The strangest play in the Eagles’ last-second win over the Giants on Sunday wasn’t the 61-yard Jake Elliott field goal. It occurred a few minutes earlier and had a large bearing on Elliott getting his chance to make franchise history.
Birds rookie defensive tackle Elijah Qualls said this week that he shouldn’t have been trying to get off the field with 3 minutes and 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, when Giants guard John Jerry reached out and grabbed Qualls to try to prevent him from doing so. An alert official threw a flag, negating a third-and-2 play the Giants converted at the Eagles’ 11, which might have allowed them to go on to score a touchdown. At the least, it would have let them run the clock down much more before kicking the field goal that gave them a 24-21 lead with 3:11 remaining.
The Giants didn’t convert third-and-7 and kicked the field goal.
The Fox announcers said the Eagles had too many defenders on the field and that if Jerry hadn’t been flagged, Qualls would have been. Actually, Qualls was just confused, he said. As he hustled to the sideline, the ball was snapped, with only 10 Eagles defending.
“Somebody was running in, who I thought I was supposed to be going out for,” Qualls said. “That was me assuming one thing when it was actually the other.”
When Jerry grabbed him, “I didn’t know that was a penalty,” Qualls said.
Jerry told SNY.tv that Qualls, weaving through Giants as he tried to exit, bumped him, and his reaction was natural. He said he would like an explanation from the league. Jerry was penalized for delay of game.
NFL players have to buy tickets for road games. Just about everyone has a friend or relative in Southern California; for quite a few, that’s home, and they hope to have large cheering sections Sunday. So, there was widespread consternation when the Eagles’ locker room learned that tickets available from the Chargers cost about $250 each. That’s at least double the standard price – probably because the Chargers are playing temporarily at the StubHub Center, a 27,000-seat soccer stadium.
Appropriately, some players said they would look on StubHub for cheaper seats.
Zach Ertz (Stanford) and Beau Allen (Wisconsin) said they remembered practicing at StubHub before Rose Bowl games. Since there are no fans at such practices, the size of the venue wasn’t an issue.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about lining up across from someone and hopefully beating their butt,” Ertz said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”
Corey Clement said his 35-yard kickoff return against the Giants was his first time running back a kick since his days at Glassboro High School … Center Jason Kelce (knee), listed as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, was back to full speed Thursday. Still not practicing and unlikely to play Sunday are defensive tackles Fletcher Cox (calf) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist), cornerbacks Ronald Darby (ankle) and Jaylen Watkins (hamstring), and safety Corey Graham (hamstring). Cox and Darby are probably a few weeks away from practicing or playing.