LONDON – The Eagles' offensive had given away the ball twice. Philadelphia seemed to be on the verge of another disappointing day as the final minutes at Wembley's stadium vanished on the scoreboard in the opening half of the knockout round on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With 1:40 in the second quarter, these panic thoughts evaporated quickly after a huge game of rookie security Avonte Maddox.
Jaguar quarterback Blake Bortles joined wide receiver Keelan Cole on a crossing route for a 15-yard win near midfield on the second and ten. Shortly after he caught the pass, Cole was hit hard by Maddox in the lower body and fumbled the ball as he floated from the collision.
The ball was picked up by Malcolm Jenkins security partner and returned to Jacksonville. Four games later, the Eagles' attack completed a 44-yard touchdown drive on a 32-yard completion from quarterback Carson Wentz to narrow-ended Dallas Goedert. The series of five games shifted the dynamics of the game, pushing the Eagles into a 1
The Eagles held their power position for the remainder of the game.
"We went out there, there were two minutes left and we wanted sales," Maddox said after the 24-18 win. "Our main objective in this game was to generate revenue for our offensive and give them the ball back for something to happen, and that's exactly what happened." It was a good thing to kick in [halftime]. "
Maddox's forced massage was a game-changing game. The Jaguars looked as if they were going to put together their third goals in the first half at the time of the costly turnaround. Instead, Jacksonville gave a chance to create a two-digit lead at halftime.
"This game [Maddox] came in the first half, the forced fumbling just where we needed it, which led to our offense," Jenkins said after the game. "It was a really big difference in the game."
Maddox's sweeping momentum was actually his second big game of the first half.
About halfway through the first quarter, the Jaguars were in third place. and-1 from the Philadelphia 32-yard line. Jacksonville decided to return the ball with newly acquired power to Carlos Hyde to lift a first descent into short-yard territory.
Maddox had other plans.
The 5-foot-9, 184-pound former cornerback shot into the backcourt and took Hyde for a one-yard loss. Hyde outnumbered Maddox by 45 pounds, but the rookie refused to lower the first one. The Jaguars had to settle for a 50-yard field goal by kicker Josh Lambo.
"I do not care how tall you are, I just go in and throw my whole body at you," Maddox said about the stop. "That's one thing I'm proud of [on] being able to defeat … I knew I could get into this defense with Jim Schwartz, he likes his [defensive backs] challenge a big deal in our defense, so the less missed tackles, the better off we will be. "
Takeaway from Eagle's Locker Room
Maddox has come a long way since his safety in Week 4. Over the course of its first eight NFL games, Maddox The role has evolved from a dedicated team contributor to a standout defense performer.
"I'm always impressed with what he could do for us," Jenkins said of Maddox. "We pretty much threw him in an unfair [situation] as a freshman, he changed positions, we put him out there, we put a lot of responsibility on him … and every week he gets better and he does plays He is one this young, ragged, explosive player who just loves to watch. "
The fourth round is one of the few true success stories of the first half of the season. With the Eagles now 4-4, Maddox will count on continuing to progress with the team in the thick of the division race.
Mike Kaye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @ Mike_E_Kaye . Find NJ.com on Facebook .