The Eagles' drive that saved a win and prevented a meltdown


DETROIT — A lot went wrong for the Eagles at Ford Field on Sunday in their opener.

They had too many penalties and mistakes. Their defense got leaky. They nearly blew a 17-point lead in the second half.

But when it mattered most, the Eagles did what they needed to, escaping Week 1 with a narrow 38-35 win over the Lions

“I think in the end,” Jalen Hurts said, “everybody made plays when it mattered the most in the game.”

After all the ugliness on Sunday, the Eagles got the ball back on their own 19-yard line with 3:49 seconds left in the fourth quarter, a chance to close out the game on offense.

That’s exactly what they did.

The Eagles got a couple hard-fought 1st downs and played keep-away with the football, bleeding the clock down to all zeroes.

On the game-sealing drive, the Eagles converted one 3rd down and a huge 4th-and-1. They were able to be aggressive on the drive (going for it on 4th) for one reason.

“Faith in the players,” Sirianni said. “And we’ll just be aggressive because we trust that offensive line, we trust Jalen. We trust the backs. We trust – we’ve got one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, and he just so happens to be one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL, and so, it’s just faith. It’s just faith, and how do you build that faith? You build that faith through practice and through training camp, but you also build it off of past experiences.”

Here’s a look at every play the Eagles ran in their 4-minute drill:

• (1-10-PHI 19) Miles Sanders right tackle for 3 yards

• (2-7-PHI 22) Sanders up the middle for 5 yards

• (3-2-PHI 27) Sanders left tackle for 24 yards

• (1-10-DET 49) Boston Scott right end for 1 yard

• (2-9-DET 48) Scott left tackle for 8 yards

• (3-1-DET 40) Scott up the middle for no gain

• (4-1-DET 40) Hurts up the middle for 1 yard

• Victory formation kneel down

The two biggest plays on the drive were Sanders’ 24-yard run and Hurts’ sneak.

The the 3rd-down run from Sanders is arguably one of the biggest in his four-year NFL career. It was an inside zone play but when the middle of the field was bottled up, he bounced it left, got a huge block from Jordan Mailata and bolted down the field for a big pickup.

“They were very aggressive,” Sanders said. “I just had to stay patient. I kind of figured they were going to crash the middle.”

Knowing a run was coming, the Lions did crash hard. But Mailata was able to open a running lane for Sanders, who was patient enough to find it. Mailata got his head turned around just in time to see the tail end of the big run.

“Miles hitting that gap. That was my view,” Mailata said. “I tell him all the time I try to create that front side gap and he read it and bounced out. I just remember looking over my shoulder and seeing 26 running.”

A few plays later, after Scott was stuffed on 3rd-and-1, the Eagles went for it on fourth down. Hurts got just enough to move the chains and finish off the game.

What made this drive so impressive was that the Lions knew the Eagles were going to run the football to run the clock out and still couldn’t stop them. That’s just the Eagles’ offensive line imposing its will.

The Eagles know they have a ton of things to clean up from Sunday — it really was ugly at times. But they can at least do that with a 1-0 record.

“It felt good,” Sanders said. “To close out the game with the ball in our hands with them scoring three times and us not answering. We just had that focused mindset to finish the game.”

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