Two goal-line stands helped the visiting Philadelphia Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers 34-27 on Thursday night.
Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes and Jordan Howard ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles avoided a 1-3 start. It was their maligned defense, however, that saved the day with two big fourth-quarter stops.
With Philadelphia leading 34-27, the Packers had first-and-goal at the one-yard line with about 10 minutes remaining. The Packers threw it on all four plays – even with star receiver Davante Adams in the medical tent with a toe injury – but came up empty.
On fourth down, quarterback Aaron Rodgers bought time to his right and threw to the back of the end zone to tight end Jimmy Graham, who couldn’t make a leaping grab.
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The Packers got another chance, starting at their 11 with 5:02 remaining. Even without Adams, Rodgers completed seven passes to get a first-and-goal at the Eagles’ seven-yard line.
On the last of those completions, an 11-yarder to tight end Robert Tonyan with 1:06 to play, Eagles defensive back Avonte Maddox was hit hard by a team-mate, safety Andrew Sendejo. Maddox stayed on the turf for several minutes before being carted off the field.
One play later, with the ball at the three-yard line and about 30 seconds remaining, defensive back Craig James – who was on the practice squad a couple days ago – broke up a pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and linebacker Nigel Bradham made the saving interception.
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Rodgers threw for 422 yards as the Packers finished with a 491-336 edge in offensive yards.
The Eagles led 21-20 at the end of a wild first half.
The Packers came out hot again with their third opening-drive touchdown in as many games. A 58-yard reception by Adams set up a three-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones. Mason Crosby tacked on a field goal on the Packers’ next drive for a 10-0 lead, but Miles Sanders returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to set up Wentz’s six-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery.
A 40-yard catch by Adams helped put the Packers ahead 13-7 but the Eagles answered with Wentz’s three-yard touchdown to tight end Dallas Goedert to lead 14-13.
A strip-sack by defensive end Derek Howard set up the Eagles on the Packers’ 17, and Howard waltzed in from the one-yard line to make it 21-13 with 59 seconds left in the half.