The Eagles are 12-1 after beating the New York Giants! Time to hand out some winners, losers, and IDKs.
THE PLAYOFF-BOUND EAGLES
Nick Siranni’s reaction to the Eagles officially clinching a playoff berth was appropriate.
“Oh, that’s nice.”
This team has much bigger fish to try.
Still, it’s OK to take a moment to appreciate that the Birds are guaranteed to play at least one more game after the regular season ends.
And there’s every reason to expect that they’ll be playing multiple postseason games.
The Eagles are the scariest team in football right now. They just turned in back-to-back blowout wins over teams competing for playoff spots.
Which team likes their chances of leaving Lincoln Financial Field with a postseason win?
Hurts set the tone for a strong offensive showing, completing nine of his 10 attempts for 64 yards in addition to running for nine yards on the Eagles’ first offensive drive. He utilized seven (!) different pass-catchers to score the game’s first touchdown. Hurts looked in complete control from the jump.
The Eagles’ franchise quarterback made a number of impressive throws. Tight-window completions to DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown on the first drive stood out. With a free rusher bearing down on him on third down, Hurts threw with anticipation to a spot to complete a pass to Quez Watkins to move the chains. The touchdown ball to DeVonta was placed over the underneath defender and not too far to where the Giants could pick it off.
Hurts finished the game 21/31 (67.7%) for 217 yards (7.0 average), 2 TD, 0 INT, and a 109.2 passer rating. His stats would’ve looked even better if he did not have two big catches wiped out through no fault of his own. The first was a deep completion to Miles Sanders that was ruled incomplete due to him purportedly bobbling the ball, which didn’t look to be true. The second was a dime to DeVonta where the receiver uncharacteristically couldn’t get a second foot inbounds.
As a runner, Hurts pitched in with 7 carries for 77 yards. 10 of those yards came on his touchdown run where he instantly took off running up the middle after taking a shotgun snap. It looked entirely too easy for the Eagles. Hurts is a big reason why the team can be nearly impossible to defend.
Jalen Hurts is the first QB in NFL history to post 10+ rushing TDs in back-to-back years and just the second QB with multiple 10+ rushing TD seasons, joining Cam Newton (who has 3).#Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 12, 2022
Hurts is the NFL MVP at this point. He makes big plays without ever really putting the ball in harm’s way. He’s been awesome. The Eagles aren’t where they are without him leading the way. One should be confident he will lead the team to more success down the stretch.
By the way, Hurts’ top competitor for MVP — Patrick Mahomes — threw three interceptions on Sunday in a win where the Chiefs failed to cover the spread against the Denver Broncos.
Hurts has thrown three interceptions all season long.
There was a lot of pressure on Sanders to have a career season as he entered the final year of his rookie contract. He is doing exactly that.
Sanders finally went over the 1K mark with 17 carries for 144 yards (8.5 average!) for two touchdowns and a long of 40 in this game.
Sanders is the Eagles’ first 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy last accomplished that feat in 2014. Sanders is also the Eagles’ first running back with double-digit rushing touchdowns since Shady did it in 2011.
From an eye-test perspective, Sanders has looked better than he ever has lately. There is no question he benefits from an incredible offensive line, an elite run game coordinator/OL coach, and a mobile QB presence. But Sanders deserves a lot of credit for running hard and not leaving yards on the field. He’s also managed to stay healthy and avoid fumbling at all (knock on wood).
Has Sanders warranted a big money contract extension from the Eagles? While that much is fair to wonder, there’s still a lot of season left to play. If Sanders continues to thrive, it’s possible he’ll price himself out of the Eagles’ range.
Then again, the 2023 free agent class is loaded with running back talent. The 2023 NFL Draft is also said to offer quality backfield options.
With Howie Roseman in charge, the Eagles have not been a team to invest significant resources into the running back position. But maybe there’s a short-term deal (three years?) that makes sense for both Sanders and the team.
Should the Eagles sign Miles Sanders to a contract extension?
This poll is closed
EAGLES OFFENSIVE LINE
The Eagles dominated up front, paving the way for four rushing touchdowns and 254 yards on 30 carries (8.5 average). For the most part, they regularly gave Hurts clean pockets to work with. It’s easy to take for granted how great these guys are.
Regarding Lane Johnson leaving early and not returning due to an abdomen injury, he told reporters he could’ve finished this game if he needed to. He also said he’s set to undergoing some testing, so we’ll have to monitor his situation.
NICK SIRIANNI/SHANE STEICHEN
The opening script was pretty masterful with the Eagles going 84 yards in 14 plays with seven different pass-catchers involved on a touchdown drive. The Eagles then followed that up with a 12-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to go up 14 to 0.
The offensive coaching staff continues to press all the right buttons. They’re on fire. A season-high 48 points to go with 437 yards.
The Eagles have scored 35+ points in 3 straight games, which is the longest streak in team history since the 2002 season.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 12, 2022
A special shout out to Sirianni for being aggressive and going for it on 4th-and-7 from the Giants’ 41-yard line. Many other coaches would’ve tried to kick a long field goal or, even worse, punt. Sirianni’s bold decision paid off with Hurts connecting with DeVonta for a touchdown to go up 14 to 0. The game was essentially decided at that point.
Side note: credit to Sirianni and the coaching staff for cutting down on penalties (especially the pre-snap variety) after drawing too many flags last weekend. The Eagles were only penalized twice for nine yards in this game. A game officiated by Clete “No Clear Recovery” Blakeman!
The Eagles’ general manager has built an absolute juggernaut.
And just a reminder that Philly is currently is set to receive the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the New Orleans Saints.
Do Giants fans see this guy in their nightmares?
Boston Scott, Giant Killer continues to very much be a thing.
