Eagles' win hinged on two throws to Nelson

November, 10, 2013
11/10/13
8:30
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For all the yardage and carnage, the Philadelphia Eagles' 27-13 win over the Green Bay Packers came down to two red zone throws from Scott Tolzien to Jordy Nelson.

LeSean McCoy ran for 155 yards. It seemed like the training staffs were out on the field as much as the offensive or defensive units. Nick Foles followed his seven-touchdown day in Oakland with a three-touchdown day.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Boykin and Jordy Nelson
AP Photo/Mike RoemerBrandon Boykin was able to wrestle this pass away from Jordy Nelson for a crucial red zone takeaway.
But it would have been an entirely different game if Tolzien, making his NFL debut after Seneca Wallace injured his groin, had completed those two short passes to Nelson. Come to think of it, he actually might have completed one.

Let's start with the first one. Earlier in the second quarter, with the Eagles leading 7-0, Tolzien drove the Packers from their own 18 to the Eagles' 5-yard line. A touchdown there would have tied the game and swung the momentum to Green Bay. On third-and-3, though, Tolzien underthrew Nelson in the end zone.

Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin pounced. He returned the interception 76 yards.

“I was able to get my hands on it,” Boykin said. “I am a little bit disappointed that I wasn't able to score, but it was a big stop in the red zone, so it was good.”

The Eagles wound up missing a field goal, but the pick kept momentum on the visitors' side.

In the fourth quarter, with the Eagles ahead 27-13, the Packers recovered a Foles fumble at the Philadelphia 13. On fourth-and-4 at the 7, Tolzien threw a fade to Nelson on his right. The play was ruled incomplete on the field and Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged it.

After review of replays that seemed to show Nelson's hand under the ball, referee Mike Carey upheld the call.

“A relief,” Eagles linebacker Trent Cole said.

It was the Eagles' ball. The Packers never got the ball back, as the Eagles ran out the final 9:32 on the clock. If the touchdown had counted, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said, it would have changed his strategy.

“If it's a one-score game, I think you have to go down and try to score,” Kelly said. “We talked about both scenarios.”

Because those passes to Nelson didn't find their target, the Eagles were able to run out the clock on a 14-point win.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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