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Eagles-Bears Final Score: Ten things we learned from Philadelphia’s 10th win

Room for improvement.

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are now 10-1 in the 2017 NFL regular season schedule after defeating the Chicago Bears by a final score of 31 to 3 (recap here). Nine wins in a row! Here’s a look at everything we learned from this game.

1 - The Eagles continue to dominate their opponents

Another blowout victory. Ho-hum.

The Eagles did what they were supposed to do on Sunday: beat the crap out of a lesser opponent. It’s something they’ve been great at doing recently.

They’ve become so good that these kind of games are almost boring. In a good way, of course.

Again, it’s not just like the Eagles are merely beating bad teams. They’re obliterating them.

Here are some stats that put Philly’s dominance into context.

2 - The Eagles have the best celebrations in the NFL

Call me biased, but I don’t think there’s a more fun team in the NFL right now than the Philadelphia Eagles. Their celebrations are fantastic. Whether it’s the electric slide or bowling pins ... this group is very entertaining.

The celebrations also show that the players are genuinely having fun. This isn’t just a job for them.

The players also continue to celebrate as a team, which shows you the kind of chemistry this group has. Everyone is happy that the Eagles are winning, no matter who is scoring.

3 - There are some issues to clean up

In a way, it feels silly to have complaints after the Eagles’ third straight win of 28 points or more. But there were definitely some issues in this game that need to be fixed moving forward.

The most obvious problem: fumbles. Stop fumbling! LeGarrette Blount lost the ball after a big gain up the middle. Malcolm Jenkins lost control of his interception. Jay Ajayi got stripped near the goal-line. If that ball goes out of bounds in the end zone, it’s a touchback. Jay Train was lucky Nelson Agholor was there to save it. And then a botched handoff to Blount near the end of the game (fumble officially credited to Nick Foles). It looked like Zach Ertz even lost control of the ball at one point but that one wasn’t offcially logged on the stat sheet.

It’s just too much. The ball security needs to be better.

“Yeah, I mean, it's unacceptable,” said Doug Pederson in his post-game press conference. “Can't do it. Can't do it. Not as much pride as our guys have; you can't put the ball on the ground like that. A little bit of this -- the guys have too much pride, obviously they know it. We've got to fix it. We'll address it this week, and [we’re] going on the road now for these next three games, so we've got to be able to take care of the ball.”

The fumbles weren’t the only issue. The Eagles also had FOUR false start penalties and FOUR offside/encroachment penalties. Three of the later came within the span of five plays. And the Eagles were playing at home, so it’s not like they were being thrown off by crowd noise. That’s just dumb and bad.

Special teams deserves some criticism as well. One of Jake Elliott’s kickoffs went out of bounds. That should never happen. Philly’s kickoff coverage allowed a 39-yard return by Tarik Cohen. Last week, Ryan Switzer opened the game with a 61-yard return. This needs to get cleaned up.

Fortunately for the Eagles, the Bears are so bad that they were unable to capitalize on Philly’s miscues. But that obviously won’t be the case every week. The margin for error decreases as the Eagles face higher quality opponents.

In a way, it’s nice to know the Eagles have some things to work on so that they don’t just start to take their foot off the gas after blowing some teams out. The coaching staff can stress that there’s room for improvement.

4 - The Carson Wentz to Alshon Jeffery connection is really heating up

Carson Wentz. He’s pretty good!

Just how good is he, though?

So it’s only his second season and he’s already in company with two of the best quarterbacks of all time. Whew.

Through 11 games this season, Wentz’s stat-line looks like this: 213/354 (60.2%), 2,657 yards (7.5 avg), 28 TD, 5 INT, 104.0 passer rating. Plus 253 rush yards. That’s 90 yards shy of 3,000 total yards of offense.

Not unlike the Eagles as a whole, Wentz didn’t even have his best day but he dominated the competition anyway.

Main complaints include some of the passes that were being sailed high. Some of his throws had the potential to be picked.

But when he’s playing so well for the most part, it’s easy to pick on the negatives because the goal is perfection. He still has some things to work on. In the meantime, he’ll continue to make breath-taking plays like that spin move to turn a blown-up screen into a first down.

