, too, as usual. Seven catches, 91 yards, and a TD. He went for x-rays after the game, but said he's fine. We'll see.

10) The 'Back In It' Award: The Eagles

What say you, Michael Corleone?

Yep, the Eagles' season isn't going anywhere just yet, as the Birds are only a game behind the Cowboys and Redskins:

 NFC EastRecord Division GB 
 Cowboys6-5 3-1 
 Redskins6-5 2-1 
 Eagles5-6 2-1 
 Giants3-8 0-4 

Next Monday, the Eagles will host an injury-ravaged Redskins team that has lost its quarterback for the season, in addition to a big chunk of their offensive line. The Cowboys, meanwhile, will be hosting the juggernaut Saints.

Oh, and the following Sunday? Eagles at Dallas.

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