Jake Elliott makes most of homefield advantage at the Linc originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Jake Elliott said his 59-yard field goal to force overtime on Sunday was probably the toughest kick he’s made in his NFL career.
It helped that it came at home.
Because Elliott is in his seventh season with the Eagles and Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win against the Bills was his 59th career game kicking at Lincoln Financial Field. As special teams coordinator Michael Clay explained on Tuesday, there’s a definite advantage in that.
“There are certain keys in Lincoln Financial that will tell you what the wind is doing more than what the flags on the post are doing,” Clay said. “So that’s kind of a home field advantage. And it was just an opportunity for us to say, ‘hey, all right, you’ve got a little wind, don’t overcompensate for it, let it travel where it’s going to go.’
“He did a great job. He understood where he wanted to go. They hit that timeout. He went into the net. He never changed his process from what he does regardless of if it’s a 42-yarder or 59-yarder. So being able to be comfortable in those settings really kind of helps ease the jitters or the adrenaline going into that kick.”
Clay, of course, declined to divulge those other keys for reading the wind, but a lot of thought goes into it. And Elliott after the game said that 59 yards was a little out of the range they went into the game feeling comfortable with.
But it wasn’t like the Eagles had much of a choice either. When they lined up for that 59-yarder in the rain, they were facing a 4th-and-17 with 20 seconds left. You gotta at least give Elliott a chance and the Eagles’ star kicker came through.
“The range is usually when Coach (Nick) Sirianni says, ‘you think you can get it?’ and we have full confidence in Jake getting it done for the most part,” Clay said.
“Obviously in that situation, things always change. Special teams is never black and white. It’s always a gray area. You always try to play within the game, and a 59-yarder in those conditions, there’s not much — not like we had an option to do on fourth-and-whatever in that situation.”
Elliott is now an incredible 6 for 7 on 50+ yard attempts this season. And Elliott is now 3-for-3 on kicks from 59+ in his NFL career.
Clay made sure to point out that it wasn’t all Elliott either. The play started with a perfect snap from long snapper Rick Lovato and a great hold from punter Braden Mann. It might seem simple but given the conditions, neither of those things were given.
The offensive line blocked it up and then Elliott delivered a low line-drive of a boot that didn’t get caught up in any of the wind. Typically, that end of the end stadium (the open end) is the tougher of the two.
But Elliott has made a lot of kicks in a lot of conditions at the Linc.
“Lincoln Financial, it’s a tough stadium to kick in regardless of if it’s raining,” Clay said. “Fortunate for us, I think the wind kind of shifted halfway through the third quarter and he kind of felt that on his face on one of those kicks. He was like, ‘man, this wind’ — it was a northeast wind for the majority of the game. It kind of flipped on us. Fortunate for us that helped get us a little more wind.”