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Philadelphia Eagles

The ugly ducklings of 2018 came through

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back at how the Eagles put themselves in a 6-7 hole before tonight’s win in LA, there are a number of players people will point to as the faces of a disappointing season if the Eagles miss the playoffs.

Whether it was Corey Graham blowing the 4th and 19 stop against the Titans, Wendell Smallwood representing a lackluster run game, or Cre’Veon LeBlanc and Tre Sullivan getting significant playing time with all the injuries in the secondary, these players haven’t been looked at fondly this season.

That changed at least for one day in what was a season-saving upset win against the 11-2 Rams.

Starting with Smallwood, the Eagles run game struggled in the first half but the former fifth-round pick provided a huge spark with two touchdowns.

Josh Adams struggled to hit holes fast enough against a tough interior Rams defensive line but Smallwood was able to average almost five yards a carry finishing with 10 carries 48 yards and a 4.8 YPC.

For two years now he has gone from having a significant role in the backfield rotation to suddenly becoming a healthy scratch when a new RB gets hot.

He was a key reason the Eagles are 7-7 with a reasonable path to the playoffs.

On to the misfits in the secondary.

Graham, LeBlanc, and Sullivan are not players you want in a starting lineup. However, they made plays when it mattered most.

For Graham, it was the second straight week with an interception, something the Eagles have been starved of in 2018.

Sullivan and LeBlanc came up with some big plays on defense but their contributions on special teams were on full display.

Special teams has not been a strength of the Eagles this year but the unit made two huge plays as the Rams tried to complete their 17-point comeback.

LeBlanc had the awareness to realize the Rams were faking the punt and throwing to his side. The pass hit the Rams target in the chest but LeBlanc getting his hands inside made the catch difficult to complete.

Tre Sullivan came up with the biggest play of the game. The Rams looked like they were going to march down the field and tie up a game that the Eagles had a three-score lead in with 15 minutes to go. It was all too familiar to collapses this season against the Titans and Panthers.

Then Sullivan came crashing in on punt coverage and jarred the ball loose.

Sullivan has come a long way from stepping on the football during a punt return against the Falcons that gave Atlanta the ball back in the season opener.

The Eagles were supposed to be a team that had as much elite talent across the board as this Rams juggernaut has.

Because of serious injuries in every part of the roster, it was up to these backups to save the day.

Nobody has bet on them this year. They bet on themselves. And they stepped up on prime-time football. With the season on the line.

For at least one night, these guys are heroes.

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a writer, host, and producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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