Eagles-Giants, Day After: ‘A Special Moment’

How Terrence Brooks, who hadn't played a single snap on defense all season, caught the game-ending interception in a made-up defense.

Terrence Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

Terrence Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

Standing on the sidelines at Lincoln Financial Field, Jim Schwartz grew frustrated that the Eagles couldn’t stop Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants receiver, who finished the game with 11 catches for 150 yards, carved Philadelphia’s defense up regardless of which page in the playbook Schwartz turned to.

So the Eagles’ defensive coordinator decided to throw his playbook out and make up a new scheme on the spot.

“We got tired of Odell catching the ball and sprinting through the defense.” Jenkins said. “We made sure we had somebody on Odell all the time because every time we played zone, he just kind of ran through the entire defense. So we knew that last drive we were going to need something to keep the ball out of his hands.”

Schwartz likened it to a box-and-one defense basketball teams use because they always had Jalen Mills in man-to-man coverage on Beckham while others played zone around them. To play this defense, however, the Eagles needed to take a defensive lineman out and add an extra safety who would patrol a deep portion of the field. Jaylen Watkins exited the game early because of a concussion, so when Schwartz asked Jenkins who they should put in, Jenkins didn’t hesitate to name Terrence Brooks.

Brooks, who signed with the Eagles just a week before the season started, hadn’t played a single snap on defense all year. Still, on his third defensive play of the game, he dropped back into the Eagles’ new cover-2 defense and picked off Eli Manning to seal the 24-19 win with only five seconds remaining.

“It was a little nerve-wracking. (Schwartz) was like, ‘Go out there!’ and I’m like, ‘Oh crap, I haven’t been doing anything on defense.’ But they train us well to go out there and make plays. It was just a blessing to go out there and have that interception,” Brooks said. “It just felt like I finally made it.

“It’s definitely a special moment. I’m glad it came this way.”

Not long after his interception, Brooks walked around the Eagles’ locker room after the game with his right hand firmly gripping the ball. Ostensibly, the souvenir represented his first-career interception, but to Brooks, it meant so much more.

The 25-year-old was drafted by the Ravens in the third round in 2014 and appeared on defense in seven games, but he then suffered a season-ending knee injury. Brooks rarely played on defense in 2015, before Baltimore waived him after training camp this year.

“I’m really emotional because I worked so hard and I’ve been through a lot just to get back on the field on defense,” Brooks said. “I played a lot my rookie year and then went down with an injury. It threw me off from my game; I wasn’t able to get back on defense. My time ended in Baltimore, I came here and I’ve been working ever since to get a spot on defense.

“I went out and said, ‘Hey man, get back to having fun like you did in high school and in your younger days.’ I felt like I lost that a little bit in the league, but you just go out there with no hesitation and that determination and go make plays.”

Brooks decided to keep the ball so he could give it to his 2-year-old son, Carter, when he returned home after the Eagles’ first NFC East win of the season. Philadelphia’s five-point win also represented their first win in a one-possession game this season.

“He’s probably going to throw it right back at me and want to play catch. I can’t wait to see him. That’s one of the biggest motivators I have. It’s a blessing,” Brooks said. “He brings me so much joy and that’s who I play for when I’m out there on the field. He’ll probably scream, ‘Daddy!’ and tackle me as soon as I get in the house because that’s what he usually does. It will be great to see him.”

SOCIAL SKILLS

NOTABLE QUOTES

Leodis McKelvin on Odell Beckham, Jr. catching 11 passes for 150 yards:

“He got his yards, but he didn’t get in the end zone. We didn’t see no dancing from him. When someone gets 15, almost 20 throws at them a game, shit, obviously you better have some yards.”

Doug Pederson on challenging a spot late in the fourth quarter that negated a Giants first down in Philadelphia territory:

“On the field I was kind of right there by the first down line to gain. And it appeared live that he was short that he didn’t get the first down. I just wanted to make sure upstairs that we got the replays and everything, and all the information. And the fact that it was actually before the two-minute warning obviously allowed me the opportunity to challenge that play. So it worked out great.”

—Pederson on why the Eagles’ fourth-and-goal play failed:

“Just penetration. Those are tough situations of course, a new quarterback. And cadence was a little different. It looked like it appeared, and I’ve got to again check the film. We might have been a little late coming off the ball, anticipating the count with chase. But those situations are those ‘got to have it’ moments. The Giants did a good job of actually stalemating our line and stopped us short of the goal line.”

