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Last-minute Jaxon Smith-Njigba touchdown stuns ailing Eagles in damaging loss to Seahawks

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — Jaxon Smith-Njigba snatched a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of Monday Night Football as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-17 at Lumen Field in Seattle.

Smith-Njigba’s diving catch in the end zone with 28 seconds remaining completed a remarkable comeback led by backup quarterback Drew Lock who led a 10-play, 92-yard drive which resulted in the game-winner.

According to the NFL, the game-clinching drive was only the second game-winning touchdown drive of 90-plus yards in the last two minutes of a game by Seattle since head coach Pete Carroll took over in 2010.

While it is a memorable victory for Seattle, and in particular Lock, it was a damaging loss for the Eagles, whose late-season slump is seeing their Super Bowl aspirations slip away.

Monday’s defeat was the team’s third in a row and, although its spot in the playoffs is already secured, Philadelphia is sputtering to the finish line rather than racing towards it.

The offense has failed to score more than 19 points during the losing streak, with mistakes slipping into the game of the typically unflappable Jalen Hurts; these inconsistencies were epitomized during Monday’s game with dynamic scoring drives broken up with stalling, faltering attempts where Philadelphia looked out of sorts.

Hurts finished Monday’s game with no touchdown passes and two interceptions – the second of which came in the final seconds via Julian Love to seal the result – although he did run for two scores.

The Eagles defense, which has been elite over the last few years, also has fallen away – as evidenced by its inability to stop Lock on the game-winning drive – although it did show signs of regrouping on Monday night after head coach Nick Sirianni stripped defensive play-calling responsibilities away from defensive coordinator Sean Desai and handed them to senior assistant and former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

But in the end, they couldn’t make the decisive play to stop Lock and the Seahawks offense and, as a result, the Eagles slip to 10-4 on the season and into fifth in the NFC playoff standings. They have the same record as their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, and sit a game behind the No. 1-seeded San Francisco 49ers.

Afterwards, Hurts explained that it will take a team-wide effort to get their season back on track, but that as the team’s quarterback, a lot of the responsibility lies with him.

“Everybody has a role in it. I know it starts with me. Got to pick ourselves out of this,” Hurts told reporters. “Ain’t really too fond of ‘You practice the same habits, you’re getting the same results.’

“We have to make an internal change in how we attack things, how we come to work every day. Starts with the little things, how committed we are to what we’re doing, and that all starts with me: the quarterback. So it’s a challenge that I’m embracing, I have embraced.

“As tough as these times are, I still see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a matter of believing. This one hurts. Hurts bad just knowing the opportunities we had out there. So now what? How do we attack the future? How do we attack what’s in front of us? We still have an opportunity to do something special. We got to clean a lot of things up though to do what we want to do.”

‘Amazing won’t do it justice’

While it was a damaging loss for the Eagles, it was a memorable moment for Lock.

The 27-year-old – who was traded to Seattle as part of the mega-deal which saw Russell Wilson go to the Denver Broncos – has spent most of his time as a Seahawk sitting on the bench behind starter Geno Smith.

However, when Smith was ruled out midway through the game with a groin injury, Lock stepped in and took his opportunity to shine.

“Amazing won’t do it justice,” Lock told ESPN after the game about the game-winning touchdown drive. “But amazing also doesn’t do justice what the O-line, what DK (Metcalf) did on that catch, what the receivers did, what Ken Walker, Zach Charbonnet, all game long. The tight ends.

“It takes a special group to rally around a guy that’s coming into his second game of the year, right? Used to the same thing all year long. Same cadence. Same spin on the ball. Everything. A team like that – not just the offense – the defense to rally around me tonight. That was amazing.”

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