With each passing week, it’s becoming clearer this is a pretty special Eagles team.
After a come-from-behind, grind-it-out 29-21 win over Doug Pederson’s Jacksonville Jaguars at soggy Lincoln Financial Field yesterday, the Birds found yet another way to win. In winning their first three games of the season, Nick Sirianni’s group hadn’t faced the kind of early adversity confronting them after the Jags took a blink-if-you-missed-it, 14-0 lead.
But yesterday, with injuries to key players mounting, the temperatures in the 50s and the winds whipping, Jalen Hurts, his offensive mates and the defense ran roughshod over Jacksonville to the tune of 401 yards of total offense, including 204 on the ground against the No. 1 ranked run defense in the NFL.
The Eagles are the league’s last undefeated team, and each week, different heroes have led the way.
Their season-opening 38-35 win over the Lions in Detroit was their highest-scoring offensive performance of the season, with 455 yards of offense and an incredible 243 on the ground. It was Hurts’ best game running the football, 90 yards rushing on 17 attempts and a touchdown. But as much as anything else, it was the coming out party for A.J. Brown, who hauled in 10 of 13 targets for 155 yards, including a 54-yard bomb.
Here are all 10 of A.J. Brown’s receptions in his debut with the Eagles against the Lions in Week 1: pic.twitter.com/1cMHgpjjOp— DiBirds (@DiBirdsBlog) September 12, 2022
The defense struggled out of the gate with tackling issues, but did have one splash play, a Pick-6 from new No. 2 cornerback, James Bradberry.
OFFENSE: A.J. Brown, Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders
DEFENSE: James Bradberry
The Jalen Hurts coming out party, Monday Night dominance of the Vikings surprised everyone and put the rest of the NFL on notice — this isn’t the same Hurts you’ve gotten to know so far.
His performance was breathtaking, completing balls all over the field to eight different receivers and throwing for 333 yards with one passing TDs and two more on the ground. Just five of his passes weren’t completed, one of them an interception that wasn’t his fault. Four Birds receivers (Dallas Goedert, DeVonta Smith, Brown and Quez Watkins) were all over 69 yards.
Defensively, Jonathan Gannon’s crew bounced back from a rough Week 1 by dominating Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, with Darius Slay having the game of his life.
That goal line pick was the first of two he would have on the night, the second also in his own end zone, thwarting a Minnesota drive late in the 4th quarter.
Darius Slay vs Justin Jefferson tonight:— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2022
1 catch allowed
0.0 passer rating allowed pic.twitter.com/fINrs3rQ48
OFFENSE: Jalen Hurts
DEFENSE: Darius Slay
Against the Lions, wideout DeVonta Smith was shut out. In Week 3, he was everywhere. Targeted 12 times, Smith caught 8 passes for 169 yards (154 in the first half) with a score as Hurts threw for another 340 yards and 3 TDs, as the Eagles went with a pass-heavy attack in their dominating 24-7 win over Washington.
Just look at some of these catches.
Brown once again found the end zone, with 85 yards on five catches.
Defensively, it was the defensive line’s time to shine, with nine sacks on Carson Wentz, seven of them coming without a blitz.
The Commanders' OL and QB share blame for the sacks today (Sam Cosmi didn't have his best game) ... but here are all 9 of them if you want to relive that experience: pic.twitter.com/8N2rOt3U35— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 26, 2022
Brandon Graham, who you may have heard is 34 years old right now, piled up 2.5 sacks, while newcomer Haason Reddick, Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat each added 1.5. It was reminiscent of those Buddy Ryan D-line performances of yore.
OFFENSE: DeVonta Smith
DEFENSE: Defensive Line
On Sunday, it was the Miles Sanders show. The fourth-year running back had the game of his life, toting the rock 27 times for a career-best 134 yards and 2 TDs, with another 2 catches for 22 yards on top of it. He ran north-and-south, bullying his way for tough yards thanks to an eager offensive line.
THIS IS THE MILES SANDERS GAME! pic.twitter.com/OrP3wyqVt0— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) October 2, 2022
Sanders is up to 356 yards in four games, on pace for 1,513 yards.
On defense, it was Haason Redick’s turn to shine, with two strip sacks of Jags QB Trevor Lawrence, one that thwarted a scoring drive, and another to ice the game under two minutes.
Haason Reddick huge game— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 2, 2022
Eagles get 5 takeaways
Bradberry also had a key interception in the 3rd quarter, halting a Jacksonville scoring drive inside their red zone. The defensive line also held Jacksonville to just 71 yards rushing on the day.
OFFENSE: Miles Sanders
DEFENSE: Haason Reddick
Very good teams have a multitude of players who can step up each week and contribute, and while Hurts will always need to play a major role in any victory, it’s encouraging to see the many different names and players who are stepping up around him through the season’s first month.