NFL London: Eagles tame Jaguars in front of record crowd
PUBLISHED: 17:45 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:46 28 October 2018
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An NFL regular-season record crowd at Wembley Stadium of 85,870 watched defending Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles do just enough to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-18 on Sunday.
Philadelphia received the kick-off and got lucky on the third play of the game when Carson Wentz’s pass was blocked, but the quarterback caught it on the rebound and made it for a first down.
But a few plays later, Wentz was sacked and fumbled the ball to Jacksonville, who took over on their own 28.
At 6:50 of the first quarter Josh Lambo kicked a 51-yard field goal to give the Jaguars the lead and things got better late in the quarter when a good Philadelphia drive ended with Wentz being picked off at the back of the endzone by Jags’ Jalen Ramsey.
The opening period ended with Chris Long sacking Blake Bortles on third down so Jacksonville started the second quarter with a punt on their own 14-yard line. Wentz again moved the ball downfield, but the drive stalled with a sack on the seven-yard line. The result was 31-yard field goal kicked by Jake Elliott to level the scores.
The response from Jacksonville was spectacular – if you like long field goals – because Lambo kicked a 57-yarder to regain the lead.
A three-and-out for the Eagles resulted in a punt from the 15 and there was more than enough time for the Jaguars to get a touchdown or a field goal.
But Jacksonville used only two plays, before they lost the ball – with Keenan Cole fumbling after a catch following a hit from Malcolm Jenkins, as the ball ended on the Jaguars 46.
Wentz rushed for a first down at the Jaguars 32-yard line with 38 seconds to go and, on the next play, threw a touchdown pass to back-up tight end Dallas Goedert. The extra point put the Eagles 10–6 up at half-time.
At the start of the second half, Bortles threw one good pass and was nearly intercepted on two others. The result was a punt which ended on Philadelphia’s five-yard line.
Wentz then engineered a masterful nine-play, 95-yard touchdown drive which was completed by a 36-yard to running back Wendell Smallwood.
The pass was actually only a yard or so forward, but the Eagles’ blocking was good and Smallwood ran almost untouched through a wide-open defensive backfield to score.
Jacksonville had to hit back immediately, going 75 yards in nine plays before Bortles threw an 11-yard pass to DD Westbrook. The same players tried to link up for a two-point play, but it was broken up just inside the endzone.
After a quick and fruitless Philadelphia drive, Jaguars moved downfield and went into the fourth quarter inside the Eagles half.
But a third and 10 from the 15 was incomplete so Lambo knocked over a 33-yard field goal to leave the score 17–15 to Philadelphia.
As champions do, and Philadelphia did win the Super Bowl in February, they responded in style again marching 75 yards in quick time. This time Wentz found tight end Zak Ertz from five yards out to make it a two-score (nine-point) game.
Star running back TJ Yelden then put Jaguars in position to score with catches of six and 37 yards and Bortles ran twice, one of which drew a laughable penalty, but a third-down play from six yards out was dropped by DJ Chark in the back of the endzone.
Lambo kicked a 24-yard field goal to make the score 24–18 with just under seven minutes of the game remaining.
Philadelphia could not move the ball, so Jacksonville took over on their own 35-yard line, needing a touchdown and extra point to lead.
A fourth-down run by Bortles kept the drive alive, but three bad passes by the quarterback turned the ball over.
Wentz threw for a first down with 3:23 remaining, and, crucially, Jacksonville were out of time-outs. One more run, from Smallwood, took Philadelphia to the two-minute warning, at which point they ran out the clock.