HomeDa Birds NewsJake Elliott, Eagles Kicker, Discusses Thriving in Critical Moments: "I've Always Succeeded"

Jake Elliott, Eagles Kicker, Discusses Thriving in Critical Moments: “I’ve Always Succeeded”

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PHILADELPHIA – Jake Elliott is one heck of a golfer, playing two a handicap around 2, and he’s one of the NFL’s best kickers, if not the very best.

It’s a good thing he knows how to wield a 3-iron, though, because that’s what it looked like he used on a 59-yard field goal with 20 seconds left to send the Philadelphia Eagles into overtime against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday evening in the gloom and rain.

The Eagles won it in overtime, 37-34, when Jalen Hurts scooted 12 yards for a touchdown with 2:37 left.

Of course, it wasn’t a golf club at all that sent the Eagles to OT and set up Hurts’ heroics, but Elliott’s mighty right foot that nailed one of the toughest kicks he’s ever had to make.

It wasn’t the pressure of the situation that made it one of the most difficult makes he’s had in a career that just keeps getting better year after year, but the weather.

Rain hammered the grass all night long at Lincoln Financial Field. The wind was in your face one minute, then at your back the next. It was swirling.

“I think that was probably, given the conditions and everything, that was probably the toughest one I’ve had to hit, but I don’t think I can rank it quite yet,” he said.

Elliott has made some big ones. His 46-yard kick in Super Bowl LVII, which put the Eagles ahead 41-33 over the New England Patriots with 1:05 left in the game, he ranked as his best.

At No. 2 for him was the 61-yard make as time expired against the New York Giants earlier in that Super Bowl-winning season and is third-ranked kick was the 54-yard connection he had to beat the Washington Commanders in an overtime game this season on Oct. 1.

Teammate Jason Kelce didn’t make things easier for his kicker this time, however.

The center cost the Eagles 10 yards of field position with two false start penalties, the second of which pushed the ball back to the 41.

What happened there?

“Well, it’s loud, and they were blitzing a lot in the two-minute, and I was trying to direct the protections, get everything picked up, and when you do that, and it’s loud, you get fidgety,” he said. “That’s one thing obviously we have to get cleaned up. It’s been a problem here before; we have a loud fan base getting into the game.

“Unfortunately, when you’re up at the line, the snap count sometimes gets taken for granted and is kind of an afterthought. Sometimes when that gets delayed and the crowd is loud and you can’t hear, you’re prone to mistakes. Obviously not good.”

Jake Elliott after tying the game at 31-31 with an improbable 59-yard field goal in wind and rain with 20 seconds left in regulation, allowed the Eagles to beat the Buffalo Bills in OT, 37-34.

Ed Kracz/SI Eagles Today

Elliott still delivered and is now the Eagles’ all-time leader in 50-yard-plus field goals with 26. He has made all six of his kicks from 50 and beyond this season, which is his single-season career high, and he is 8-for-8 in field goals with under two minutes left in regulation or OT on kicks that can win or tie a game.

Asked what it is about those sorts of clutch performances, Elliott said, “I don’t have an answer for you there. I think those are the kind of situations I’ve always thrived in going back to high school and through college I feel I’ve been put in those situations quite a bit. For whatever reason, I really like those situations. I feel an extra boost of confidence.”

To make this one, Elliott knew he had to keep the ball low to keep it out of the crosswinds sweeping across the Linc.

“I definitely needed to drive it in order to get it there, so took a little air out of it,” he said.

During a pregame team meeting on Saturday, Nick Sirianni showed a clip of Elliott’s game-winner against the Commanders.

“We went through the room and talked to everybody about the contribution,” said the head coach. “I couldn’t hit everybody. I hit about 25 guys about the contribution that they’re going to have to make for us to win this game.

“One thing I said to Jake was, ‘We’re going to need your clutch contribution.’ Nobody else we’d rather have in the world than Jake Elliott kicking a field goal in that. He was clutch.”

Related: Eagles vs. Bills Notebook: Winning Habits, Jake the Make, & Tenure

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