Parkey’s Revenge: Rookie’s Last-Second Kick Caps Eagles’ Comeback Over Colts


Sep 15, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles kicker Cody Parkey (1) kicks the winning field goal against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Philadelphia defeats Indianapolis 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Without looking back at my preview article, I’m 99% sure I mentioned something about the Colts winning Monday night’s showdown with the Eagles on a late-game field goal by future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri. The fates, as it turns out, have a sense of humor when it comes to primetime football. The result of the game would come down to a last-second kick. Instead of Vinatieri, however, it was rookie Cody Parkey drilling a 36-yard try not once, but twice to lift the Eagles to a 30-27 win and secure the team’s first 2-0 start since the 2012 season.

Getting to a point where a field goal would provide such a lift was an adventure to say the least. As they did in their week one win over the Jaguars, the Eagles got off to a frustrating start in all facets of the game. The offense was unable to deliver in the red zone (two field goals on three first half trips, no touchdowns), the defense was sloppy and allowed Trent Richardson to gash them, and penalties were as much an issue as one can ever remember under Chip Kelly. Capped by a tremendous interception of Nick Foles by Indianapolis defensive back Greg Toler to send the Eagles into the locker room staring at a 17-6 deficit.

The offense was able to move the ball between the 20s better than the previous week. Foles connected with Zach Ertz for a pair of catches on the opening drive totaling 41 yards. Darren Sproles caught a 57-yard pass out of the backfield only to have the drive stall as a result of Riley Cooper dropping a touchdown pass and Cody Parkey missing a field goal. For the most part, the offense operated pretty well up until it found itself in the shadow of the Colts endzone.

The defense, on the other hand, was uncharacteristically frustrating in ways we’re not accustomed to. Trent Richardson, a back who normally seems unable to get out of his own way, rattled off several effective runs against an Eagles defense whose strength in 2013 was slowing down the opposition’s ground game. The Eagles fell for Andrew Luck’s hard count on at least three occasions, two of which resulted in first downs for the Colts. Finally, they were unable to provide even remote resistance to the play action passes near the goal line that resulted in all three Colts touchdowns. Though they had come back the week prior from a 17-0 deficit, the Eagles chances felt much slimmer against a desperate team like the Colts.

The Colts would open the 2nd half scoring with an Adam Vinatieri field goal to make it 20-6. The defense was gift-wrapped an opportunity for a game-changing play, but Bradley Fletcher dropped an interception in the endzone on an awful throw by Andrew Luck. On their second drive of the 3rd quarter, on 3rd and 11, Foles found Ertz over the middle for a 21 yard pick up and potentially game-saving first down. In by far his most effective appearance of the game, Riley Cooper drew a pass interference penalty in the endzone to give the Eagles the ball on the Colts one-yard line. LeSean McCoy would plunge in from a yard out for the team’s first touchdown and helped the Eagles cut the lead to 20-13.

The Colts would get the ball back, but this time the defense would come up with the big play that seemed to tip the scales further in the Eagles favor. On another give to Richardson, Fletcher Cox burst through the line and jarred the ball loose. DeMeco Ryans came up with the recovery and the Eagles once again found themselves deep in Colts territory. Cox, for the second straight week, played at an elite level. He chased down Luck on a 3rd and short play to force the Colts to attempt a field goal rather than continue trying for a touchdown earlier in the game. The 2012 1st round pick finished with four tackles, a tackle for loss, and the aforementioned forced fumble.

The offense looked as if their red zone woes might continue. After a holding penalty pushed them back to their 19 yard line in a goal-to-go situation, another Parkey field goal attempt appeared the most likely result. That was until Darren Sproles bounced a handoff to the outsides, absorbed contact at around the 5-yard line, and managed to slither his way far enough to break the plane and give the Eagles their second touchdown in less than two minutes. The score was suddenly knotted at 20 a-piece and it seemed as if the Eagles had completely swung momentum their way.

The Colts constructed a spectacular response drive bleeding into the early stages of the 4th quarter. As they moved past midfield, things got even worse for the Eagles. On a 2nd down play that resulted in T.Y. Hilton hauling in one of his six catches, Mychal Kendricks remained on the turf after the play was blown dead. The inside linebacker had to leave the game with a calf issue and would not return. His replacement, Casey Matthews, performed as expected. Matthews must have gotten pancaked on every blitz attempt, missed a one-on-one tackle in space, and further reinforced his status as the runt of the Matthews clan. The Colts would go back up by a touchdown on a seven-yard hook-up between Luck and Ahmad Bradshaw.

