The 2018 season will be remembered as an up and down, roller coaster ride that ended with an odds-defying run to the playoffs. The Eagles won five of their final six regular season games and took down the #1 ranked defense in Chicago to get through the Wild Card round.
Star players started playing their best football of the season down the stretch, young players thrown into the fire stepped up, a Super Bowl MVP at backup QB repeated his 2017 magic.
There were a lot of memorable moments throughout the season. Which players had individual performances that stood out?
Ronald Darby gets the best of Julio Jones in the opener
Coming into a contract season, Ronald Darby had a lot to prove. At least for a week, the fourth year corner looked like he might be worth a lucrative contract extension.
Darby went up against Julio Jones in the season opener, on national television, and had his best game in an Eagles uniform.
At the goal-line with time expiring, Matt Ryan gave Jones a chance to win the game one on one with Darby in the corner of the end-zone.
Just like Mills last year, Darby stepped up and threw Julio out of bounds before Jones could get both feet down.
It was the first sign that the 2018 magic was still running through Philadelphia.
Wentz and Jeffery reconnect in Tennessee
In Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery’s first game back together, the connection looked to be clicking as it was in the middle of the 2017 season.
Wentz finished with 348 yards and 2 touchdowns on top of a 66% completion percentage.
Eight completions went to Jeffery for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The duo connected on the exact plays the Eagles imagined the two making when they signed Jeffery in the 2017 offseason.
The Eagles blew a 17 point lead and the Titans won in overtime but the game instilled confidence around Philadelphia that two of the most important pieces on offense were jelling.
Wentz shuts the door on another collapse in London
Arguably Wentz’s best overall performance of 2018 came against a top tier defense in the Jaguars.
Wentz pulled off many “WOW” plays that Eagles fans have grown accustomed to.
It looked like the Jaguars were closing the gap in the fourth quarter, as teams did against the Eagles defense in 2018.
That was until Wentz took over, hitting Jordan Matthews on key first downs to close out the game. He answered the critiques about his fourth-quarter performances and got the Eagles back to .500 at 4-4.
He wasn’t going to let the Eagles lose that game.
Malcolm Jenkins saves the season against Giants
Down 19-11 with the Giants driving inside Eagles territory, Malcolm Jenkins might have made the season-saving interception to keep the game within one score.
Without this game-changing turnover, the Giants could have gone up by as much as 15 heading into halftime.
At 4-6, the Eagles couldn’t afford to lose.
Jenkins was instrumental in the comeback win. Not only did he break the turnover drought for the Eagles defense with the interception and a forced fumble, but his leadership came through when it mattered most.
Having to start DeVante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan at CB due to the plague of injuries in the secondary, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. were taking advantage in the first half.
That was until Jenkins went to Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz and told him to make the defensive gameplan simpler.
Without Jenkins coming through in this Week 12 battle, none of the late-season magic happens.
Cox, Bennett, and Douglas step up in Dallas
Despite falling to the Cowboys in what appeared to be a fate-sealing loss at 6-7, three defensive players nearly carried the Eagles to a win.
Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett combined for three sacks while teaming up to take Dak Prescott down, out of field goal range to force overtime.
It may have been Cox’s most impressive performance as an Eagle. Despite playing over 100 snaps (two games worth), he made more of an impact on the field than anybody.
Rasul Douglas was as impactful. Although Douglas was in coverage on Amari Cooper on the game-winning touchdown, the second-year corner was a major reason the Eagles had a chance.
Well known for his play-making ability on the ball, Douglas turned the game around in the first half with a red-zone interception.
— DIE-HARD 🦅 Fans (@Eaglesfans9) December 9, 2018
Douglas saved the Eagles from allowing more points later in the half, forcing a field goal attempt after a big tackle on third down.
Accepting the holding penalty winds up working in Eagles' favor. Rasul Douglas with another tackle on 3rd down and Maher misses the FG. pic.twitter.com/xlbKLrQpJv
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) December 9, 2018
Alshon and Avonte help pull off the upset in LA
If there was ever a doubt about Alshon Jeffery as a WR1, those doubts were silenced against the Rams.
Jeffery blew up against Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib with 8 receptions for 160 yards.
He consistently made the signature, contested catches that made him a hot commodity in the 2017 free agency class.
— Louie DiBiase (@DiBiaseLOE) January 26, 2019
On the other side of the ball, Avonte Maddox put on a show in his first start on the outside.
The 2018 fourth-round pick made arguably the most impressive turnover of the season on a first-half interception of Jared Goff.
In yet another goal-line stand to win the game, Maddox made the saving play breaking up a contested ball as time expired.
The athleticism Maddox showed with clicking and closing, flipping his hips, making plays on the ball carried on throughout the run to the playoffs.
This performance in LA started a run that just might lock up a starting spot in the secondary for the 2019 season.
Foles and Ertz make history against Houston
In a gutsy Week 16 victory against the Texans, Nick Foles and Zach Ertz found their heroics taking them to the record books.
Both Foles and Ertz set records as they pushed the Eagles down the field and set up Jake Elliott’s game-winning field goal as time expired.
Ertz broke Jason Witten’s NFL record for most receptions in a season by a tight end getting to 113 on the year.
He finished with 12 catches for 110 yards and 2 TDs including the final catch of the game that got the Eagles in field goal range.
As for Foles, he threw for 471 yards, setting the record for most yards thrown in a game by an Eagles quarterback.
On top of that, the Super Bowl MVP also threw four touchdowns and made two big-time passes on the final drive despite getting injured.
Outside of the Super Bowl, it may have been both Foles and Ertz’s best game of their careers.
Might have been Foles vs Texans pic.twitter.com/9p3aDEvvtl
— Louie DiBiase (@DiBiaseLOE) January 27, 2019
What do you think? Did we leave any performance off the list?
Let us know on Twitter @LockedOnBirds
Draft impact on fantasy football
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
NFL.com Fantasy Football Managing Editor Graham Barfield joins the show to discuss what draft prospects fantasy owners should invest in or avoid in their drafts!
What are the ideal landing spots for the top offensive weapons from a fantasy perspective?
Is Josh Jacobs a legitimate RB1 compared to past rookie RBs?
All that and more!
The All-My Guy Team
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Scouts, media, and fans alike all have draft prospects they pound the table for
Today we build a starting offense and defense of “my guys” from the past five draft classes
Find out who Louie and Gino have clamored for since 2014!
2019 Schedule Takeaways
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Reacting to the release of the Eagles 2019 regular season schedule
How easy or difficult does it look in April?
Best QB battles with Wentz
Best road trips for fans to attend
And of course the always riveting W-L predictions!