This sure wasn’t a pretty one for the Birds. The vibes were not good for most of the day. It looked like the Eagles were really about to lose to Jeff Saturday and fall to 8-2.
But they did not!
Down six points with 4:37 remaining in the game, the Eagles badly needed a touchdown to lead for the first time. After struggling for way too long, the offense delivered. Jalen Hurts only completed one pass but he did draw a crucial defensive pass interference penalty down the field (albeit on an underthrown ball). Hurts also had some key runs, including a 4th-and-2 conversion and the go-ahead touchdown. From there, Jonathan Gannon’s much-maligned defense was able to come up big to prevent a game-winning field goal by the Colts.
The Eagles scored no style points with this win. They need to be much, MUCH better moving forward. A myriad of poor decisions by Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff made this game more close than it needed to be.
But the Birds will take it. They’re 9-1 and still atop the NFC playoff picture.
Next up for the Eagles is a home game on Sunday Night Football against a reeling Green Bay Packers squad.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage, including the BGN Radio postgame show!
- The Eagles won the coin toss (advancing to 9-1 on coin tosses this year) and elected to defer, as they usually do.
- Linval Joseph got the start at nose tackle with the Eagles in a five man front on the first snap. The Colts got to 3rd-and-6 and Matt Ryan beat a blitz by hitting a crossing Michael Pittman open over the middle for a catch-and-run into Eagles territory. Then Taylor broke off a 28-yard run. Then a 9-yard run. The Colts got to 3rd-and-1 and Jeff Saturday called a timeout on the Colts’ first drive for some reason. The Colts went with a sneak and got the first. Then Taylor found the end zone on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line. 10 plays, 75 yards, 5:23 off the clock. Colts picking up where the Washington Commanders left off from the first half of Monday night’s game. And scoring their first points on a first drive all season long. EAGLES 0, COLTS 7.
3rd and goal from the 1, Indianapolis puts 12 personnel on the field, and the Eagles match with 4-2-5 nickel.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 20, 2022
Jonathan, I am begging you.
- The Eagles’ first offensive play was a completion to A.J. Brown for 14 yards, doubling his yardage total from last week in one snap. The Eagles got to a 3rd-and-2 and Miles Sanders ran for the first ... only to be called back for a holding penalty by Grant Calcaterra. On 3rd-and-12, Jalen Hurts threw over the middle into traffic and DeVonta Smith couldn’t hold on to the tight window pass that hit his hands. Punt.
- T.J. Edwards made a nice open field tackle for loss on Taylor to knock the Colts’ offenses off schedule. But then Darius Slay allowed a slant to Pittman to bring up 3rd-and-1. On third down, Josiah Scott broke up Ryan’s quick pass to force a punt. Nice coverage. Also nice of the Colts to stop running the ball after it worked so well on their first drive. And to not go for it on fourth down.
---> PHI (0) @ IND (7) <---— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) November 20, 2022
IND has 4th & 1 at the IND 37
Recommendation (STRONG): Go for it (+3.3 WP)
Actual play: M.Haack punts 48 yards to PHI 15, Center-L.Rhodes, fair catch by B.Covey. pic.twitter.com/aY0fqnSksa
- Hurts hit Brown for a 29-yard completion. Then he took off running on a QB draw with Jason Kelce lead blocking to get into Colts territory. An ineligible man downfield penalty on Kelce knocked the Eagles back to 1st-and-15. Then a holding on Landon Dickerson knocked the Eagles back to midfield at 1st-and-25. Then Tyree Jackson got called for pass interference to get knocked back to 1st-and-35. Hurts climbed the pocket to deliver an accurate throw to DeVonta to bring up 3rd-and-11. On third down, Hurts tried to run but stepped up into a sack instead. If he got rid of the ball, the Eagles could’ve had a chance at a long field goal attempt. Instead, punt. One could also wonder why the Eagles didn’t make a better effort to set up a shorter fourth down situation instead of trying to get it all on third down.
- The Colts took over at their own 10-yard line. My first thought: 18 play, 90-yard touchdown driving incoming. The Colts picked up a first down but got set back to 2nd-and-17 with a holding penalty. On 3rd-and-11, the Eagles brought a blitz and James Bradberry was able to make an open field tackle to force a punt. My first thought was wrong ... in part because the penalty took away Indy’s ability to run.
- The Eagles took over at their own 42-yard line. No good reason to not get points on this drive. The Eagles picked up a first down and then Hurts took a shot to Smith down the right sideline. Smith couldn’t come down with the ball ... would’ve been a tough play to make even if he was able to hold on. A screen to Boston Scott (!) set up 3rd-and-5. On third down, Hurts immediately decided to keep and made a cut to pick up the first down himself. Critical conversion. Hurts floated another pass to Brown down the field on a double move but Stephon Gilmore didn’t bite and the ball came out too soon any. Fortunately it wasn’t more inbounds or it could’ve been an easy pick for the defense. Hurts hit Quez Watkins short of the sticks but the receiver had room to pick up the first. Hurts then ran for 12 yards to set up 1st-and-goal. On 2nd-and-goal, Kelce’s snap was too high and that forced Hurts to take a sack. On 3rd-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Hurts ran to bring up 4th-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Nick Sirianni opted for a 22-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. Should’ve gone for seven. EAGLES 3, COLTS 7.
