Thursday's NFL: Eagles use late stand to stave off Packers
Green Bay, Wis. — Nigel Bradham picked off Aaron Rodgers’ pass in the end zone with 20 seconds left, Jordan Howard gashed Green Bay for his second career three-touchdown game and the Philadelphia Eagles ended a two-game losing streak with a 34-27 victory over the Packers on Thursday night.
“To have an opportunity to go to war with a quarterback like that, it’s going to be tough,” Bradham said. “… But the thing is just staying in there and keep fighting, never losing your composure.”
Howard finished with 87 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns rushing and one receiving, Carson Wentz went 16-for-27 for 160 yards, three scores and no turnovers, and the Eagles (2-2) rebounded after losing consecutive games by a combined seven points.
“We already were confident,” Howard said. “We already believed in ourselves. It probably reassured everybody else. We already believed in ourselves because the last two games, we could’ve made a lot of excuses, but we came up short with all the things against us. But we just came out fighting.”
Rodgers started 10-for-10 and finished 34-for-53 for 422 yards, two touchdowns and a fumble that set up a short Philadelphia scoring drive.
“There’s a lot to build on, and the frustrating thing is a home game, a winnable game, a good opponent, that we just didn’t execute the way we should’ve to win that football game,” Rodgers said.
Davante Adams had a career-high 180 yards on 10 catches for Green Bay, but he wasn’t on the field for the Packers (3-1) on the last drive because of a toe injury.
“Obviously, having him out there would have been for the better, but we had a lot of chances down the stretch,” Rodgers said. “We moved the ball well all day long. We just struggled in the red zone.”
Green Bay went 3-for-7 from the red zone, while the Eagles were a perfect 4-for-4.
After punting on its first two drives and falling behind 10-0, Philadelphia scored on four straight possessions against a defense that had only given up 35 points through the first three games.
Sacked six times in the previous two games, Wentz managed to stay clean throughout most of the game. Zach Ertz had a team-high seven catches for 65 yards, and Alshon Jeffery, who missed all but six snaps over the past two weeks with a calf injury, finished with 38 yards and a touchdown on three catches.
Running back Jamaal Williams caught a pass from Rodgers for no gain and was leveled by defensive Derek Barnett on Green Bay’s first play from scrimmage. Williams was wheeled off on a stretcher and did not return. Barnett was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty. Williams was being evaluated for head and neck injuries. The Packers said Williams had feeling in his extremities.
Williams turned out to be the first of a plethora of injuries on the night for both teams. Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox (Detroit King) was carted off the field on a stretcher late in the fourth quarter.
"He has movement in all of his extremities and he’s being checked for precautionary reasons right now,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of Maddox.
Rodgers and Adams connected on a 58-yard completion on the opening drive. It was the longest play of the season for Green Bay, which continued its trend of hot starts. Aaron Jones scored from 3 yards out two plays later to give the Packers the early lead.
Rodgers was 4 of 4 for 71 yards on the opening drive.
Mason Crosby added a field goal in the beginning of the second quarter to make it 10-0.
The Eagles finally got a little momentum on a 67-yard return by Miles Sanders on the ensuing kickoff. The return set up a 6-yard score by Jeffery.
Rodgers and Adams linked up again for a 40-yard gain on the next drive, which again ended in a field goal for Green Bay to give the Packers a 13-7 lead.
Wentz found tight end Dallas Goedert for a 3-yard touchdown strike. The score gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead just before the two-minute warning.
Rodgers fumbled on the following drive after a strip-sack by Barnett. The Eagles capitalized with 1-yard score by Howard. Howard’s touchdown made it 21-13 with 54 seconds to go.
Rodgers needed just 50 seconds to lead the Packers 70 yards. The two-time MVP found Geronimo Allison for a 31-yard gain, and the pair linked up for a 19-yard touchdown to make it 21-20 at the half.
The Eagles opened the second half with a 20-yard score from Wentz to Howard. After a failed two-point conversion, Philadelphia led 27-20.
Jimmy Graham got his first catch and score since Week 1. Graham had six catches for 61 yards and a 14-yard touchdown that tied the game at 27 with 3:16 to go in the third.
Howard scored his third touchdown on a 2-yard run that made it 34-27 at the start of the fourth.
“Bottom line is find a way to win, and we did,” Pederson said.
The Eagles picked up the victory despite committing nine penalties for 93 yards.
Gordon ends holdout
Melvin Gordon called L.A. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn on Wednesday night to let him know he was ending his holdout.
Lynn wasn’t ready to believe it until the fifth-year running back walked through the door at the team’s complex and took part in his first practice since the final day of minicamp on June 13.
Gordon missed training camp and L.A.’s first three games as he held out for 65 days in the vain hopes of getting a new contract.
Lynn said he doubts Gordon would be ready to play Sunday when the Chargers (1-2) visit Miami but he wanted to assess his conditioning and agility during practices before making a final decision.
“I’m not concerned about the contact. He has played football all his life. I just want to see where he is stamina-wise,” Lynn said.
Gordon was slated to make $5.6 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He is subject to $1.2 million worth of fines along with losing $988,236 for missing the first three games.
The NFL has joined with DraftKings as its provider for daily fantasy sports, moving the league closer to a full embrace of legal sports betting.
DraftKings began as a fantasy sports platform but now operates as a full-service sportsbook. The deal announced makes DraftKings the NFL’s “official daily fantasy partner.”
The league has joined with Caesars Palace for sports betting marketing, its first deal with a traditional casino company. But the NFL remains the only major North American sports league not to designate a full-fledged sports betting partner.
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Pepsi, the sponsor of the halftime show, tweeted the news, saying the performance would be the “first time together on stage” for the duo.
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