PHILADELPHIA – A second-year quarterback about to make a major step forward and a rookie head coach returning home for his first signature win in the NFC East.
Everything was in place for the New York Giants up 21-16 with 2:14 to go on third-and-7 from their own 47-yard line Thursday night.
Athletic tight end Evan Engram raced out of the slot on a rub route and beat Will Parks off the line of scrimmage on an inside fade route.
Jones, the No. 6 overall pick out of Duke in 2019, lofted a pass with touch about 25 yards down the field. It was clear that the safety help from Rodney McLeod was going to be late.
All Engram, himself a former first-round pick from 2017, had to do was finish.
The Ole Miss product couldn’t and the rest is history.
“Got the look we wanted, won on the inside fade,” Engram lamented. “D.J. threw a great ball. Just didn’t finish the play.”
New York punted.
There was the requisite dumb penalty on the ensuing return that injured DeSean Jackson again and ultimately Boston Scott did what he was supposed to do on a perfect pass from his own quarterback Carson Wentz.
In less than five minutes a 21-10 Eagles deficit turned into what it always does against the hapless Giants, a 22-21 win, sending Lansdale Catholic (PA) product Joe Judge back up the Jersey Turnpike shaking his head.
“One hundred percent I’ve got to make that play,” Engram admitted. “It’s a sucky feeling right now.”
At least the Giants (1-6) aren’t their Met Life co-tenants, the New York Jets, a team with a coach that prefers to point fingers.
Both Jones and Judge protected Engram the best they could.
“I’ve got to do a better job putting the ball in a better position,” said Jones, despite the fact that a FedEx tracking number couldn’t have guaranteed a better delivery.
Judge also stressed the positives for a player who had six receptions for 49 yards in the game and even added three more as a sweep threat in the running game.
“I thought he made plays to keep us in the game and bring us back when we were down and struggling on offense,” Judge said. “He’s a guy we have to keep involved in our offense. We have to keep getting him targets.”
The Eagles, however, knew how lucky they were.
“You know how tough it is in this league to win games and so for us to rally back, six minutes to go, luckily with the drop that Engram gave us, we took advantage of the opportunity,” said DE Brandon Graham, “so I’m thankful for that.”
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on “The Middle” with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in
The Philadelphia Eagles and Zach Ertz were at a stalemate in contract negotiations, and Philadelphia appeared ready to move on from its single-season all-time receptions leader. Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Eagles took calls on Ertz before moving him to injured reserve with the ankle injury that sidelined him for four-to-six weeks.
Philadelphia designated Ertz as having a minor injury when he was placed on IR, which meant Ertz couldn’t be dealt — but Breer pointed out the Eagles delayed putting Ertz on injured reserve for a few days, raising some eyebrows around the league. Another player the Eagles have on the trade block is Alshon Jeffery, who the front office has tried to deal on multiple occasions over the course of the past calendar year. Jeffery has yet to play a game this season as he still is recovering from a LisFranc injury from last December.
Ertz has been struggling on the field for the Eagles before his injury, averaging a career-low 7.4 yards per catch with just one touchdown in six games. He was on pace for just 475 receiving yards — which would have been his lowest total since his rookie season in 2013. Ertz had nine catches for 48 yards over his past three games before the injury.
Jeffery has essentially been replaced in the Eagles’ lineup by Travis Fulgham, who has emerged as the best wide receiver on the team since being called up from the practice squad in Week 4. Fulgham’s 284 receiving yards over the past three weeks rank fifth in the NFL and his three receiving touchdowns are tied for second in the league. Jeffery has a cap number of $18,486,500 in 2021 — the final year of his contract — but the Eagles can save $7,977,000 in cap space by releasing him (per Over the Cap).
Ertz has a cap number of $12,471,500 in 2021 — the final year of his contract — but has been seeking a raise after George Kittle and Travis Kelce received extensions this offseason. Ertz has been frustrated over negotiations as the Eagles seek to get younger across the roster (Ertz will turn 30 later this year) and doesn’t appear to have room for the player who caught the winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII.
Despite all Ertz has given to the Eagles, his career is heading toward ending on another team — a reality Ertz is preparing to face.
Philadelphia Eagles star tight end Zach Ertz announced a big gift from current and former athletes, coaches and sports owners aimed at helping Philadelphia students successfully learn virtually this school year.
October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The goal of the gift is to bridge the digital divide while supplying tools for learning math, lab science, engineering and literacy online.
“Despite of this being a challenging year in the face of COVID-19 and having to learn virtually instead of in classrooms, the students at Science Leadership Academy continue to persevere and achieve,” Ertz said in the video.
The Players Coalition announced earlier this week that it would be giving $350,000 total in grants for 11 urban districts around the country.
“Education is a basic right. And this year, more than ever before, all students need access to computers and internet access at home,” Players Coalition co-founder and former NFL player Anquan Boldin said.
SLA has just over 500 students in ninth to 12th grades, according to its website.
Even before coronavirus closed school buildings in Philadelphia last March, SLA students had already had a tumultuous school year as asbestos in the building they share with Benjamin Franklin High School on North Broad Street forced students to learn from remote sites for parts of last school year.
There is no clear timing at this point for Philadelphia School District high schoolers to return to the classroom.
NBC10 reached out to SLA to see what the gift means to the school community but has yet to hear back.