PHILADELPHIA -- Somehow, the rookie did it.
Kicker Jake Elliott, signed off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad two weeks ago following an injury to Caleb Sturgis, nailed a 61-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Philadelphia Eagles to a 27-24 win over the New York Giants.
"Quite honestly, I had so much confidence standing there, calmness," said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. "I just watched him kick a couple kickoffs extremely deep into the end zone, and it was pretty awesome. Sounded like a cannon off his foot, great snap, great hold, protection was there. Yeah, awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome."
Elliott was a fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals. He showed off his strong leg in camp but lost out on the competition because of accuracy issues. Some of those inconsistencies showed up over the past two weeks, as he missed a field goal attempt in Kansas City and again Sunday versus New York. Elliott said he was "demoralized" by the one he failed on earlier in the game against the Giants, a 52-yarder, but he came back in a big way.
"It's kind of all a blur to me," said Elliott, who was swarmed by teammates as the ball snuck just inside the right upright. "I usually don't go out that long during the course of my [pregame] warm-up. I usually go out to 50, 56, maybe 57 and call it a day from there."
His 61-yarder is the longest in Eagles history. The mark was previously held by Tony Franklin, who booted a 59-yarder in 1979. Elliott said he once hit a wind-aided 75-yard field goal in practice, but his longest in college was 56.
While no one could have predicted that finish, the Alshon Jeffery catch that set the field goal up was no fluke. The Eagles had been drilling that play in practice. They call it "Orbit Y Bingo" with a progression they refer to as "Mardi Gras" because it's from the top-down. Jeffery was the second read on the play and quarterback Carson Wentz found him for a 19-yard strike along the right sideline. There were seven seconds remaining on the clock when the play started, and just one tick left when Jeffery stepped out of bounds.
"I knew seven seconds was definitely pushing it with that route ... but in those situations you just have to take some chances," said Wentz.
Each player had a different story for what was going through their heads before the Elliott kick. Wentz prayed. Safety Malcolm Jenkins worried about Odell Beckham Jr., positioned in the end zone in case the attempt fell short, returning one for a TD. But the reaction was the same, both in the stands and on the field: pure joy.
"It was awesome. I was just kind of running around trying not to get hurt," said Elliott.
The kick delivers a crushing blow to the now 0-3 Giants, while putting the Eagles in a sweet position at 2-1 heading into next Sunday's game at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Just like that, the Eagles are sitting in the cat bird's seat while one of their biggest rivals are in survival mode less than a quarter of the way into the season.
"A year ago, we were always coming up just one play short, one play here or there," said Wentz. "To fight until the end, have that comeback, put that drive together and kick that game-winning field goal, that was huge for us. It shows growth and definitely something we can build on."