The Eagles are 10-1 after beating the Green Bay Packers! Time to hand out some winners, losers, and IDKs.
A historic night for the NFL MVP candidate.
Hurts broke the Eagles’ franchise record for single-game quarterback rushing yards with 157. The previous mark was held by Michael Vick, who had 130 during the Miracle at the New Meadowlands game in 2010.
Hurts’ rushing production came in important spots, too. Take the first drive for example. First third down of the game, it’s 3rd-and-10. Things break down and Hurts takes off running for a 24-yard gain. Most quarterbacks would’ve slid as soon as they got past the marker, assuming they would even be able to get to that point. But not Hurts, who realized he was able to cut back for an even bigger gain. Later that drive, the Eagles face 3rd-and-6 from the Packers’ 38-yard line. He breaks a 28-yard line to set the offense up at 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line. 52 rushing yards on the first drive alone to start the Eagles off strong with a touchdown lead. Hurts set the tone for a big night for the offense.
All told, 10 of his 17 rushes went for first downs.
But it wasn’t like Hurts had to rely on his legs. He made some pretty good throws when he needed to. The back-shoulder touchdown throw to Quez Watkins obviously sticks out. That was a dime. A more underrated play to come out of this game was when he threw into a tight window just over the head of a linebacker to connect with DeVonta Smith for a 14-yard gain on 3rd-and-12 to set up goal-to-go at the 5-yard line. The Eagles then scored a touchdown to take a 14-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Between his passing and rushing yardage combined, Hurts directly accounted for 58.8% of the offense. He indirectly accounted for even more production when one considers how the threat of his mobility benefits the Eagles’ running backs.
After only putting up 17 points in Indy last week, the Eagles bounced back in a big way to serve a 40 burger. And Hurts was a big reason behind the resurgence.
Once a very big skeptic, I am now a believer: Jalen Hurts is the Eagles’ franchise quarterback. This performance further cemented what’s been apparent since early on in the season.
Jalen Hurts is the only QB in NFL history in his first 30 starts with:— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 28, 2022
6,500+ passing yds
1,500+ rushing yds
Jalen Hurts has averaged 54.3 rushing YPG & has a 105.6 passer rating in 2022— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) November 28, 2022
- The only other QB in NFL history to average 50+ rushing YPG & have a 105+ passer rating in a season was Lamar Jackson in 2019 (unanimous NFL MVP)
Sanders set a new single-game career high in rushing with 143 yards on 21 carries for a 6.8 average to go along with two touchdowns. Sanders has now found the end zone eight times this season after failing to do so a single time last year.
This wasn’t just Sanders’ best game as a rusher from a volume perspective. Aesthetically, he looked better than ever out there. Whereas he can sometimes create frustration by not maximizing his yardage potential on a given play, it felt like Sanders did not leave meat on the bone in this game.
He ran hard, powering his way for 4.52 yards after contact per attempt (per Pro Football Focus). For perspective, Tony Pollard leads the NFL in that category this season with 4.06.
He eluded defenders, forcing six total missed tackles. For perspective, Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb lead the league in forced missed tackles per game with 5.8 and 5.6, respectively.
This was an excellent performance. It’s obviously not realistic to expect this kind of production week in and week out but it would be nice to see it more often since we know he has the ability.
When the Eagles rush for their highest single-game total in 74 years, the team’s “run game coordinator” probably deserves some credit.
Stoutland is arguably the best assistant coach in the NFL. It would be nice to see the award voters finally recognize him as such.
Most rushing yards in a game in Eagles history:— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 28, 2022
376 vs. Washington, 1948
363 vs. Green Bay, tonight
331 vs. Washington, 1949
308 vs. Washington, 1943
307 vs. Washington, 1951 pic.twitter.com/735zcOQzC6
THE EAGLES’ OFFENSIVE LINE: JORDAN MAILATA, LANDON DICKERSON, JASON KELCE, ISAAC SEUMALO, LANE JOHNSON
The five starters deserve to be mentioned by name, not just as a unit. They regularly generated great push to pave the way for rushing success. Dominant group.