An encouraging sign for Wentz’s progress moving down the stretch is his improved connection with Alshon Jeffery. The wideout had another solid outing, this time against his former team. Jeffery now has 17 receptions for 256 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games. Pretty good!

5 - Philadelphia finally has a 100-yard receiver

When it comes to single-game performances, the Eagles now have both one 100-yard rusher and one 100-yard receiver. Blount passed the cenutry mark in his game against the Chargers. He finished three yards shy against Chicago.

As for the receiving category, Zach Ertz hit that mark in the Eagles’ win over the Bears. It was a nice bounce-back game for Ertz after the tight end sat out in Week 9 and only had two receptions for eight yards last week. On 12 total targets, Ertz had 10 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. His Pro Bowl caliber season continues. Such a great weapon for Wentz in the middle of the field.

6 - Nelson Agholor is good

I really never thought I’d be saying this, but it’s true. Agholor is good.

The speed and athleticism he showed on his touchdown reception ... that’s the player the Eagles envisioned when they drafted him in 2015. Can you imagine Jordan Matthews doing that? The answer is no. Agholor is much more dangerous after the catch.

You also have to give it up to Agholor for recovering Ajayi’s fumble in the end zone. There’s some luck in recovering fumbles, sure, but Agholor put himself in position to make that play by making sure he held up his block for Ajayi to the fullest extent. Credit to him for not dogging it even though the team was up big.

7 - Jim Schwartz’s defense is dominant

The Bears didn’t even have a single first down in the first half. They were held to 140 yards on 49 total plays; a measly 2.9 yards per play. Mitchell Trubisky went 17/33 for 147 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, and a 38.3 passer rating. Chicago’s running backs combined for NEGATIVE SIX YARDS on 10 carries. The Bears only finished with a positive rushing number due to Trubisky’s 12 yards rushing. 11 of those came on a scramble in garbage time. The Eagles logged 6.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, five passes defensed, two sacks, and two picks. Philadelphia’s defense only allowed ONE touchdown in the month of November.

Can’t say enough about the work Jim Schwartz has done with his unit. He’s got them playing at a real high level. That Eagles defensive line continues to flat out dominate the blockers in front of them. Brandon Graham is a beast. So is Fletcher Cox. And Tim Jernigan. And Vinny Curry is making big run stops. And Derek Barnett and Chris Long contribute off the bench.

Coupling the Eagles’ high-scoring offense with a stingy defense makes it so tough for Philly to be beat.

8 - Eagles’ offensive line continues to have their way

The Eagles’ offensive line just continues to allow the offense to pretty much do whatever it wants. Wentz only got sacked once in this game. The big blockers up front paved the way for the team’s third straight 175 rushing performance. Many kudos to Jeff Stoutland for really getting the most out of his guys. Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson are all Pro Bowl level players. Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stefen Wisniewski aren’t as accomplished but they’re playing like good starters, at worst.

9 - The run game keeps rolling

Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ running backs:

LeGarrette Blount - 15 carries, 97 yards (6.5 average)

Corey Clement - 4 carries, 27 yards (6.8 average)

Jay Ajayi - 5 carries, 26 yards (5.2 average)

The offensive line is opening holes for these rushers and they’re taking advantage by running hard and making defenders miss and/or fighting through contact in the open field.

Ajayi’s explosiveness continues to be fun to watch. In three games with the Eagles, he has 20 carries for 194 yards and one touchdown. That’s a 9.7 average! Small sample size, obviously, but that shows the kind of big play threat Ajayi brings to this offense.

10 - The toughest test is here

The Eagles’ win means that Philly can officially clinch the NFC East as soon as Thursday if the Cowboys lose to Washington. Or, if Dallas wins, the Eagles can clinch with a win next Sunday.

Speaking of, the Eagles’ tallest task of the season now lies ahead. Philly is set to embark on a three-game road trip that features back-to-back games on the West Coast againt the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.

These teams are hardly unbeatable. Seattle has lost their last two at home. The Rams lost to the Vikings by 17 points just a week ago. But they’re both much better than the teams the Eagles have faced recently. Given the way the Eagles have been dominating their opponents, it’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles fare against quality teams on the road.

This is a big opportunity for the Birds to cement their status as the No. 1 seed in the NFC and potentially lock up home field advantage in the playoffs.

For more on the NFC playoff picture, [click here].

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