It wasn't a perfect game, but there's a lot for Eagles' fans to be excited about after a gritty win on the road.
Let's start with the defense. It was shaky in the early moments. We stiffened in the red zone but struggled to stop them early. And then? For the rest of the game we were dominant, and I am somewhat at a loss to explain why. I am interested in watching the all 22 to see if we did anything different scheme wise or if we simply started playing better.
Maddox was our leading tackler, which was surprising, but also a huge upgrade from the play we got from our slot corners last year. I don't recall a really bad play by him all game long. It is important to note that in a cover two, the slot corner is going to make a lot of tackles, and if he doesn't, the defense is in trouble.
Eric Wilson had a rough start to the game, but finished with nine total tackles, the same as Maddox. I was surprised that Josh Sweat had six tackles as I only remember him on one play, but that is pretty impressive for a defensive end. Hargrave and Hassan Ridgeway were absolute beasts, and I think a lot of our success was because the defensive line took over the game.
Losing Epps was a blow, but Wallace seemed fine. A lot of success of safeties in a cover 2 defense goes unnoticed since they are preventing big plays. It will be interesting to see how they did on the back end as Ryan is a qb who can find open receivers. So the fact that we shut him down for most of the game was encouraging.
On offense, Hurts wasn't perfect, but he was exactly who we needed him to be. He didn't have any turnovers, he made the passes he needed to make and created plays with his legs. We have to be excited about our trio of Smith, Watkins and Reagor. The ball was spread around pretty well, and we finally had a game plan that made sense.
Overall, we have to be excited. Is Jalen Hurts the best qb in the league? No. Did he play like a top-15, top-20 quarterback today? I think so. More importantly, the defense was scary good against an offense that isn't as bad as we made it look. And there's a lot to be said for a team with a really good defense to have a quarterback who doesn't make mistakes. Moe importantly, our coaches showed they weren't overwhelmed. Whatever adjustment we made after the first two drives, it worked to shut down their offense. And on offense, we had a game plan that never put us in really bad position. Clearly the Falcons have a bad defense, but Hurts completed 77 percent of his passes, which is impressive regardless of whom the opponent is. I think that was a product of the scheme and Hurts taking what they were giving him. It will get tougher from here on out, but there's a lot to build on.
It's a good day to be an Eagles fan. Let's hope they can keep rolling.