Against the Giants, Jake Elliott wasn’t kicking for Carson Wentz’s money — just for the Eagles’ season
The Eagles kicker comes through in the clutch once again, sending the Giants home with a loss for second year in a row.
The stakes this time were different but not necessarily that much lower, though Carson Wentz's paycheck was not in play.
The last time the New York Giants visited Lincoln Financial Field, all Jake Elliott had to do was hit a franchise-record 61-yard field goal at the gun to give the Eagles a 27-24 victory. Sideline microphones picked up Wentz telling teammates he would give Elliott his paycheck for the week if he made the kick. (Turned out, that's against NFL rules, but Wentz donated to the charity Elliott specified.)
It was a huge moment in Week 3 of the Super Bowl season, but it was Week 3. Maybe the Eagles still would have won the game and the Super Bowl if he'd missed, or maybe not, but three quarters of their schedule would still have stretched out before them, regardless.
Sunday, 25 seconds remained in Game 11, the score was again tied, this time 22-all. Elliott was kicking from only 43 yards out, but into a stiff wind coming from the end he was kicking toward – the north end, just like last time.
More bracing than the wind was the fact that the 4-6 Eagles hadn't won this month and would be all but mathematically eliminated from NFC East title contention if they lost.
"I get zoned in a little bit more" on a game-winning kick, Elliott said. "But I try to keep everything the exact same. Try to keep my routine pretty much identical."
Elliott had hit from 42 and 28 earlier in the game; his last miss was Oct. 21 against Carolina. He is 17-for-21 this season.
"Right off the foot it felt really good. I didn't have to look at it for too long," Elliott said. "[The north] was definitely the tougher side to kick on today. If you hit a really pure ball on that side, it's not going to move too much. Luckily, I hit a good one there, and put it through."
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Elliott said the gusty wind – measured at 10 mph from the northwest when the game began – made it hard to say exactly what his maximum range would have been on the final drive.
"It was different on every kick, but on that side of the field, I probably wouldn't have gone that much farther than 52, 53 yards," Elliott said.
Wentz said he made no wagers on the outcome.
"I still have my paycheck today," he said.
On the final play of the game, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a short pass to Sterling Shepard, who lateraled to Odell Beckham Jr. Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, in the process of tackling Shepard, kicked out his legs and Beckham fell over them. Game over.
Grugier-Hill was a soccer player before trying out for football his junior year of high school back home in Hawaii. He agreed Sunday that on the pitch, his tackle of Beckham would have netted a yellow card.
"When I was tackling [Shepard], I saw him kind of throw it up, out of my 'periphs,' " Grugier-Hill said. "I just tried to throw a leg out, or something, to get him down."
Grugier-Hill led the Eagles with six solo tackles, two tackles for losses.
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The Eagles did not waste any time bringing Tim Jernigan back to their defensive line, starting him next to Fletcher Cox and featuring him throughout the game. It was Jernigan's first game since the Super Bowl. He was activated from the non-football injury list on Tuesday, after returning to practice last month following offseason neck surgery.
"I just wanted to be myself," Jernigan said. "I didn't feel like I needed to do anything spectacular or anything like that, I just had to be me. Being myself is what got me in the position I am in, so why would I change it? Everything's on the 'up' right now."
Jernigan was not credited with a tackle, but he seemed to get a solid push. Cox said that Jernigan was very disruptive and that it was "really good to have Timmy back."
It also reduced the role needed for Haloti Ngata and Treyvon Hester, who moved down the depth chart.
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Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas was active even though he did not practice all week, but he saw only a handful of snaps. Douglas injured his knee and ankle against New Orleans and was questionable for the game. With only three healthy cornerbacks, the Eagles dressed Douglas.
The Eagles' inactives were cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones, defensive back Avonte Maddox, linebacker Jordan Hicks, offensive lineman Matt Pryor, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
Mills (foot), Jones (hamstring), Maddox (knee), and Hicks (calf) were all declared out Friday.
Nate Gerry started at linebacker with Hicks out of the lineup.
The Giants are 0-4 in the NFC East. They have lost five in a row to the Eagles, nine of their last 10. … Zach Ertz now has 84 catches (for 895 yards), an Eagles record for a tight end, previously held by Keith Jackson, with 81. … Ertz went to the X-ray room after the game but later said he was fine. "Long season, making sure everything's working right," he said.
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