Boston Scott contributed three touchdown runs — all in the final 17½ minutes — marking his first three-score game since college at Louisiana Tech.
A pessimist could say the Eagles won a division that ended the regular season with a combined 24-40 record, which is by far the worst in the league.
While that may be true, Sunday’s 34-17 victory over the Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium means Doug Pederson’s team won its fourth straight to secure the NFC East title. They host a playoff game next weekend at the Linc against Seahawks, the loser of Sunday’s late game against the 49ers.
Who the 9-7 Eagles will have available from their MASH unit of a roster is a legitimate question, but that’s something to worry about on another day.
That they managed to even defeat a 4-win team like the Giants was thoroughly impressive.
“It was really sweet,” said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. “We have guys going down every time. When it happens, it just brings this team that much closer. ... When guys get chances, they’re taking advantage of it.”
To say the Eagles lacked offensive play-makers was an understatement.
Already down their top three receivers (DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor) and Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz (broken ribs) coming into the game, the Eagles relied on rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, former practice-squad players Greg Ward, Josh Perkins, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, plus Richard Rodgers, who was signed off the street Tuesday, and second-year tight end Dallas Goedert (four catches, 65 yards).
“We just continue to work,” said Perkins of the former practice-squad contingent. “We never got down on ourselves.”
Rookie running back Miles Sanders, who is the Birds’ leading rusher, left with an ankle injury in the first half, as did Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks (right shoulder) on a second-quarter extra point. Already missing right tackle Lane Johnson (high ankle sprain), the right side of the offensive line consisted of Matt Pryor and Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the second half.
As for the running-back position, Jordan Howard was activated after missing six games with a shoulder injury, but barely played, and didn’t have a single carry, which left former practice-squad guy Boston Scott as the only healthy player at that spot.
Carson Wentz, who became the first Eagles quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season, still managed to make the offense productive. He found Perkins (four catches for 54 yards) on a 24-yard touchdown completion in the second period after scrambling to keep the play alive and hit Burnett for 41 yards early in the fourth quarter to set up Jake Elliott’s go-ahead 50-yard field goal.
Scott contributed three touchdown runs — all in the final 17½ minutes — marking his first three-score game since college at Louisiana Tech. He set up the final TD with a highlight-film spin move on a 39-yard screen pass. Scott led the Eagles in rushing with 54 yards on 19 carries and also had a team-high 84 receiving yards on four catches.
“Doug Pederson put us in positions to be successful,” Scott said. “It’s on us to capitalize on the situations.”
The Giants consistently double-teamed Goedert, forcing Wentz to go to his Plan B — or C or D.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles were without their injured starting cornerbacks, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, meaning Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc handled those roles to start the game. When Maddox hurt his ankle defending a pass to Giants receiver Golden Tate in the second quarter, Sidney Jones moved outside with LeBlanc in the slot.
LeBlanc made a huge tackle on former Penn State star Saquon Barkley on fourth-and-2 midway through the fourth quarter, while Jones added a clinching interception.
Backups and fill-ins were all over the field for the Birds and, despite the degree of difficulty, they got the job done.
Pederson, his staff and the players deserve a great deal of credit for making a third straight postseason berth become a reality.
Tom Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org; @TomMoorePhilly