NICK SIRIANNI/SHANE STEICHEN
The combined Sirianni/Steichen performance from last week was so befuddling. From inexplicable personnel usage to fourth down cowardice to questionable designs ... the Eagles’ head coach and offensive coordinator were uncharacteristically bad last week. It was their worst game of the year. And it almost resulted in a second straight loss.
It was encouraging to see Sirianni and Steichen put that showing behind them. They were much better in this one. Instead of overthinking it and running a ton of multiple tight end sets with three non-Dallas Goedert options, they utilized more 11 personnel. They also didn’t needlessly complicate their plan of attack. They realized the Packers are bad at stopping the run and decided to run it all over them.
Those who followed Bleeding Green Nation’s training camp coverage should not have been surprised that Blankenship was able to come in and have some success. I’ve only written a billion times that he flashed more promise in one training camp that K’Von Wallace has ever shown in multiple seasons here combined.
The man known by his teammates as “Ghost” (h/t Bo Wulf) became the first undrafted rookie free agent to EVER pick off Aaron Rodgers. Ever! In 7510 passing attempts over 218 career starts.
It was such an awesome play, too. Blankenship correctly anticipated what Rodgers was going to do and broke on the ball for a big pick to stop a drive that got the Eagles’ 28-yard line.
Blankenship also looked good in run defense, finishing with six tackles (three solo). Ghost was tied with T.J. Edwards in that category for the team lead.
Of course, Blankenship played a role in the Eagles surrendering a 63-yard touchdown to Christian Watson. The rookie took a poor angle and had no shot of catching the speedster after that mistake.
The positive outweighed the negative, though. It’s hard to make too much of a small sample size but Blankenship showed some real promise in his first extended action. The Eagles will seemingly continue to rely on him with C.J. Gardner-Johnson getting hurt.
Elliott missed an extra point, his second of the season. But the 54-yarder he made from 4th-and-3 with 2:16 left in the game to go back up two possessions was really big. Elliott’s ability to regularly hit clutch kicks is probably taken for granted.
Smith was the Eagles’ leading receiver with four grabs for 50 yards. Those are hardly eye-popping numbers but, hey, the Eagles were running a lot. DeVonta made two key catches worth highlighting.
The first was a gain for 13 on 3rd-and-14 to bring up 4th-and-1 that was converted with a sneak on the final drive of the first half, which resulted in the Quez TD.
The second was the catch for 14 in a tight window on 3rd-and-12 to set up 1st-and-goal at the 5-yard line on Philly’s first drive of the second half.
The fumble was bad. He’s now up to two fumbles in the past two games after not fumbling since the 2020 season.
But we are grading Brown on a curve. One would be remiss to not factor in how he was operating at considerably less than 100%:
AJ Brown said it took a lot for him to get ready for this game. He lost seven pounds due to a stomach bug. His eye is bloodshot — evidence of a long week throwing up. Took until the 2nd quarter until he was feeling right.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) November 28, 2022
I’m not putting him in the losers or IDKs section with his illness in mind.
Brown did have a really big third down conversion and a touchdown grab on a night that was not even his best. The Eagles need more from him moving forward so we’ll see if he can get right and build on this.
Sirianni gave out two game balls following the Eagles’ win. One went to Blankenship. The other went to Quez.
In explaining to the team why Quez deserved the recognition, Sirianni discussed how Quez contributed a lot beyond the stats earlier in the year. And how he stayed ready for his role to increase should something happen to one of the primary three targets in Brown, DeVonta, and Goedert.
Sure enough, Watkins has been able to step up with Goedert out. He has two touchdown grabs in the past two games. Watkins entered this season with just two career touchdowns in his first two years combined.
The threat of Watkins’ deep speed created the back-shoulder opportunity with a defender having to worry about getting beat over the top.
Cox has rightfully drawn criticism this season. But he had his best game in some time with his first sack since Week 3 in addition to a pair of TFLs.
There is clearly a point of diminishing returns when it comes to Cox’s playing time.
In the six games he played at least 70% of the snaps: 0 sacks, 0 TFLs, 2 QB hits.
In the five games he played 66% of the snaps or fewer: 4 sacks, 4 TFLs, 6 QB hits.
Less is more in this situation. The Eagles need to continue to deploy Cox in a heavy rotation.