After failing to come up with points on their next drive, things felt like they were slipping away for the Eagles. Once again, the Colts moved methodically down the field with a chance to make it a two-score game with time winding down. From just outside the red zone, Indianapolis opted to keep throwing the ball. Needless to say, the decision came back to bite them. After what probably should have been a pass interference penalty on Brandon Boykin caused Hilton to lose his footing, Andrew Luck fired the ball right into the gut of Malcolm Jenkins who secured the interception and breathed new life into the Eagles hopes.

After taking over on offense, the Eagles were gifted a ‘Fletcher Cox Karma’ flag in the form of a horse-collar penalty on LaRon Landry after he tackled McCoy for a significant loss on 2nd down. Landry, much like Cox the week prior, clearly did not reach into the shoulder pad area but instead dragged McCoy down by his jersey. Nevertheless, the Eagles were given a first down and made the most of it. Two plays after the penalty, Foles his Sproles with a perfectly executed screen. The bite-size back followed his blockers to perfection and provided the necessary burst at the end. 51 yards later, the Eagles found themselves with a first and goal from the Colts 6 yard line. Foles would hit Jeremy Maclin who scored his 2nd touchdown of the season on the very next play, and the game was tied once again, this time at 27.

Many felt, myself included, that Andrew Luck was going to lead his 13th career game-winning drive and ride off into the sunset having saved his team’s skin yet again. That would not be the case Monday night. As they were able to for most of the game, the Eagles front pressured Luck into a bad throw on 3rd and 5 to force a Colts punt. Despite throwing three touchdown passes, Luck did not have a great game. He completed 20 of 34 passes for just 172 yards. The Eagles heavy blitzing up the middle constantly moved the quarterback off his spot and forced him to make some uncomfortable looking throws. Credit to Billy Davis’ unit for sticking with their plan to pressure Luck throughout.

So the Eagles, with a winded Colts defense providing the only resistance, had just under two minutes to secure their 2nd straight comeback win. Foles connected with Ertz for a 24 yard completion to move into Colts territory on 1st down. One last time, Foles hit Sproles with a designed screen play to the right side. The 17 yards gained on the play was sufficient enough to have Chip Kelly take the remaining time off of the clock and set the stage for his rookie kicker to beat the team that traded him.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

After missing from 38 yards out earlier in the game, it was hard to be too confident about Cody Parkey in easily the highest pressure situation of his career. With three seconds left, the entire game came down to him being able to put his earlier miss behind him. The kick went off without a hitch and Parkey sailed the ball through the uprights, apparently sealing the win. Unfortunately, with players already on the field for postgame pageantry, it became clear that Indianapolis had called a timeout in an attempt to ‘ice’ the young kicker. As a Philadelphia sports fan, I started gearing up for overtime assuming Parkey would HAVE to miss his next try. As has so rarely been the case in this lifetime, my skepticism was unwarranted. Parkey drilled the kick without a hitch and the Eagles escaped Lucas Oil Stadium with a 30-27 comeback win.

The Eagles have a short week to prepare to host a Washington football team that will be tough to get a grip on. Robert Griffin III’s ankle injury means Kirk Cousins will get the nod for Washington coming off an impressive showing in a win over the Jaguars. There are still issues needed to be worked out for the Eagles. Starting games in double-digit holes is a bad trend and depending on 2nd half comebacks is a recipe for failure. Darren Sproles, 7 receptions for 158 yards, won’t always be able to save the team’s skin the way he did on multiple occasions Monday night. Sunday’s game is a huge chance for Foles, who was far from perfect against the Colts, to incorporate more of the team’s weapons into the passing game and find a way to connect with his receivers on the outside. Not to take anything from the performance of Billy Davis’ unit as they buckled down for another strong 2nd half, but they will have to play the run better than they did against the Colts. Alfred Morris is a tremendous runner and has the ability to turn some of the runs that Richardson was picking up 6-8 yards into double-digit gains. Chip Kelly will have to figure out what’s causing the team issues in the red zone. Some of his play calls near the goal line were very questionable and kept the Eagles from putting up more points in the opening half.

That all being said, a win over a playoff team on the road is a huge accomplishment. The Eagles are the first team to ever start 2-0 after trailing by 14 or more points in both games. They lead the league in yards and points and have come nowhere close to playing a complete game. Starting off the division schedule with such a performance against Washington would go a long way as the Eagles look to build off their two-win start.