Led by Carson Wentz, defense, Philadelphia Eagles hold on for 24-18 triumph in London
LONDON — After watching a fourth-quarter lead slip away twice this season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz didn’t want to see it happen again.
Thanks to his defense, it didn’t.
The Eagles held onto a 24-18 victory at Wembley Stadium on Sunday after the Jacksonville Jaguars were twice held to a field goal in the fourth quarter, and failed to convert on fourth down with 3:41 remaining.
“We finished it,” said Wentz, who threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, all to different players. “At the end of the day, we finished it. We still didn’t finish the way we wanted offensively. We had a chance to seal the deal but went three-and-out, and the defense stepped up. So I think at the end of the day, we finished well this week.”
Philadelphia (4-4) surrendered a 17-point lead in the final quarter of a loss to the Carolina Panthers a week earlier, and lost in overtime to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 30 despite holding a seven-point advantage.
Although the Eagles failed to pick up a first down when they got the ball back with 6:52 remaining – and rookie running back Josh Adams nearly fumbled on the first play, if not for the call being overturned on replay review – they otherwise converted 7 of 12 third-down opportunities.
Jacksonville entered the fourth quarter down 17-12 after a failed 2-point conversion, and a pair of field goals by Josh Lambo kept them within six points even after the Eagles extended the lead on a 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Zach Ertz.
Blake Bortles, restored as the starter despite being pulled in a loss to the Houston Texans a week earlier, ran for 4 yards on fourth down with 4:26 left to prolong what would be the Jaguars’ final drive. But he could not connect with Donte Moncrief on fourth-and-2 four plays later to seal the fate for Jacksonville (3-5).
“They were on a roll,” said Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. “They were getting on third down. We were having a tough time containing the quarterback … and obviously, we couldn’t contain the run.”
The Eagles finished with 395 total yards, their third-highest total this season, against the Jaguars, who entered the game with the league’s second-ranked defense. Philly gained 133 rushing.
Jacksonville claimed a 6-3 lead on two field goals by Lambo, including a career-long 57-yard attempt, but saw that disappear by halftime when rookie tight end Dallas Goedert had a 32-yard touchdown reception at the end of the second quarter.
A 95-yard drive at the start of the third quarter ended with the Eagles taking a 17-6 lead after running back Wendell Smallwood took a screen pass 32 yards into the end zone, but the Jaguars marched 75 yards over nine plays and found the end zone when Bortles connected with Dede Westbrook under the uprights to trim their deficit to 17-12.
That set the stage for the comeback, but the Jaguars’ inability to get past the goal line despite two trips into the red zone ended their hopes of a fourth consecutive win at Wembley.
NO BLAME FOR BORTLES
Marrone said that Bortles was not the reason for the Jaguars’ inability to win. Bortles, who went 24 for 41 with 286 yards and a touchdown, led the team in rushing with 43 yards on eight attempts.
“He gave us a chance,” Marrone said. “He went out there and gave us a chance. He ran the ball well (and made) quick decisions. I don’t think we have a problem. I don’t think he’s the player that cost us the game. He played well overall. A total team effort.”
LAST IN LONDON
The game, played before a record, pro-Eagles crowd of 85,870 fans, was the last of three played at Wembley this season. The Jaguars, who have played at the venue since 2013, have a contract to hold one game there annually through the 2020 season.
Philadelphia: RT Lane Johnson injured his left knee on the Eagles’ opening drive and did not return. LT Jason Peters was evaluated for a concussion late in the second quarter but returned after halftime. OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill left in the first half after an unspecified injury but was able to return, and CB Jalen Mills (foot) was injured a minute into the third quarter and missed the rest of the game.
Jacksonville: FS Barry Church was evaluated for a concussion midway through the fourth quarter, but scans were negative. CB Quenton Meeks (knee), starting for the injured A.J. Bouye, left in the fourth quarter. LB Telvin Smith (shoulder) and CB Ronnie Harrison (knee) left the game in the second quarter but returned.
Philadelphia: Host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11 after a bye week.
Jacksonville: Face the Indianapolis Colts on the road on Nov. 11, also after a bye.