- The Eagles gave up a first down with Josh Sweat dropping into coverage, unable to stick with Mo Alie-Cox. The Colts had a screen wiped out by an ineligible man downfield. On 3rd-and-8, Sweat rushed and pressured Ryan into an incompletion. It’s almost like he should be rushing into of covering.
3rd and 8 with instant pressure by Josh Sweat. Nice move to get inside the LT and force and incompletion. pic.twitter.com/rSMGPf7CX1— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) November 20, 2022
- Sanders got stuffed in the backfield to bring up 3rd-and-2. The Eagles ran again and were stopped for a loss again. The blocking was bad for any running back, but, why is Kenneth Gainwell the guy to go to on a crucial third down conversion? How is that their best option? In a 13-personnel look with three backup tight ends? Dumb. Even if it was a bad read by Hurts, why is that an option at all? The Eagles’ special teams unit had a false start and then punted and allowed a 17-yard return. Michael Clay’s unit continues to be a detriment.
Eagles just went three and out with A.J. Brown standing on the sidelines for all three plays.— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) November 20, 2022
Every snap the Eagles use 13 personnel to run the football is a waste. The entire motor behind their excellent running game is Hurts creating a running game from the spread/gun!— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 20, 2022
When you put 3 non-Goedert TEs on the field, you're telling the defense "we aren't throwing"
- The Colts took over at their own 45-yard line. Sweat nearly strip-sacked Ryan but he somehow got the throw off for a first down. T.J. Edwards made another great tackle for loss by sniffing out a throw in the backfield. On 3rd-and-7, Ryan threw short of the sticks along the sideline to set up a 51-yard field goal. The Colts’ kicker made it. EAGLES 3, COLTS 10.
- The Eagles took a knee to end a disappointing first half.
- The Eagles attempted to scheme up a big shot downfield but Yannick Ngakoue was able to get to Hurts from behind for a strip-sack that was recovered by the Colts. Awful start to the second half! Maybe don’t rely on Miles Sanders to block Ngakoue?! So many dumb coaching decisions.
What a start to the half. If you are going to run a play that long developing then maybe don’t have a RB responsible for the DE in pass protection. pic.twitter.com/RMFXlNyvtz— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) November 20, 2022
That’s not on Sanders’ blocking. That’s on the play design and the fact that they ran it knowing Sanders would be responsible for a DE. If you’re relying on an RB to block a DE for over a second while the pattern develops, that’s really, really bad coaching.— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) November 20, 2022
- The Colts took over at the Eagles’ 22-yard line. The Colts got to 3rd-and-5 and Ryan threw to Parris Campbell, who was open for a first down catch but couldn’t hold on to the ball as Josiah Scott contacted him. But the refs somehow ruled it a catch and fumble out of bounds, forcing the Eagles to burn a challenge on a ruling that should have been obvious in the moment. The Colts settled for a field goal to get three points off of Philly’s turnover. EAGLES 3, COLTS 13.
- Hurts to DeVonta on a comeback resulted in a 24-yard gain. Nice anticipatory throw with timing. Colts starting cornerback Isaiah Rodgers came out due to injury after that play. The offense got set back with a holding call on Lane Johnson. At least the second time in this game that that happened with Hurts holding on to the ball for a long time. The Eagles converted with two more comeback balls to Smith. Sanders had space to work with after making a catch in the flat and somehow only managed to pick up a yard, unable to make any defenders miss. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-9 and Scott caught a short pass for a 1-yard loss, tackle by old friend Rodney McLeod. Odd that Hurts missed Brown on the play.
I was so sure AJ Brown was getting the ball here pic.twitter.com/pv1iwwL02l— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) November 20, 2022
Sirianni went for it on 4th-and-10 from the Colts’ 39-yard line and Hurts initially escaped pressure to run left ... and take a sack by being pushed out of bounds for a turnover on downs. Awful to not even give anyone downfield a chance to make a play. Not sure why the Eagles are going for it there but not from 4th-and-goal at the 4-yard line earlier. No consistency.
- Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh combined for a sack on Matt Ryan. Shout out to the new guys. The Colts ultimately got set back to 3rd-and-19 with a holding penalty. They had to punt. Credit to Gannon’s unit for rebounding after a bad start.
- The Eagles took over at their own 5-yard line. They went three-and-out with three straight runs against the NFL’s second-best run defense that was missing one of their starting corners.
Well, they did this for the whole drive, and Hurts just didn't pull a very clear pull read on the 3rd and 2 read option.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 20, 2022
Hurts is throwing the ball well today, but this is a very tough game in terms of decision making. Mistakes all over.
- The Colts took over at their own 45-yard line. Ryan found Pittman wide open in a soft spot for a 2nd-and-13 conversion. C.J. Gardner-Johnson made a really nice stop in the backfield for a TFL on Taylor. After the edge rush forced Ryan to set up in the pocket, Milton Williams was able to trip up the QB for a sack to bring up 3rd-and-14. Ryan’s third down throw was pretty off target. The Colts attempted a 50-yard field goal and it was ... no good.