—Pederson on why the Eagles threw the ball on their final third-down of the game instead of running it and forcing the Giants to call a timeout with less than two minutes left:

“We actually had a run-pass check, and it was a situation that we kind of anticipated the coverage. We got the coverage we thought, and so we killed the play to the pass, and we got bump and run on the slot. Just a little bit inside the throw. But it’s a great opportunity right there to just ice the game. It’s a situation, too, where we get that play, game over, you know. Third-and-five, third-and-six at the end. But we didn’t get it. Obviously the defense came up big at the end.”

Carson Wentz on getting briefly knocked out of the game in the third quarter:

“It was a screen play and [Darren] Sproles didn’t get out there, so I just tried to throw it away. I was taken to the ground pretty hard and landed on my head. I got up and was a little dizzy. I got my bell rung a little bit, but then I got to the bench and I was feeling good. I had to go in and do the [concussion] protocol, but I passed all of that and got to come back in.”

Zach Ertz on whether players are better off using discretion in situations like the one during which Wentz blocked after he cleared concussion protocol and returned to the game:

“Not in this city.”

Lane Johnson on missing 10 games:

“I have to be more responsible. I can’t be as careless as I have been. I have to mature and grow up.”

Nolan Carroll on the officials allowing the Eagles and Giants to be more physical than usual:

“When you get in a game like that and on certain plays, the ref doesn’t really come to you and say anything. He just says, ‘It is cool, let it go.’ That is when you can tell you have a little more freedom to play. Not necessarily to say we are out there cheating, but they are just letting us play football. They are not getting all sensitive with the rules. They were giving us the opportunity to make plays.”

Malcolm Jenkins on improving his catching ability after dropping some interceptions last season:

“When you review the season and look at things you can get better at, that was probably one of my top things on my list. When you talk about the potential to take your game to the next level, I think that is the area. And which you start really changing momentum of entire games for me personally. But it was never anything that I’ve doubted or felt insecure about at all.”

SNAP COUNTS

Offense

Player# of snaps% of snaps
Brandon Brooks56100%
Lane Johnson56100%
Jason Kelce56100%
Jason Peters5598%
Nelson Agholor5496%
Carson Wentz5089%
Zach Ertz4886%
Stefen Wisniewski4377%
Jordan Matthews3970%
Brent Celek3054%
Ryan Mathews2850%
Dorial Green-Beckham2748%
Darren Sproles2748%
Trey Burton1629%
Allen Barbre1323%
Isaac Seumalo916%
Chase Daniel611%
Beau Allen12%
Byron Marshall12%
Bryce Treggs12%

*Carson Wentz missed snaps for the first time this season as he sat out six plays in the third quarter while undergoing concussion protocol. Jason Kelce is now the only Eagle on the team to play 100 percent of his unit’s snaps this year.

*Nelson Agholor (96 percent) played the most snaps by far among Eagles receivers as Jordan Matthews (70 percent) was on the field for 15 fewer plays. However, no receiver finished with more than two catches.

*Allen Barbre (23 percent) exited the game in the first half with a hamstring injury, so Stefen Wisniewski (77 percent) played a lot of snaps. Isaac Seumalo (16 percent), meanwhile, played a decent number of snaps as the sixth offensive lineman.

Defense

Player# of snaps% of snaps
Nigel Bradham89100%
Malcolm Jenkins89100%
Rodney McLeod89100%
Leodis McKelvin8393%
Jordan Hicks8393%
Nolan Carroll6674%
Jalen Mills6674%
Fletcher Cox6674%
Connor Barwin6573%
Brandon Graham6371%
Bennie Logan4955%
Jaylen Watkins3742%
Vinny Curry3438%
Beau Allen2933%
Marcus Smith2629%
Destiny Vaeao2225%
Mychal Kendricks1416%
Stephen Tulloch67%
Terrence Brooks33%

*Leodis McKelvin (93 percent) played the most snaps among Eagles cornerbacks by far, while Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills played the same amount (74 percent).

*Destiny Vaeao (25 percent) played his highest number of snaps in the last eight weeks, while Stephen Tulloch (7 percent) played his highest number of snaps in the last 11 weeks.


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