Season-Altering Win Puts Eagles Back on Track

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Oct 2, 2019
Season-Altering Win Puts Eagles Back on Track
My how quickly things can change in the NFL. The Eagles appeared in crisis when they traveled to Green Bay for Thursday’s game.
Road teams on Thursday night, with so little time to prepare, often don’t do well. Plus, the Eagles were coming off a 27-24 loss to the visiting Detroit Lions in which the home team did all it could to give the game away.
The Eagles are 2-2 but had they lost to Green Bay, many felt their season would have been in jeopardy.
While it would have been too early to raise the panic flag, the Packers game was as close to a must-win situation as can be for the fourth game of an NFL season.
To make matters more difficult, the Eagles began the game as if they hadn’t recovered from the Lions debacle.
The Eagle trailed the Packers 10-0 and that set a difficult deficit to overcome, when history is taken into consideration.
That’s became prior to that game, Green Bay was 58-0-1 when leading by 10 points or more at home with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, according to Elias Sports.
Make that now 58-1-1.
In winning, the Eagles also discovered their running game, specifically, the work of Jordan Howard.
You remember Howard?
He was acquired from the Chicago Bears for a late conditional 2020 draft pick. That didn’t seem like much to spend for a player who in his first three seasons, rushed for the third most yards in the NFL.
Yet Howard, who will be a free agent after the season, had seen his stats slip by his third season.
Still, he looked like a good pickup, but then second rounder Miles Sanders from Penn State emerged as the Eagles most impressive back in training camp. It tuns out both Howard and Sanders had big games against Detroit, the first breakout performance for both this season.
In the first three games, Howard rushed for 99 yards and a score on 25 carries. Against the Packers he rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, In addition, he caught three passes for 28 yards and a score.
Sanders rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries and also had a 51-yard kickoff return.
The Eagles rushed for 176 yards and two scores against a Packers team that entered the game allowing a hefty 4.9 yards per carry.
So Eagles coach Doug Pederson saw a Packers weakness on defense and exploited it.
The Eagles ran the ball 33 times and Carson Wentz only needed to attempt 27 passes, but he threw three TD passes and had a healthy passer rating of 113.2.
So instead of being buried early in the year, the Eagles had gained some life. After Dallas lost 12-10 to New Orleans on Sunday night, the Eagles are now just one game behind he Cowboys, who are 3-1 but have yet to beat a team with a winning record.
Now the Eagles host the winless New York Jets while the Cowboys are home against the same Packers, who will be well rested and not in a very good mood.
So all those fears about Dallas potentially running away with the division, have been unfounded.
Yes, the Eagles still have plenty to worry about, especially their injury-depleted cornerback situation. Yet since 2017 under Pederson, they have current won big games.
Being a 4.5 point underdog on a short week on the road against a then undefeated Packers team, counts as a big win.
Now the Eagles must show consistency and build on it against the Jets, one of the worst teams in the NFL.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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