Eagles rewind: Practice squad players step up, injury updates, stock watch and more from comeback win over Giants
PHILADELPHIA - Monday night marked the seventh time the Philadelphia Eagles played at Lincoln Financial Field this season. The rainy "Monday Night Football" matchup against the New York Giants felt like a far cry from the sunny September Sunday that opened the season.
And when Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looked around at his skill position players in the latter stages of Monday's game, it wouldn't be a surprise if he felt like he was quite far from Week 1, too.
During a third down in the second half, the Eagles skill position players on the field were running back Boston Scott; wide receivers J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward; and tight ends Zach Ertz and Josh Perkins. Only Ertz and Arcega-Whiteside were on the Week 1 roster.
Injuries continued to decimate the Eagles skill positions Monday, but Philadelphia received key contributions from a couple players who spent time on the team's practice squad this season. And it proved to be a difference in a 23-17 overtime win over the Giants.
"The biggest thing is we had a lot of guys go down and we had a lot of contributions from some young guys," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Guys that were sitting on our practice squad maybe a couple months ago came up with some big plays to help us win this game when obviously we didn't come out with a good start."
Scott, Ward and Perkins were three offensive players who were promoted from the practice squad at various points this season - Scott in October, Ward in September and then again in November, Perkins last week - and then worked into major roles Monday.
Scott stood out with 10 rushes for 59 yards and a touchdown to go with six catches for 69 yards. Across the Eagles' three touchdown drives, Scott had 10 touches for 70 yards. It didn't matter if it was on the ground or through the air, the 5-foot-6 running back was making plays with the ball in his hands.
"Just do my job," Scott said. "Every week we prepare. [Assistant head coach/running backs coach] Duce [Staley] does a great job of preparing us. Everybody, it doesn't matter if you're on the active roster or on the practice squad, he does a great job of preparing us for whatever may come. That's the nature of the NFL; you never know."
Ward was briefly promoted to the active roster in Week 3, but he returned to the practice squad soon after. But last month, the Eagles promoted him ahead of the Week 12 loss to the Seahawks, and he was immediately part of the offense. The Eagles entered Monday without Nelson Agholor (knee), and Alshon Jeffery (foot) went down in the first half.
That cleared the way for Ward to take on a larger role with four catches for 34 yards. He was primarily a slot receiver before, but the former Houston quarterback played on the outside, too, and he was second on the team with nine targets during the game.
"G Ward is a baller for sure," Ertz said. "I have seen in the past two years, going against the defense every day consistently getting better, consistently working his butt off to be a receiver. ... All the work he has put in the past two years has obviously paid off. He is going to be a really good player for us."
Perkins was promoted last week when Ertz was questionable to play against the Dolphins because of a hamstring injury. He didn't play an offensive snap in the loss. But he got plenty of work Monday after Jeffery's injury left the Eagles with just two healthy wide receivers. Perkins had five catches for 37 yards, including a 13-yard catch in overtime.
The Eagles moved him around their formation and put him a couple different spots he didn't necessarily have a ton of work in. He still delivered in a couple big spots.
For the Eagles to make the playoffs and then make a run, it will take some performances from unheralded members of the roster. The Eagles won't be able to win every game like they did Monday - especially against good teams - but they'll get deeper into the stretch run with a group of young players with that much more experience to draw on.
"Today, we just had to find a way, and obviously, with three receivers and losing Alshon early, it was tough," Ertz said. "But Greg Ward, J.J, Josh Perkins, Boston Scott, those are the guys that allowed us to be in this situation and make plays at the end of the game. Those guys are freakin' studs, and I'm so proud of all of them."
Stock watchStock up: RB Boston Scott
The former Saints seventh-round pick totaled 128 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown. He was an explosive element that the Eagles offense has so often lacked this season. And with the season in crunch time, the Eagles are going to need production from wherever they can get it.Stock down: CB Ronald Darby
Ronald Darby had a rough go for the second straight week. He missed the tackle on Darius Slayton's 35-yard touchdown. Then, there was a miscommunication in the secondary that led to Darby playing a part in Slayton's 55-yarder.Stock up: QB Carson Wentz
Wentz was playing with an offense held together with scotch tape and mismatched parts, but he made it work. He finally got the signature comeback win that so many have wanted to see out of him. Monday was one of his greatest accomplishments.
