How the drive that lasted forever got the Eagles a win


Nothing was going right.

And then everything was going right.

After a couple long early touchdown drives gave them a 14-point lead Sunday in Arizona, the Eagles’ offense got stagnant. And it was painful to watch.

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They stopped running the ball. They couldn’t convert 3rd downs. They got killed by penalties. 

Their first three drives netted 14 points, 12 first downs and 159 yards. Their next four netted three points, seven first downs and 99 yards.


And when the Cards tied the game with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter, things looked grim.

The Cards had all the momentum, and the Eagles got the ball on their own 25-yard-line facing the reality that if they didn’t figure out a way to score, they were probably going to lose the game.

Seventeen players later? They scored.

“We all looked at each other and said, ‘It’s on us now,’” Jack Driscoll said. “Me and the o-line said we’re going to run it, try to kill as much time as we can and get in the end zone. 

“We didn’t score a touchdown, but we scored a field goal, and it gave us a chance to win. Those are the types of drives you love as an o-lineman, ones where you can say, ‘It’s on us, run the ball,’ and say we know what we’re doing.”

On their first seven drives, the Eagles’ running backs were 9-for-35. On their last one, they were 9-for-43. 

On their first seven drives, the Eagles ran 54 plays and nine were called runs. On their last drive, they ran 17 plays and nine were called runs.

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It took the whole game, but Shane Steichen finally leaned on the running attack, and it won a game for the Eagles.

The Eagles ran off 7:58 of the 9:43 remaining in the game with a 17-play, 70-yard drive, and although the Eagles didn’t get in the end zone, Cameron Dicker’s second field goal of the game and his career wound up as the game winner.

“Maybe the run game wasn’t going the way we wanted it to early,” Nick Sirianni said. “We knew this was going to be a physical game. We knew we had a really physical team. We know our identity is to be physical. When we needed to (be physical) the most, we were. 

“I know we didn’t punch it in, but our job as coaches is to lean on our best players and we jumped on our offensive line’s back and rode them down the field. It was pretty special. Shane did a great job calling our offensive line. Our running backs and tight ends did a great job of blocking it up and executing it. Jalen got us in and out of some plays. 

“I’m really happy for those guys, because they are warriors. That offensive line are warriors.”

This was the Eagles’ longest game-winning 4th-quarter drive since a 17-play drive capped by a Wendell Smallwood TD run with 3:06 left gave them a 20-16 win over Frank Reich’s Colts – and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni - at the Linc in 2018.

The Eagles didn’t secure this one until Matt Ammendola missed a 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds left, but they escaped Glendale with a 20-17 win and a 5-0 record.

What makes that final drive so remarkable is that the Eagles were missing Jordan Mailata, and Landon Dickerson and Jason Kelce were both back on the field after missing time with injuries. 

But they still hammered the rock on the ground and wore down the Cards.

“As a whole offense we take a lot of pride in that,” Goedert said. “The running game wasn’t going great for us in the first half, but when we needed it, we put our foot down and got it done. Kelce coming back out there after his injury, he’s a dog. Jack Driscoll played great coming in for Jordan. Sua (Opeta) when he was in there - our o-line is just deep, nasty and physical and it’s a lot of fun playing with those guys.”

The biggest play on the drive wasn’t a run but a 16-yard pass play on 3rd-and-12 to Goedert on an audible by Jalen Hurts against a Cards blitz.

Goedert caught the ball short of the sticks but muscled free of Cards linebacker Dennis Gardeck and got the huge first down.

“We had a different play on and Jalen did a great job getting into check and finding the open window,” Goedert said. “I know I needed to do everything I could to get to that first down, keep the chains moving and the clock ticking.”

That’s a play Hurts doesn't make last year, and it really shows his growth in terms of understanding what defenses are trying to do and adjusting accordingly.

“I was just trying to put us in the best position to make a play,” he said. “Obviously, in a crucial part of the game we came up big. They were showing us a lot of different looks up front. They played a really good football game, but that was a moment in the game, a very pivotal moment in the game. Third and long. Made a play. Dallas made a play, got to the right place, got to an advantageous play.”

An awful lot of things had to go right in the fourth quarter for the Eagles to win that game.

The Eagles had to convert three third downs on the game-winning drive. Dicker had to make a high-leverage kick in his first NFL game. Kyler Murray had to slide short of the sticks. Ammendola had to miss an 89 percent kick.

But most of all, they had to lean on a running game that hasn’t failed them yet. 

“I think it was a little bit of us wearing them out,” Goedert said. “We started going no-huddle, 13 personnel (three tight ends), big personnel. We just kept grinding. 

"That was a hell of a drive by our offense, taking (eight) minutes off the clock, not giving them a lot of time. I’m proud of our guys.”

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