Reed Blankenship has been the 6th DB in Eagles dime personnel, not K'Von Wallace anymore.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) November 20, 2022
- The Eagles badly needed a touchdown drive. The offense oddly let the clock expire with 17 seconds to work with as they were down 10 points. Forget what is basically always a totally ineffective attempt to draw the opponent offside, go run another play.
- Hurts ran a circle in the pocket before taking off running for a 23-yard gain. Result probably better than the process there. On 2nd-and-10, Hurts sat in a clean pocket and delivered a good throw to Quez for the Eagles’ first touchdown. Nice job by the offense. Turning the corner moment? EAGLES 10, COLTS 13.
- The Colts moved the chains with Pittman wide open in the middle of the field for a 16-yard gain. The Colts got to 3rd-and-1 and ran the ball for a first with the pile continuing to be pushed ... until Marcus Epps ripped the ball out and Edwards recovered! Huge takeaway.
- The Eagles took over at their own 43-yard line. Hurts immediately took off running for a first down into Colts territory. Hurts ran again and slid for a 6-yard gain. Then Hurts found Brown for a first down ... and the receiver fumbled for the first time since 2020 for a Colts recovery. Talk about a momentum killer. Brown had the ball punched out as he was fighting to get more yards.
- On 3rd-and-11, Ryan was able to find rookie Alex Pierce over the middle with Slay trailing. The Colts got to 3rd-and-3 and Ryan floated a ball to Campbell for a first down at the 5-yard line, 31-yard gain. On 3rd-and-goal, Haason Reddick was able to come up with a BIG sack to force a field goal. Reddick got his hands on Ryan’s facemask as he was bringing the quarterback down ... but no call. Make up call from last week, obviously. The Colts made their 37-yard field goal attempt. EAGLES 10, COLTS 16.
Haasan Reddick with a huge sack to force a FG attempt from Indy! pic.twitter.com/GdoMkB8cEM— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) November 20, 2022
- The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 4:37 on the clock. Huge drive for Hurts to further establish himself as a franchise quarterback worthy of a huge contract extension. Hurts to Brown on a curl set up a 3rd-and-2. On third down, Hurts had a clean pocket and eventually took a deep shot down the field to Sanders, who got tackled by Zaire Franklin before the ball arrived. Obvious DPI call for a 39-yard gain. Two straight Sanders runs gave the Eagles a first down in the red zone. Then it was Scott who took three straight carries to bring up 4th-and-2. The same Scott who had two carries in the Eagles’ past two games combined. The Eagles lined up in a sneak formation despite not being close for a sneak ... but it was just an attempt to get the Colts to jump offsides. They called a timeout and then had Hurts line up in the gun on fourth down. Hurts took the snap and sidestepped a defender to push past the marker. Huge. Sanders ran for a two-yard gain to force the Colts to take their first timeout. Then Hurts faked a handoff and kept the ball only to get tackled in the backfield for a loss. The Colts called their second timeout. On 3rd-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Hurts was in the gun again but immediately took off running into a totally vacated middle of the field for one of the easiest touchdowns you’ll ever see. Huge drive by Hurts and the offense. EAGLES 17, COLTS 16.
Eagles potentially escaping an ugly game with a win in a tight NFC East race: good.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 20, 2022
But man, Hurts had a throwaway, a deep underthrow into DPI, and one completion on that drive. Eagles called runs all the way down the field.
No trust in Hurts as a thrower on that drive.
- The Colts took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:20 left in the game and one timeout to work with. Ryan completed a pass to Campbell to get to their own 39-yard line. Another completion only went for one yard but it stopped the clock. Gannon brought a blitzing Edwards and the Eagles pressured Ryan into a completion to set up 3rd-and-9. On third down, Brandon Graham sacked Ryan from behind to set up 4th-and-16. BIG sack by BLG. Then the Colts false started to bring up 4th-and-21. On fourth down, Ryan completed a short pass for a 5-yard gain out of bounds. Game!
- Victory formation to advance to 9-1.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES WIN, 17 to 16
- Boston Scott, not Britain Covey, was back for the Eagles’ first kickoff return.
- No injuries to note.
It’s an important spot for the Birds. They need to prove they can bounce back.
The offense needs to have a much cleaner game than last week after turning the ball over four times. With the Colts stout against the run, the pressure is on Jalen Hurts to make plays with his arm. And to be able to do it without Dallas Goedert in the lineup.
The defense needs to be able to prevent Jonathan Taylor from running wild and helping the Colts control the clock. The Eagles are hoping the additions of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh will help Jonathan Gannon’s unit.
Bleeding Green Nation will be covering this game with live updates in the form of highlights, commentary, analysis, etc. Make sure to follow along and refresh the page often.
(NOTE: This is NOT a game thread; it’s a live blog that will turn into a game recap. Use BGN’s designated game threads for each quarter to discuss in-game happenings. The first quarter thread is HERE.)