PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It was bound to run out some time. On Monday night, it did. That magic elixir, or whatever it was that enabled the Eagles to be more than they actually are each time they played at Lincoln Financial Field the first four times this season, ran dry.
Then again, a good dose of Aaron Rodgers and a desperate Green Bay Packers team can do that.
Green Bay and the Eagles were fighting for their postseason lives before a national TV audience. The Packers and Rodgers aren’t ready to let go of 2016 yet, and that came through in a 27-13 victory at the Linc, stomping out the Eagles four-game winning streak at home and dropping them to 5-6 with five teams left on their schedule that have a combined record of 33-20-2.
It doesn’t bode well for playing into January.
Nor should it after scoring 13 points and garnering 211 yards passing against the NFL’s 29th team in average points given up per game (27.6) and 24th in average passing defense (265.6 yards surrendered per game).
Rodgers had a lot to do with it. Green Bay converted its first six third downs, a trend that the Packers followed throughout the game. Each time Rodgers completed a pass, it was invariable that Leodis McKelvin, Jaylen Watkins or Rodney McLeod was running after a Green Bay receiver.
While the fan focus has been on Nelson Agholor, high-priced defensive tackle Fletcher Cox so far has gotten a free pass, it seems, this season. The first time his name was called Monday night came when he roughed up Rodgers that prolonged a drive that led to the Packers’ Aaron Ripkowski’s 1-yard TD plunge with 13:53 left to play. The Ripkowski score concluded a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
It was a series that got a nice helping push—from Cox.
On a third and four at the Green Bay 31, Cox went roaring up the middle and threw a wrestling lariat move around Rodgers’ neck. It negated Rodgers’ incomplete pass and the 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Packers the ball at the Green Bay 46.
The Packers would chew up valuable time by reeling off 12 plays, going up 24-13. Cox didn’t have a hurry, wasn’t credited with a quarterback hit or tackle for loss. His name wasn’t called for a tackle until there was 3:20 left to play—with Green Bay running out the clock.
The Cox snafu could have been the turning point of the game. A stop there would have kept the Eagles within one score. Instead, they trailed by 11 early in the fourth quarter.
By 10:26 to play, after a Wentz incomplete pass, the fans began heading for the exits, beating the traffic for an inevitable loss and what seems right now a very long shot at the Eagles making the playoffs.
Rodgers finished completing 30-of-39, for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Wentz started exceptionally well, completing his first seven passes. Wentz went a respectable 24-for-36, for 254 yards and one TD, with one interception.
But once again, Wentz appeared skittish in the pocket, reluctant to throw the ball away during the times he was able to escape, and consequently, was sacked four times for minus-43 yards.
Defensively, the Eagles couldn’t get off the field. For the game, Green Bay converted 10 of 14 third downs—three coming on penalties, which included the Cox roughing call and a Brandon Graham offsides.
The Packers scored on their first three second-half possessions, before Rodgers and the Packers had mercy on their final series and took a knee. The Eagles, meanwhile, went interception, field goal, punt and loss of downs on their four possessions in the second half.
The defeat snapped the Eagles’ home invincibility—and long term—probably ended their 2016 postseason hopes.