The Eagles still don’t have a true No. 1 receiver — Jordan Matthews feels more like an elite No. 2, if there is such a thing — so Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich have crafted game plans that are nearly Belicheck-ian in their diversity. They have certainly done a far better job finding Darren Sproles space to run than their predecessor, a noted offensive genius.
Pederson also hired Jim Schwartz, who has done what he does: light a defense on fire, then shove it onto the field. The Eagles have exactly one elite defensive player — defensive tackle Fletcher Cox — and a few very good ones. Sunday they embarrassed Ben Roethlisberger in a way that has rarely happened since his career began in 2004. He simply had nowhere to go, and one of the most dynamic offenses in the league stalled.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has been the story of the Philadelphia Eagles' season so far (maybe even the biggest story in the NFL), and deservedly so. What he has done in his first three games as a rookie is far beyond what anyone could have reasonably expected of him.
However, in the Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wentz was right to point out that a big part of his success has been due to the play of his offensive line.
“Obviously it’s bigger,” Wentz said. “There’s more of a media machine now. And you play against guys you’ve been watching since you were a kid. [Wentz was 11 the day the Steelers drafted Roethlisberger.] But it’s a game. Just a game. Just football. I’ve been playing it for a long time. My thought is, keep preparing. Prepare, and play the game we all love.”
It shouldn’t be happening this fast for the Eagles, coming up from 7-9 with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback from North Dakota State and a defense that needed a new leader. But it is, and there’s nothing fluky about it. The Eagles are legitimate deep-into-January contenders right now.
5 reasons the Eagles beat the Steelers - Daily News
Athletes love to say they don’t read the papers or listen to sports talk radio or pay attention to social media.
Which might occasionally be true. But even when it is, you can damn well bet somebody close to them – wife, girlfriend, father, brother, agent, posse member, personal nutritionist, car detailer, et. al – is keeping abreast of what’s being said and written and passing it on to the guy.
Eagles players are well aware that most people expected little from them this season. They know all about the grim 5-11 and 6-10 forecasts.
And like every team, they are using it as nobody-believed-in-us fuel. So, take a bow, Joe Cynic. You played a pivotal role in Sunday’s win.
“We knew what everybody was saying,’’ cornerback Nolan Carroll said after the game. “They were saying we beat two average teams (Cleveland and Chicago). Nobody really gave us a chance. We’re the only ones who gave ourselves a chance. We knew we had the ability to win.’’