A Philadelphia Miracle via rookie kicker Jake Elliott
Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season will be remembered as a day when politics officially invaded our football world, but let’s focus on the Philadelphia miracle that occurred via rookie kicker Jake Elliott.
On Sunday, a 22-year-old rookie kicker made news himself.
Jake Elliott, 22, was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after a Week 1 injury to Eagles K Caleb Sturgis. After a successful career at Memphis, Elliott joined the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad before being acquired by the birds. On Sunday he walked to midfield for the biggest kick of his young professional career, Minutes later he was being carried off the field by his teammates. That is what we love about sports. From “no-name” rookie to mythical hero in a blink of an eye.
For three quarters, the Philadelphia Eagles had their way with the New York Giants, then the game’s final act began.
After two weeks of lifeless offense, the Giants awoke. In the blink of an eye, the giants were ahead 21-14 after two Odell Beckham touchdown snags and a long scoring reception from Sterling Sheppard. After Carson Wentz led the Eagles on two key late-game drives to tie the game at 24, he had one last opportunity in regulation. With just one second on the clock, Wentz found Alshon Jeffrey for the Eagles’ longest pass play of the game, setting up Elliott’s heroics. The kick cleared the upright by the slimmest of margins. But for all the Philadelphia fans, it didn’t matter.
Rookie placekickers are similar to dating a psycho; you know at some point this decision is going to come back to haunt you, but you just hope it isn’t at Thanksgiving dinner with your family.
Despite the win, the Eagles lost Darren Sproles due to a torn ACL. The loss of Sproles adds to an alarming number of injured Eagles. Rookie RB Donnel Pumphrey (torn Hamstring – out for season), CB Ronald Darby (Dislocated ankle – 6-8 weeks) and S Rodney McLeod (hamstring, week-to-week). Defensive backs Jalen Watkins and Corey Graham played on Sunday, but were listed on the injury report and missed practice during the week.
Wendell Smallwood, due to the losses of Sproles and Pumphrey, now becomes a much bigger part of this offense. LeGarrette Blount had his best game as an Eagle on Sunday, but head coach Doug Peterson has remained steadfast in the RB rotation.
Undrafted free agent Corey Clement finally got carries and flashed to the NFL what Eagles fans had seen in the preseason. A fourth quarter 15-yard touchdown run by Clement temporarily tied the game at 21, and proved that the rookie out of Wisconsin can repeat his preseason performances.
Not to be outdone, fellow rookie CB Rasul Douglas made his first NFL start count! A week after being forced into action against Kansas City, Douglas recorded his first career interception. Filling in for Ronald Darby, the rookie CB out of West Virginia has surprised even the most optimistic coaches.
Looking ahead, the Eagles face the San Di…
Oops, I mean the Carson Chargers… or is it the Los Angeles Chargers of Carson via Orange County??
Any way you look at it, the game will be a tough, hard-fought contest! Setting aside their 0-3 record, this Chargers team has weapons and a veteran quarterback that has the ability to pick apart a depleted secondary. Running back Melvin Gordon has been a consistent performer, but will have his hands full on Sunday against the best D-line in football. per my thoughts on defensive lines.
The defense will also get a lift from the large amount of traveling support the Eagles always expect. There will be more green than blue on Sunday, guaranteed!
Perhaps the most ironic parts of this clash on Sunday will be the kickers. The rookies, both are responsible for their team’s records, but in reality, their beginnings have shown that they have performed as polar opposites. Younghoe Koo (greatest name in sports) has been on the wrong side of two game-ending field goals. Jake Elliott is trending on twitter.
The life of an NFL rookie is full of ups and downs, but if Jake Elliott has his way, this is just the beginning of his attempts at providing the city of Philadelphia and its fans as many miracles as possible.
** Mandatory photo credit for featured image: csnphilly.com via Bill Streicher – USA TODAY Sports