Eagles Week 18 takeaways including Jake Elliott’s huge performance

Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Philadelphia Eagles had one final goal to accomplish in their Week 18 matchup at home versus the New York Giants, and they took care of business. By winning their regular-season finale, they guaranteed themselves the division crown and the top seed in the NFC. That also ensures them of a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

New York rested the majority of their starters as they were locked into the sixth seed. Most of the contest was dominated by the Eagles, but the offense showed some rust. Still, the argument can be made that the final score isn’t indicative of how this one unfolded. Let’s take a final look at the regular-season finale as the Eagles enter playoff mode.

The Eagles’ offense sputters, especially in the red zone.

It was great to see Jalen Hurts return as the starting quarterback. He missed the last two games due to a sprained shoulder, and Philly dropped both of them.

QB1 provided an immediate boost as the Eagles, at times, looked like their dominant selves again. Jalen Hurts found A.J. Brown for a 35 -yard gain on the very first offensive play, but that drive ended with a field goal. Philadelphia bounced back as a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive gave the Eagles an early 10-0 lead.

Jalen Hurts and the offense got off to a fast start but didn’t get much going the rest of the way. Five red zone attempts resulted in only a single touchdown. Hurts was sacked three times and threw an interception in the end zone. Jalen played cautiously so as not to get reinjured. Overall, it seemed the Eagles were conservative, but that was smart given the circumstances.

Jake Elliott becomes an unlikely hero in Week 18.

The Eagles scored just one touchdown in the game, but five field goals were made by Jake Elliott. Two of which exceeded 50 yards in length, so neither could have been considered as being ‘automatic’.

It has been a quality year for the sixth-year kicker who made his first Pro Bowl a year ago. He finished the season with more than 100 points scored and 20 field goals made on 23 attempts. That’s an 87% success rate. Elliott made a career-high 51 extra points on 53 attempts. Philadelphia is lucky to have a kicker the caliber of Jake Elliott.

Boston Scott continues his domination of the Giants.

Every time reserve running back Boston Scott plays the Giants, he elevates his game. Scott was Philly’s leading rusher in Week 18, carrying the ball nine times for 54 yards. That’s six yards per carry if you’re keeping score.

More interestingly, Scott has scored 17 total touchdowns during his five-year career. Ten of them have come versus New York. If this is his final run in Philadelphia, it was great to see him be a difference-maker against Philadelphia’s NFC East rival one more time.

Philly’s feature back, Miles Sanders, carried the ball 11 times for 33 yards. He wasn’t able to get much going, but the good news is the Eagles should have their star right tackle, Lane Johnson, back for the postseason. That will aid Sanders who has rushed for over 1,200 yards and reached the end zone 11 times in 2022.

The Giants did the Eagles a favor by playing their backups.

Give the Eagles credit for earning their 14th win of the season. That’s a franchise record, but New York aided them in their efforts. The Giants rested their starters, including quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, and multiple stars on the defensive side.

Third-string quarterback Davis Webb made his first career start for the Giants, and Philly shut him down. Webb completed just 57% of his passes for 168 yards, but the Eagles were surprisingly unable to force any turnovers.

New York also called a couple of risky play calls that, fortunately, Philly was ready for. A fake field goal attempt lost 11 yards toward the end of the first quarter. Big Blue attempted an onside kick that the Eagles were fortunately ready for and recovered.

Both of these plays resulted in outstanding field position for the Eagles. They didn’t produce any points, but the Giants didn’t benefit. That’s the point. The Giants’ reserve players gave it their all and lost by just six points. It wasn’t the dominant game by Philly that most were searching for, but as we keep stating. They got the win, and that was all that mattered.

In Conclusion

Getting the win on Sunday was huge as the Eagles now have an additional week off to get ready for the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs.

Philadelphia will face the lowest remaining seed that wins during Wild Card Weekend. For now, Birds fans can enjoy what has been a spectacular season to this point. Let’s hope they finish strong and bring the Lombardi Trophy home.

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