Sunday's game against the Giants was a must-win for the Eagles. No doubt.
Sitting at 4-6, coming off an embarrassing loss to the Saints and decimated by injuries, the Birds had to prove this season was salvageable by taking down the weakest of their NFC East rivals.
But it wasn't shaping up to be so easy. The Giants entered the Linc with some momentum — a two-game win streak had brought them to 3-7 and some thought there was a chance this season could be turned around.
Eagles fans could do nothing but be optimistic about what might happen.
And it turns out, it paid off — the Eagles won, 25-22, to move to 5-6. They trail the Redskins and the Cowboys in the division — both teams have a 6-5 record — but they'll play Washington twice (including next Monday) and the Cowboys once more before this season is over. Anything could happen.
But first, let's take a look at what happened during the game.
Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley might have brought joy to the hearts of area fans the past few years, but not anymore.
Barkley had 13 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown, even though most of those came in the first half.
And although there were balloons …
… there wasn't much to celebrate for the Eagles early on. Once again, they were held scoreless in the first quarter — if you're keeping track at home, that's the ninth time in 11 games that has happened.
The Giants took a 19-3 lead following Barkley's touchdown run and things looked bleak entering halftime until Zach Ertz grabbed a 15-yard pass from Carson Wentz for a touchdown.
And to top it off, Ertz put some muscle into it and blocked for Corey Clement on the two-point conversion.
Is there anything this guy can't do?
Ertz had a pretty historic day, climbing up the Eagles' record books to become fourth all-time in team history in catches.
Speaking of catches, lots of fans — including, yes, former Eagle Brian Westbrook — wanted to know where wide receiver Golden Tate was.
Tate was targeted eight times; he caught four balls for 30 yards.
The 30-year-old, who was traded from the Lions ahead of the deadline on Oct. 30, has been targeted just 20 times in his three games with the Eagles. He has 11 catches and 97 yards. He's only on the hook until the end of this year, and then …
Tate had three touchdowns for the Lions before being traded.
>> PHOTOS: Scenes from the sidelines of the Linc
On the defensive end: the Eagles were on the cusp of entering halftime down by a score and the Giants were building momentum in the waning seconds of the first half.
Enter Malcolm Jenkins.
Jenkins made a big-time interception on a pass from Eli Manning that changed the momentum of the game. Sure enough, the second half was the Eagles to dominate.
In the second half, the Eagles relied heavily on a local product. And he showed up.
Josh Adams, a standout at Central Bucks South, was the Eagles' lead back on Sunday. And he picked up his first career touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Adams finished as the team's leading rusher with 84 yards on 22 caries — Corey Clement, who was second, was nowhere close to those numbers: five carries for 45 yards.
Michael Bennett was a game-changer on Sunday. But things were looking rough for the defensive end in the first half.
Luckily for the Eagles — and at the expense of the Giants — Bennett was back on the field for the second half, where he dominated.
And he did it in a pretty terrifying way.
And, it should be noted, while making a fashion statement that didn't go unrecognized.
(Yes, the one above is from the last Giants game, but it's still important.)
If you, like me, has been wondering what's up with those tiny shoulder pads, my colleague Les Bowen taught us all a little something from this story published before the Saints game.
Bennett said he finds the smaller pads make him "a better pass rusher" and allow him to focus on the fundamentals of the position — using his hands, not his shoulder, to take someone down.
"A lot of people ask me – [for example, Tennessee Titans pass rusher] Brian Orakpo – a lot of different guys want to modify their shoulder pads. … I think it's all mental. It makes me feel lighter."
Well, whatever he chooses to wear, it works.
The fourth quarter brought a finish we haven't seen in a long time — more than a year, in fact.
>> JEFF McLANE: Carson Wentz finally proves he can be clutch
And yes, a lot of those Carson Wentz doubters were silenced after he led the team down the field to set up the game-winning score.
Immediately, the win had people thinking things would suddenly be different for the Eagles as the end of the season approaches.
Of course, the Birds would likely need to win most of their next five games (all of which are against opponents with winning records) but that's no reason to not be optimistic.
And, if anything, it was enjoyable to watch the Giants lose (again).
>> UP-DOWN DRILL: Josh Adams, O-line trending up; Pat Shurmur, Eli Manning trending down
>> PHOTOS: Scenes from the sidelines at the Linc
>> READ MORE: Doug Pederson said the veterans 'really stepped up'
>> GRADE THE EAGLES: Pass, rush offense earn 'B-plus' in win
>> MARCUS HAYES: Pederson's FEARLESS fourth-down call saved the season for the Eagles