(TSX / STATS) — PHILADELPHIA — Just a couple of weeks ago, Jake Elliott was toiling on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad, wondering about his future.
His future sure looks bright now.
The rookie kicker connected on a 61-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Philadelphia Eagles a dramatic 27-24 victory over the New York Giants Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
In only his second game since being signed to replace the injured Caleb Sturgis, Elliott was bombarded at midfield by his teammates as the Eagles improved to 2-1.
It was the longest kick ever by a rookie in the league as well as the longest in Eagles history.
“It’s kind of all a blur to me,” Elliott said, adding his previous best kick was a 56-yarder in college. “I just knew the ball was in the air for a really long time.”
“It was pretty awesome,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson added. “It sounded like a cannon off his foot.”
Instead of dropping to 1-2, Elliott’s kick boosted the Eagles back over .500 and gave them an extra jolt of confidence.
“If this was last year, we might have come up short,” Pederson said. “We’ve learned to finish games, learned to finish drives.”
Quarterback Eli Manning was 35 of 47 for 366 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as the Giants nearly rallied from an early 14-0 deficit. New York dropped to 0-3 after the deflating defeat.
“A lot of guys are disappointed right now and rightfully so,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. “The game continues to teach us tough lessons that we have to learn from in a hurry and fix.”
New York wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught nine passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Zach Ertz caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz with 5:05 left in the third quarter, giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead. The score was set up by a 41-yard pass interference call on Giants cornerback Eli Apple against Alshon Jeffery.
The Giants cut the lead in half at 14-7 after Beckham hauled in a 10-yard reception from Manning with 12:39 remaining in regulation. Beckham did a nifty job of keeping both feet inbounds in the corner of the end zone.
Beckham proved his worth with another leaping catch for a score with 10:53 left, to draw even at 14-all. Ertz fumbled on the previous drive and the Giants wasted no time in tying the game as Beckham jumped and corralled the ball with one hand.
On their next drive, the Giants took the lead on a dazzling 77-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Sterling Shepard for a 21-14 advantage.
Despite the rally, the Giants again found a way to lose.
“We’ll be alright,” New York wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “I think we’ll be fine. Gotta get back to work.”
McAdoo was even more succinct and direct.
“We are irritable and we need to find a way to win a game,” he said. “It’s not going to get any easier. Let’s get ready for game four.”
In this back-and-forth game, the Eagles responded with a quick drive to tie the game at 21 capped by Corey Clement’s 15-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, with 5:40 left.
The Eagles went ahead 7-0 with 9:29 remaining in the second quarter following an impressive 18-play, 90-yard drive. LeGarrette Blount plunged in from the 1 on a drive that prominently featured the run, quite a difference from last week’s 27-20 loss at Kansas City.
“We ran the ball well and I felt like I was able to build a rhythm,” Blount said. “I had a good feel all game.”
Later in the quarter, Pederson curiously called for the Eagles to go for it on fourth-and-8 from the Giants 43. Wentz was sacked and the Giants proceeded to drive down the field. On third-and-goal from the 1, Shepard bobbled the ball in the corner of the end zone. On fourth-and-goal, Orleans Darkwa was tackled behind the line and the Eagles led 7-0 at halftime.
NOTES: Eagles LB Jordan Hicks (ankle), DT Fletcher Cox (calf) and RB Darren Sproles (wrist) all left with injuries and didn’t return. … Eagles CB Rasul Douglas made his first NFL start and recorded an interception. … Ereck Flowers started at left tackle for the Giants despite allowing three sacks in last week’s loss at Detroit. … WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) started and was clearly much more effective than he was last week against the Lions. … The Giants have already been shut out in eight quarters this season. … RB Orleans Darkwa left with a back injury in the second half.