All season the fans and many local media people (me being one of them) have ripped the special teams for their poor play, and early in the season, rightfully so.
But the fact is that recently the special teams has stepped up under Bobby April recently. Looking at the numbers paints a very different picture of the special teams unit. The fact is, the Eagles punt return and kick off units have not allowed a touchdown all season,and give up less then the average team in the NFL does in returns. These numbers are ones that most fans do not know, and have blasted the special teams because they watch the game and don’t see any big plays.
Well that changed today, and how well this unit has been playing recently it all came to the forefront.
The Eagles were only able to get their rally started today because of the onside kick that was beautifully executed. The offense had just scored to make it 31-17, which made the game within striking distance with less then 8 minutes to play. The defense had let up a touchdown on their last possession, and could ill afford to let up anymore.
While an onside kick was not a must at that point in the game, it was still something the Giants should have at least been aware of. The second Bobby April saw that the Giants didn’t even have their “hands team” on the field, he went for the onside kick. David Akers- who is 8 for 18 in his career on onside kicks- kicked the ball beautifully, making it practically look like a pass to Riley Cooper.
The onside kick caught the Giants so off guard that they did not even turn around before Cooper had the ball. The possession allowed the Eagles to score another touchdown and turn it into a one possession game.
With the game on the line, the special teams came through again for the Birds.
First off, it is nice to know that despite an occasional shank, Sav Rocca is coached well enough and is smart enough to not kick that ball the way Giants punter Matt Dodge did. To kick that ball with such low velocity to DeSean Jackson might have been the dumbest play of the day.
Once Jackson got the ball, his punt return was a thing of beauty, getting key blocks from Dmitri Patterson and Jason Avant to get him into the endzone. DeSean Jackson said after the game that he saw a lane, and took advantage of it.Not many people expected a big special teams play to win the game today, but it did.
Bobby April should be applauded for the performance his unit turned in today. It’s not many times you see a “walk off punt”, but thats exactly what this unit