The Philadelphia Eagles were in extreme survival mode on Monday night.
There was another wave of key injuries and a 17-3 deficit to the 2-10 New York Giants. They were down to two healthy wide receivers early in the game. Another loss would have dropped them to 5-8 and even in the putrid NFC East, that would have put their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
The Eagles aren’t a good football team, but give them credit for resilience. They came back to beat the Giants in overtime, ruining Eli Manning’s first start since Week 2. The game went to overtime and Zach Ertz caught a 2-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Eagles a 23-17 win.
Nothing about the Eagles looked like a division championship team, aside from perhaps their refusal to lose in the second half and overtime of an ugly game. But they’re in first place with the Dallas Cowboys at 6-7 after the win. Crazy.
Eagles started slow, got booed
The Giants were the story in the first half, and in particular it seemed Manning’s return to the lineup would become an epic tale.
Manning threw two touchdowns to rookie Darius Slayton. Eagles fans were booing practically non-stop for the last few minutes of the second quarter, and booed their team into the locker room at halftime.
The frustration was understandable, but so were the Eagles’ struggles. Nelson Agholor was inactive due to an injury and Alshon Jeffery went down in the first half with a foot injury. And one of the healthy receivers, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, limped off in overtime with an injury. Right tackle Lane Johnson left with an ankle sprain. Miles Sanders even missed some time due to cramping.
Carson Wentz didn’t look great, but he didn’t have much to work with. But the Eagles defense started to hold and Wentz was able to start moving the ball with the talent he had on hand.
Carson Wentz through his career
Carson Wentz through his career
AMES, IA - AUGUST 30: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the North Dakota State Bison throws the ball in the second half of play against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Ames, Iowa. North Dakota State defeated Iowa State 34-14. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
January 9, 2016: North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) celebrates after a touchdown during the FCS Championship game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Toyota Stadium in Frisco Texas (Photo by Mikel Galicia/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mikel Galicia/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Quarterback Carson Wentz #17 of North Dakota State speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: (L-R) Carson Wentz of the North Dakota State Bison holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 11: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles calls an audible at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field on August 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Buccaneers 17-9. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
AUGUST 11, 2016: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) rolls out as he looks for an open receiver during the third quarter of the NFL preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 09: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands the ball off to Darren Sproles #43 during the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Eagles 24-23. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
16 October 2016: Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is congratulated by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) following the game at FedEx Field, in Landover, MD. where the Washington Redskins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) on the field prior to a NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30, 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Ray Carlin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 11: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) rolls out to pass during the game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 11, 2016 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 11: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles listens on the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Redskins won 27-22. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 18: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 03: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz visits the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl LI Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center on February 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 24: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs onto the field prior to the preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with teammates Alshon Jeffery #17 and Torrey Smith #82 against of the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on September 17, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 12: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 12, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field after the 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on October 23, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Carson Wentz made plays
Wentz is paid to carry the Eagles offense, and he did that after halftime. The Eagles cut the Giants’ lead to 17-10 and then Wentz led another drive to tie it late in the fourth quarter. The drive included a Wentz quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 to extend the drive. He hit Ertz for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:53 left in regulation to tie it. The Eagles took the extra point and the tie.
After the Eagles defense held again, denying Manning a storybook game-winning drive, the game went to overtime and Philadelphia won the coin toss.
Running back Boston Scott, who came up big when Sanders was in and out of the lineup, had a long gain on a screen pass. Tight end Josh Perkins, who had never caught a pass in the NFL before Monday night, got a first down. Sanders picked up a big first down on third-and-2 with a strong run. Then Ertz finished it.
The Eagles didn’t look good for most of the game, but that sums up their season well. And they’re still alive for a division title, somehow.