The football gods blessed us with an unbelievable duel Thursday night between my beloved Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers vs. Carson Wentz. New head coach Matt LeFleur vs. Doug Pederson. Green Bay’s sack “machine” vs. the Eagles 2nd ranked offensive line. The stories wrote themselves, but would the play matchup to the hype?
I roasted the Eagles in my week 3 recap post and deservedly so. This team has already faced a great deal of adversity, but we’ve come to know the Doug Pedersen-led Eagles flourish when their backs are against the wall. A short week, battling injuries, on the road in one of the most fabled stadiums in NFL history? We all felt an upset was just what the doctor ordered. I try to keep this blog from leaning too much towards the Birds, but come on!! That game? Unbelievable. And those Philadelphia Cream Cheese Heads- also amazing.
The Eagles vs. Packers gave us some truly excellent football with bone-headed penalties, and unfortunate injuries (wishing well to both Avonte Maddox and Jamaal Williams, you never want to see that, and it really is the worst part of the game. Both are doing okay per reports). We had our classic blind refereeing which lucky for all of us didn’t ruin the game.
NFL refs pic.twitter.com/aL7LgUV5Os— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) September 27, 2019
(This tweet made me LOL on my couch, shout-out to blog supporter and Crossing Broad writer Kevin Kinkead for the timely humor.)
This Thursday night matchup had it all! Down 10-0 early, Eagles rookie RB Miles Sanders broke off a 67-yard kickoff return to shift the momentum and put the Eagles in striking distance, where they excelled all night coming away with touchdowns in the RedZone. The Eagles carried this momentum into their defense where Derek Barnett strip-sacked Aaron Rodgers and Brandon Graham recovered (switching roles from the infamous Tom Brady Super Bowl play) and suddenly the Eagles were up 21-13. With 50 seconds left in the first half and no timeouts, Aaron Rodgers pulled a classic Aaron Rodgers and marched down the field for a timely touchdown, bringing the game to 21-20. In that moment Twitter reminded me we were witnessing the greatness, potentially one of the most entertaining Thursday night games any of us have ever experienced (and we didn’t have to battle ugly color rush uniforms to enjoy it, yay for colorblind people!).
In the second half, the Eagles defense held the packers to 7 points (including 2 massive goal line stands, once you take your win and move on but twice? It’s Aaron freaking Rodgers!), Carson Wentz was masterful (except for a few bad throws) and the offensive line was dominant, creating holes you or I (or Troy and Joe) could even run through, resulting in RBs Jordan Howard and Sanders and the Birds rushing for 176 yards. Packers WR Davante Adams, like every star receiver (Amari, Julio, Odell, Keenan Allen) shredded the Eagles secondary, but as Eagles fans we have come to expect this. We give up some YARDS but we don’t break (bend but don’t break, I know I know so cliché and also so true) and receivers can have their night and stuff their stat sheets but we don’t mind as long as we come away with the W (no TDs for Adams’ fantasy teams and he left with turf toe, yikes!).
The Packers had the ball on 1st down on the 1. Turnover on downs.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 27, 2019
Had the ball inside the 5 to tie the game. Interception.
Against the Eagles 5th string DB’s….. pic.twitter.com/T23rIo3wp8
The most unlikely hero for the Birds was newly promoted from the practice squad CB Craig James, who deflected a Rodgers pass into the hands of LB Nigel Bradham (a total redemption moment after dropping a pick-6 earlier) to seal the win with a final goal line stand. Other unsung heroes include DE Josh Sweat for elevating his play, S Andrew Sendejo for his best game of the season (even if he accidentally destroyed Maddox with his missile-like tackling), and the entire offensive line for keeping Carson clean for a full 60-minutes.
Fantasy Notes- I didn’t like the Agholor train many national fantasy people were suggesting jumping on, he finished the night with 1 target. RB Jordan Howard cleaned up with 3 TDs infuriating fantasy owners everywhere because I’m sure no one started him. Isn’t fantasy the worst/best?