Quite a few Eagles fans were unhappy about the Eagles win over Chicago because the Birds let the Bears back into the game in the second half after totally dominating them in the first half. Most importantly, when the game was on the line, the Birds offense put together an eight-minute drive, which ended with a Jake Elliott field goal and ended all the Bears hope of victory.
Numbers-wise this wasn’t the best performance for Carson Wentz, nor was it a tremendous day for Doug Pederson and his play calling, but I thought Wentz played some great football down the stretch with the game on the line and Pederson was at his best during that same stretch. I saw leadership at its best on the last drive. I saw a Superstar quarterback taking his game to another level with the game on the line.
It was “Championship level quarterbacking and play calling on the last drive”. It was a thing of beauty, because the Birds converted four 3rd downs in a row. They took possession of the football on the 11 yard line with 8 minutes and 14 seconds remaining in the game. The Bears had grabbed momentum, but Wentz and his offense weren’t going to be denied.
Let’s closely observe the leadership from the sideline and under center with the game on the line. On the first third down, Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery with a beautiful throw, which hit him in the chest between the one and the seven. Yes, Wentz threw the ball to the same Jeffery, who had dropped three passes earlier in the game. The Wentz throw was so accurate that it was almost impossible to drop. Jeffery got pounded after the catch and had to be checked by medical people on the sideline for a concussion, but he held onto the football for the first down.
On the next third down, Wentz completed an outstanding sidearm throw to rookie Miles Sanders, who ran a short seam route and left the linebacker trying to cover him in the dust. The pass hit him in stride and Sanders was able to step on the gas to pick 17 yards on the play. This was a combination of great play calling and great quarterback play. Remember it was third and 14 against a very good Chicago Bears defense that was fighting for their lives. It was a great call by Pederson because he got the ball into the hands of a playmaker with him running full speed toward the first down marker
Wentz connected with his favorite target of the day, Zach Ertz on the next third down play. Ertz was catching everything that hit his hands yesterday and he showed us again, why he should be the number one targeted receiver on the team. He always gets open and he nearly aways catches the football. Ertz made the catch and got the first down before running out of bounds. He had a great day with nine catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
The final third down conversion on the drive was another brilliant call by Pederson. With the game on the line, the Eagles took advantage of the strength of the Bears defense, which is Khalil Mack and their pass rush. The Bears attacked with their pass rush pressure on Wentz and they were about to take him down, when he flicked a short pass to Dallas Goedert on a screen. The second year tight end caught the football, then got in behind his offensive linemen and plowed his way for 16 yards and an Eagles first down.
That put the Eagles in position to run the football three additional plays to run the clock down. With about 30 seconds to go on the clock, they sent in Jake Elliott for a 38 yard field goal. He hit kick, then the Birds recovered the football on the kickoff and the game was over.
I can understand why Eagles fans weren’t happy about the poorly played second half of the game, but that last drive by the Eagles offense was “Championship Play”. The entire offense took their games to the next level in order to secure the victory.