September 24, 2021
Everybody remembers the moment when they finally realized the 2017 Eagles were special. For Eagles legend Seth Joyner, Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game-winning field goal in Week 3 against the New York Giants was that moment.
“I’ll never forget it, Seth said ‘You know what, this might be the year,” Ray Didinger said on WIP last Saturday. “... I said ‘Oh come on Seth, it’s Week 3!’ He said, ‘I’m telling you, stuff like that don’t just happen. Stuff like that just [doesn’t] happen out of a clear blue sky. This is part of something bigger. I just have a feeling.’”
With just under 20 seconds left, the Eagles had the football at their own 38 in a tie game. Elliott, who was signed off the Bengals practice squad 12 days before, tied the game with 56 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal. The Eagles defense forced a quick three-and-out against Eli Manning to get the ball back for one last drive in regulation.
It would have been easy for the Eagles to run the clock out and get to overtime, but that’s not how head coach Doug Pederson operated. With a 2nd & 10 on their own 38, Carson Wentz threw a perfect pass to Alshon Jeffrey for a completion. Wentz did a terrific job of getting Giants cornerback Eli Apple to come up towards Nelson Agholor as Wentz’s first read on the play was to Agholor. With one second left, Jeffrey stepped out of bounds to set up a 61-yard game-winning field goal.
Before Elliott’s kick, the longest field goal in Eagles history belonged to the barefooted Tony Franklin, who kicked a 59-yard field goal in 1979 against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. The longest game-winning field goal in Eagles history was David Akers’ 50-yard kick in overtime against the Cleveland Browns in 2004.
All Elliott really needed to do was kick it far enough so that Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t have a play in the end zone. Instead, he hooked it just inside the right goal post and sent Lincoln Financial Field into a frenzy. The Eagles beat the Giants 27-24 and were now off to a 2-1 start. They went on to win nine straight and cruise to the NFC East title. The Eagles sneaked past the Falcons, destroyed the Vikings and took down Tom Brady and the Patriots to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
"This is that dream I talked about," Mike Quick said in the famous radio call. He referred to an NFL’s kicker's aspirations of hitting a long game-winning field goal. Maybe that feeling was there on that Sunday, but none of us (maybe except Seth Joyner) really knew what we were in for that year.
2017 ended up being "the year" and Elliott’s heroic kick was just the beginning.
Listen to "This Week in Philly Sports History" presented by Shibe Vintage Sports every Saturday at 11 am on the Glen Macnow and Ray Didinger Show on Sportsradio 94.1 WIP.
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