The Philadelphia Eagles were truthfully poor for most of the night, but they did just enough to squeak out a 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders. Nick Foles took a huge step back from last week’s promising performance, throwing for just 163 yards, a touchdown, and an interception on 19-of-38 passing.
This game was won by the Eagles’ defense, which smothered Derek Carr all night and picking him off twice, with the second interception setting up the game-winning field goal. Hardly an encouraging performance by the Eagles, but they clinched a first-round be and get some extra time to figure out the offense without Carson Wentz.
Final: Eagles 19, Raiders 10
Eagles 19, Raiders 10 The Raiders tried a lateral on the final play, so of course the Eagles defense recovered a loose ball and took it back for a touchdown. It would’ve turned into a backdoor cover had they not kneeled on the extra point attempt.
Eagles 13, Raiders 10 After a handful of short passes, Jake Elliott trotted out for a 48-yard field goal. He nailed it, giving the Raiders just 22 seconds left to attempt a comeback.
Carr committed an awful mistake at one of the worst times, throwing an interception to Vinny Curry and putting the Eagles in Oakland territory with less than a minute left.
Philly muffed a punt, which pinned the Eagles back at their own 11-yard line. Ajayi lost 6 yards on a run at the two-minute warning and the Eagles punted away as overtime looms large.
Jalen Richard had another terrific run, taking a screen pass 23 yards close to the red zone. But he fumbled away the ball on the next play, as the teams just continue gifting each other turnovers.
Another poor throw by Foles led to a tip-drill interception, negating whatever advantage Philly got from the missed field goal.
The Raiders moved, in fits and starts, slowly down into field goal range. But the drive stalled and Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 42-yarder, keeping the game tied.
Foles’ struggles continued as he took a bad sack deep in his own territory, forcing a punt. It’s turning into a field position battle at this stage of the game.
Third quarter: Eagles 10, Raiders 10
Eagles 10, Raiders 10 After that bit of madness, the Eagles still couldn’t take full advantage, with Foles missing targets left and right before a 25-yard field goal tied the game back up.
The game quickly became a parade of turnovers. Philly got something of a break when the defense picked off Carr, setting them up with good field position. However, Ajayi coughed up the ball after a big run, and on the next play Lynch gave it right back. Everybody’s in a giving spirit on Christmas.
Another Eagles three-and-out woke up the boo birds in Philly, even though the team is 12-2. It’s been that kind of game for the offense.
The Eagles are in danger of letting this game get away from them. The offensive mistakes continued as a holding call wiped out a 22-yard LeGarrette Blount run, forcing them to punt again.
Raiders 10, Eagles 7 The Raiders came out firing on the opening second-half drive, with Jalen Richard ripping off a 34-yard run to the red zone. Oakland couldn’t score a touchdown, but got its first lead of the game with a 25-yard field goal.
Second quarter: Raiders 7, Eagles 7
After getting the fourth down, Foles drove the offense down inside the red zone with less than a minute left. He missed Ertz in the end zone and threw it away on third down, before Jake Elliott shanked a 33-yard field gol attempt. The Eagles really missed a perfect shot to take the lead before halftime.
Following the two-minute warning, the Eagles got back into Raiders territory, but a holding call on Lane Johnson put them back 10 yards. Foles couldn’t hit his target on third-and-3, so Doug Pederson went for it once again, with Ertz picking up the first down.
Zach Ertz got Philly to midfield with a huge 17-yard catch-and-run, and was ruled down on contact after the ball popped out. Del Rio challenged the call, but it was upheld.
The Eagles’ offense has stalled after a hot start, giving Oakland another shot to make a run. Cooper pulled down another deep ball near the end zone, but a holding call nullified the play. On the next play, an illegal block to the back pushed the Raiders back even further, all but killing the drive.
Eagles 7, Raiders 7 The Raiders struggled to move the ball in the first quarter, but Carr took advantage of busted coverage to hit Amari Cooper wide open. Cooper could’ve walked 63 yards to the end zone, tying up the game just like that.
First quarter: Eagles 7, Raiders 0
Ajayi celebrated his touchdown by pretending to be Santa Claus.
Eagles 7, Raiders 0 Philly drove into Oakland territory with big runs by Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, who went on to convert a fourth-and-1 at the 21 and keep the drive alive. Ajay took a screen pass 17 yards to the house to get the Eagles on the board.
The Eagles went three-and-out on their first drive. Oakland appeared to have something brewing after crossing midfield, but a delay of game and false on third down pushed them back. Jack Del Rio went for it on fourth down, but Carr ended up throwing the ball away.
Before the game
The Philadelphia Eagles lost their starting quarterback, but they’re still a team to be reckoned with when they face the Oakland Raiders in the second game of the NFL’s Christmas Day doubleheader. The game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (live stream at WatchESPN).
The Eagles’ dream season took a potentially dark turn when they lost star quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in Week 14. Despite the setback, they took care of the New York Giants last week, moving to 12-2 and clinching a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. They’ll need another win here to stay ahead of the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 1 overall seed.
Nick Foles stepped in for Wentz and did an admirable job last week, throwing four touchdown passes to hold off a pesky Giants team, 34-29. For better or worse, he’s the guy heading forward, so the Eagles will certainly hope he can keep up performances like this as they start gearing up for a playoff run.
Another area of concern for Philly is the defense, which has been strong for most of the year but was uncharacteristically sloppy against the Giants. It let Eli Manning throw for 434 yards and three touchdowns, nearly coughing up a massive upset loss were it not for Foles’ four touchdowns. This is one area to watch closely when it goes up against Derek Carr and company.
The Raiders took a major step back from last season’s 12-4 campaign, entering Week 16 at 6-8 and all but out of the playoff race. Their last loss was a particularly dispiriting one, falling to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Carr led a last-minute drive and nearly had the touchdown on a scramble run, but the ball slipped out of his hand as he dove to the pylon, succumbing to the dreaded fumble touchback rule. The Cowboys got possession back and knelt it out.
It’s yet another setback for the Raiders, who were supposed to be playoff contenders but could find themselves on the outside looking in once again. It also calls into question the job security of head coach Jack Del Rio, whose team has underachieved across the board. Carr plateaued after an MVP-caliber 2016, while Amari Cooper fell off the cliff, and Marshawn Lynch hasn’t sparked the running game like he could in his prime years.
Whether they win or lose this game, the Raiders will head into the offseason with a lot more questions than answers. It’s hardly an encouraging sign for devoted Oakland fans, as the impending move to Las Vegas inches closer.
- Bleeding Green Nation examines every NFC playoff team from the Eagles’ perspective.
Minnesota Vikings (11-3)
Be scared because ... they have a pool of guys (Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs) who will carve you up with volume catches and a defense that makes up for a middling turnover rate with a killer knack for stopping third-down plays.
Don’t be scared because ... even amid his gritty, overachieving 2017, Case Keenum has to be one of the most favorable playoff quarterback matchups, especially considering his lack of postseason experience.
- Silver and Black Pride thinks Del Rio made the right choice promoting John Pagano to defensive coordinator after firing Ken Norton Jr. following the Raiders’ struggles on defense.
Under Norton, the Raiders gave up 368.2 yards and 24.8 points per game. Since Pagano has taken over, the Raiders have given up 304.75 yards and 19.25 points per game. Right now, that 368.2 yards per game would be good enough for No. 28 in the NFL.
If the Raiders had given up 304.75 yards per game all year, they would be No. 4 in the league.
Their points per game under Norton would have them at No. 27 right now and if Pagano had the defense from the beginning of the season, they would be at No. 5.