>> Coach Doug Pederson didn't have specifics on players after the game, but the Eagles were hit rather hard by the injury bug.
>> Jeffery left in the first half, and the Eagles ruled him out with a foot injury. According to NFL Media, Jeffery will have an MRI on Monday.
>> Right tackle Lane Johnson left with what the Eagles said was an ankle injury after Wentz fell into his left leg in the first half. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Johnson's x-rays showed no break, and it's being called a high ankle sprain. He'll also have an MRI.
>> Running back Miles Sanders went into the locker room to get his leg checked out during the second half, but the rookie said he's fine.
>> Cornerback Jalen Mills (elbow) was another Eagles starter who left with an injury. His status should be updated by Pederson on Monday.
Stats to know
>> The Eagles moved to 87-86-2 against the Giants all-time. It's the first time they've ever led in the series. They've won six straight, 10 of 11 and 19 of 23 against their NFC East rivals.
>> In his past four games against the Giants, Wentz is 100 of 145 (69.0 percent) for 1,015 yards, seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 104.8 passer rating.
>> The Eagles outgained the Giants, 302-29, in total net yards in the second half and overtime, including 219-3 in passing yards and 83-26 in rushing yards. The last time the Eagles allowed 29 or fewer yards in a second half was against Seattle in 2001.
>> Wentz has thrown a touchdown in 16 consecutive regular-season games, which is tied with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the longest active streak in the NFL.
>> Ertz (5,654 yards) also surpassed Pete Pihos (5,619, 1947-55) for the fifth-most receiving yards in franchise history, trailing only Harold Carmichael (8,978, 1971-83), Pete Retzlaff (7,412, 1956-66), Mike Quick (6,464, 1982-90) and DeSean Jackson (6,276, 2008-13, '19).
>> Sanders (948 yards) surpassed LeSean McCoy in 2009 (945) for the second-most scrimmage yards in Eagles rookie history. He trails only DeSean Jackson in 2008 (1,008). Sanders (565) is now tied with Po James in 1972 for the fourth-most rushing yards in rookie franchise history, trailing only LeSean McCoy in 2009 (637), Correll Buckhalter in 2001 (586) and Keith Byars in 1986 (577).
>> The Eagles inactives were wide receiver Nelson Agholor, running back, Jordan Howard, defensive end Shareef Miller, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, offensive lineman Nate Herbig, offensive lineman Sua Opeta and defensive end Derek Barnett.
>> The Eagles entered the game with only three healthy wide receivers. Jeffery and Arcega-Whiteside started, though Ward took on a significant role when Jeffery exited.
>> Scott started alongside with Sanders. Scott lined up on the left side on the first play of the game, came in motion and took the jet sweep pass from Wentz for an 8-yard gain.
"You guys think I'm crazy, but it's not a shouting match in there. We are not throwing stuff and getting all up in arms at each other. We're coming together. We're figuring it out. We're putting a solution together. We talked about, hey, defense, big possession to start, three-and-out and they did, and offensively, it took us a few series, but we finally got it going and it's just a matter of that." -Coach Doug Pederson
"Guys stepped up. That was the biggest thing, guys stepped up. We realized our backs were against the wall. The first half was obviously very ugly, and we just stayed together and guys made plays and it was huge for us." -Quarterback Carson Wentz
"Having people in my circle that just keeps me grounded and remembering that God always has a plan and one of the biggest things God has been teaching me is patience. That's what I have gotten from it. I know the nature of the NFL. Again, you never know when your opportunity might come. Why worry about not getting it right now? [If] you're in a bad mood, you're being negative, and your opportunities come, you could mess it up." -Running back Boston Scott
"I'm just happy that we stuck together. It was a lot of adversity. We know every week everybody is going to give us their best shot. We're the Eagles. Everybody knows we are going to come hard every week. Sometimes it's not pretty, but that's the league for you. It's a real small margin for winning, and you can see you have to fight for everything you want. I'm just happy. A lot of guys stepped in, a lot of guys went down, but that's been our season all year. We finally got in the winning column, right where we want to be. We just have to keep working." -Defensive end Brandon Graham
The Eagles head to Washington to face the Redskins (3-10). Washington played Green Bay tough on the road but lost, 20-15, on Sunday.Thanks for visiting PennLive. Quality local journalism has never been more important. We need your support. Not a subscriber yet? Please consider supporting our work.
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