The Eagles made some drastic corrections in their sixth game of the season against the New York Giants on Thursday night. Both teams came into the game with a must win attitude. It was like Mike Tyson in his heyday, immediately after the bell was rung, Tyson had already landed a blow to his opponent’s head. Before the North Jersey crowd could get comfortable in their seats, the Birds had ball in the Giants red zone and before you knew they were in the end zone. Getting off to a fast start was something you heard from head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz each time they talked about goals for the upcoming game.
In the first five games of the season, the Eagles had been unable to score more than 23 points. In the first half of the game against the Giants, they scored 24 points. and they have only been able to score 23 points in a game during the previous five games so they had the highest scoring total in a game this season and they did it in the first half against the Giants another problem
On Thursday night, the Eagles were also able to solve their effectiveness on third downs. Wentz and his teammates had been making so many mistakes on first and second down that they were winding up in third and plus eight. In the 2017 season, the Eagles had made a habit of staying out of third and long. Every time you looked up in the Super Bowl season, they were third and four or third and two.
On the Eagles first offensive drive, Wentz took care of the Eagles third down problems and their difficulties of scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
It was third and seven from the Giants 13 yard line, when Carson dropped into the pocket and looked around. He surveyed the field and couldn’t find any one open. The pocket was beginning to shrink as the Giants defensive line began to close, so he did what Carson does. He extended the play by escaping the pocket and rolling out to his right.
Still no target appeared. So he continued to roll and then he looked back to his left as he was rolling to his right. Carson was getting closer and closer to the sideline, so he was going to have to make a decision very soon. Normally in situations like that when you’re rolling to your right and you’re getting near the sideline, you disregard any targets that are to your left and back across the field. You’re not supposed to make that throw because most of the defenders are in between you and your target and they’re in position to cut in front of the pass and pick it off. It’s also very difficult to get much velocity on the ball because you are rolling away from the target.
But Carson Wentz believes he can complete any throw. He knows he’s a franchise quarterback. He knows he’s the leader and the guy who is looked upon to make the play when they need it most. The Eagles needed to make a play. If they were stopped on this play, it would be another let down and another time they were stopped on third down in the red zone. Another failure couldn’t be permitted, so Wentz put himself on the line and stepped up to the challenge. A competent artist knows what all the rules are and how to follow them, a genius knows those few times when the rules should be broken. Carson knew this was one of those times.
The former number two pick in the draft spotted Alshon coming his way on a crossing route near the back of the end zone. Jeffery with his tremendous size and catch radius was still a good distance away from Wentz. He was coming back at Carson on this key third down in the red zone with the Giants pass rushers closing. Wentz disregarded the throwback rule, let the ball rip back across his body towards Jeffery with Giants safety Landon Collins chasing a step behind the Eagles receiver.
Jeffery made sure to keep his body in between Collins and the ball, thereby giving Wentz a big and safe target. The big wide receiver with huge hands and lengthy arms was able to screen off Collins and pull in the throw. Voilà, the Eagles had solved two problems with one throw. Number One, the Eagles had finally gotten off to a fast start, Number Two the Eagles had converted a scoring opportunity in the red zone. and Number Three the Eagles had converted a third down play.
It all happened in less than five seconds, but it set a the tone for the game, the Eagles took the lead and they never looked back. The quick score put doubt into the minds of the Giants, as to whether they even belonged on the field with the Eagles. The truth of the matter is that, they didn’t.