More often than not, I haven’t liked the Eagles’ usage of Gainwell this year. It often feels forced and unnecessary. But Gainwell made the most of his touches in this game for his most productive game of the season. The Eagles kept going to him in third down situations later in the game and he contributed effectively.
BoSco also had his best game of the year. Anyone associated with such a historic night on the ground deserves credit.
Wallace was forced into action late in the game after Blankenship got banged up. He only took three snaps but he broke up a pass in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. Good to see something positive from him after previously seeing a lot of negative. Wallace is now the third safety again with CJGJ hurt.
The former Eagles cornerback helped his old team by allowing three catches for 59 yards, two touchdowns, and a 140.8 passer rating. Sul also had a penalty that turned 2nd-and-10 at the Packers’ 35-yard line into 1st-and-10 at the 30-yard line two plays before Quez’s touchdown. Douglas was a double agent working in the Eagles’ favor.
EAGLES SPECIAL TEAMS
Look, it’s not about expecting the Eagles to have the best special teams unit in the league. It’s about asking them to avoid making costly mistakes on a weekly basis.
It felt like the Eagles were poised for a blowout win after scoring their second touchdown of the game. But then Elliott missed his extra point and the kickoff coverage unit allowed a 38-yard to set the Packers up at their own 41-yard line. Green Bay went on to put together a touchdown drive of their own. The vibe shift felt similar to how KaVontae Turpin sparked a Cowboys rally that ultimately fell short when Dallas played Philly in Week 6.
And the 38-yard return wasn’t even the worst of it! Michael Clay’s unit then allowed returns of 52 and 53. They weren’t facing Devin Hester back there. The Packers were only averaging 20.8 yards per kick return entering Week 12, which ranked as the 10th worst average in the NFL.
It would be surprising to see the Eagles fire Clay during the season. In the meantime, though, one can only expect more struggles from the phase of the team he oversees.
CJGJ is “out indefinitely” after suffering a lacerated kidney.
I remember once listening to Miles Austin (sorry to remind you he was an Eagle) talk about suffering this injury. He was talking about how he was urinating blood at one point. Not sure if CJGJ is in the same exact boat, but, sounds pretty awful to be anywhere in that realm!
The good news is that CJGJ’s injury reportedly isn’t season-ending. But one can wonder to what extent he can remain effective even if he does return at some point. And how much time will he need to heal?
EAGLES RUN DEFENSE
At one point I tweeted that the Packers should just run it with A.J. Dillon on every play. They did not heed my advice ... but they probably should’ve. His eight carries went for 64 yards (8.0 average) and one touchdown.
Taking out Aaron Rodgers’ kneel down to end first half, the Packers had 20 carries for 107 yards (5.35 average) and one score. So much for the Indy game being a sign that the run D was fixed.
Teams are going to continue to challenge the Eagles on the ground. Derrick Henry is up next. Gulp.
I DON’T KNOW
Entering Week 12, the Packers’ highest offensive score on the road was 17 points. Green Bay nearly doubled that output on Sunday night, finishing with 33 points.
It’s fair to point out that Jonathan Gannon’s defense was put into some tough positions having to defend short fields. A look at the Packers’ touchdown drives:
- First TD: Started at their own 41-yard line after a long kick returner
- Second TD: Started at the Eagles’ 37-yard line after a turnover on downs
- Third TD: Started at the Eagles’ 12-yard line after A.J. Brown’s fumble
- Fourth TD: Started at their own 25-yard line ... with backup QB Jordan Love
It doesn’t seem unreasonable to say that Gannon’s unit should’ve been able to force a field goal on at least one of those. Those four points saved would’ve made a significant difference in terms of cushion in this game.
Gannon’s defense had a good showing in Indy. Of course, they were facing a Colts offense led by Matt Ryan that ranked 30th in offensive points per game at the time. Going up against a tougher matchup in Aaron Rodgers (who was also playing through a broken thumb), the Eagles’ defense played a part in the Packers having their highest scoring total of their season.
EAGLES TIGHT ENDS
Can the Eagles continue to have success with a passing attack where the tight ends are a total non-factor?
Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, and Tyree Jackson have logged two combined targets for two catches and five yards in the two games since Dallas Goedert went on injured reserve.