Sullivan gets a chance as Eagles keep hope alive
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. The defending Super Bowl champions, whose 2018 season hasn’t been one to toast with a Philly cheese steak sandwich and a cold beer.
But the injury-depleted Eagles are still in contention in the mediocre East Division of the NFC, where both Washington and Dallas lead the way with their bloody 6-5 records, and the much-stained Eagles are now 5-6 after surviving against the Giants last Sunday.
Once trailing the Giants, 19-3, in the first half, the Eagles were yielding yardage like it was out-of-date produce, before spending a second half chasing and catching New York quarterback Eli Manning, and making running back Saquon Barkley a rarely-seen afterthought.
In the much-patched Philadelphia defensive secondary was former Shepherd safety Tre Sullivan, now in his second season with the Eagles.
Sullivan and three others in the secondary were replacements for players who missed the game.
The Giants scored only three points in the second half, while Philadelphia painstakingly made its inches-at-time comeback.
It was Sullivan’s seventh game of the season. Previously playing almost exclusively on special teams, Sullivan had made one tackle before Sunday, where he was credited with another stop.
Sullivan and company see Washington next and follow the divisional game with one against Dallas, now the owner of three-straight wins, since stalling with a 3-6 record only about a month ago. The Washington game is in Philadelphia at sometimes-fanatical Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles still trail both Washington and Dallas by one game, with only five left to play. Their below .500 record makes reaching the playoffs through the wild card route a slim possibility.
If the recurring spate of injuries continues in Philadelphia, Sullivan would once again receive playing time with the team’s defense.
Another former Shepherd player now in Philadelphia, whose last season in Shepherdstown was in 2016 like Sullivan’s, is tight end Billy Brown. Like Sullivan, Brown was undrafted, but was placed on the Eagles’ practice squad for all of the 2017 season. Again here in 2018, Brown is once more on the team’s practice squad, and has not been activated for any of the 11 regular season games.
Sullivan and the Eagles are bailing the water brought on by injuries. The dwindling schedule is against them. And the competition is stronger than the Giants. But they aren’t finished just yet. And stranger things have happened in the always-changing NFL.