As a backup to Sanders, Scott had six carries for 33 yards (5.5 average) and the Eagles’ final touchdown.
Scott also notched a 66-yard kick return to set up the Eagles’ first field goal, which put Philly back up by three possessions (17 points) after the Giants had scored their first TD following the Eagles punt that was blocked.
Scott prevented the Giants from believing they were on track to getting back in the game.
He made the play that broke that game open with his deep touchdown reception on 4th-and-7. Impressive grab considering he must’ve known Julian Love was potentially ready to knock his head off.
Smitty finished with five grabs for 64 yards. By scoring his fifth touchdown, he tied last year’s total in that category with four regular season games left to play. He is 142 receiving yards shy of surpassing his rookie season yardage total.
Was this the most casual ‘four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown’ performance you’ll ever see? Did A.J. even break a sweat? It looked pretty easy for him.
Brown is now over 1K on the season, making him the Eagles’ first 1,000 yard pass-catcher since Zach Ertz in 2018 and their first 1,000 yard wide receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014.
Brown also scored his 10th touchdown of the season, the most by any Eagles wide receiver in a season since Maclin in 2014.
As a punt returner, Covey had four tries for 29 yards with a long of 16. Not bad.
Covey also seamlessly filled in as a holder after Arryn Siposs left the game. Pretty impressive considered his relatively limited experience there. And that he was holding in a game featuring rainy conditions.
Calcaterra blocked well and pitched in with two catches for 24 yards, both of which occurred on the Eagles’ first drive. Both grabs went for first downs.
Calcaterra entered this game with only three career receptions so it was interesting to see him involved like that early on.
Two catches for 20 yards puts him at 10 for 107 on the season after he only had four for 22 last year.
Stoll made a number of good blocks in this game, including one on Sanders’ long touchdown run.
Stoll and Calcaterra clearly represent a big downgrade from Dallas Goedert. But they deserve some credit for being reasonably respectable in his absence.
Goedert believes he is set to return for the Eagles’ upcoming game in Chicago, by the way.
The Eagles have allowed four touchdown drives in their last two games combined. There are only two of them that are legitimately fair to gripe about. The other two were products of an extremely short field (15 yards) and a garbage time score with backups playing.
The Eagles allowed the Titans to go 71 yards in 10 plays to make it a tie game at 7 to 7 in Philly last weekend. From there, though, Gannon’s unit allowed just three points the rest of the game.
The Eagles allowed the Giants to go 75 yards in 11 plays to make it a 13-point game during the third quarter. In fairness, though, time was on Philly’s side and they were probably able to live with the opposition taking 5:41 off the clock.
Outside of these two drives, Gannon’s unit has played very well recently. They seem to be tackling a lot better than they were for most of the season. They looked pretty organized and fundamentally sound out there. Well-coached, if you will.
One of the most impressive things about the defense right now goes to what we highlighted last week:
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Eagles’ defensive performance is that they shut the Titans down without taking away the ball. This isn’t to suggest the Birds should be dinged for generating takeaways. But there have been times this year where it’s felt like the defense needed turnovers to prevent scoring. And that was concerning because there is some element of luck to taking the ball away; you’re not always going to be able to rely on opponent mistakes. Sometimes you need to get stops and force punts. And that’s what the Eagles did today.
Over the last two weeks, the Eagles only have one takeaway: a strip-sack in garbage time. Otherwise, Gannon’s unit has done a really good job of forcing stops.
Prior to the Giants’ meaningless final drive, the Eagles held New York to 4/14 on third and fourth down attempts combined. The Birds forced seven Giants punts. (Or eight if you factor in the one that got wiped out by the illegal kick penalty.)
The Eagles posted 6.0+ sacks in back-to-back games for the first time since 1998.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 12, 2022
The Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee had three sacks and three TFLs in this game. He’s the best.
Pretty wild to consider he’s on track for a career year coming off an Achilles injury in his age 34 season. Then again, we regularly talked about how good he looked in training camp.
Brandon Graham is 10 games shy of overtaking Brian Dawkins (183) for the most games played by a defensive player in Eagles history.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 12, 2022
The Giants’ first two plays? A run that picked up four yards and a Daniel Jones completion that went for 14 yards. Oh no. Shaping up to be a bad day for the Birds?
Not at all. Josh Sweat set the tone for the defense by beating Andrew Thomas for a sack that set the Giants behind schedule and ultimately forced a punt.
Sweat ultimately pitched in with a TFL and another QB hit. Good day for him going up against the NFL’s third-highest graded offensive tackle by Pro Football focus.
Reddick had one sack and one TFL in this game. The Eagles’ splashy free agent signing is now up to 10 sacks on the season, making it three straight years of double-digit sacks for him. Reddick has a chance to top his previous career high of 12.5 with four games left to play.
In addition to putting up big sack numbers, Reddick creates opportunities for others. He noticeably knocked Ryan Tannehill off his spot to force a sack last week and he did the same with Jones this week.
Only two players have produced more sacks than Reddick since the start of the 2020 season: Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt. They’re tied at 40 each while Reddick is tied with Trey Hendrickson for 33.5.
After a seven-game stretch where he was pretty quiet on the stat sheet, Cox has produced a sack in each of his last three games. He’s also logged at least one tackle for loss in each of them. Adding Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh was big for getting his snap count down and allowing him to be more impactful with reduced playing time.
He did not have a splashy revenge game against his former team but he definitely didn’t let the Giants do much, if any, damage against him. Must’ve been nice to leave MetLife Stadium with such a dominant win over the team that did him dirty by waiting to cut him when they did.
Slay nearly had a pick at one point and logged two passes defensed. It’s not like the Eagles’ cornerbacks were majorly tested considering the Giants have a very uninspiring receiving corps right now. But they did what they were supposed to do.
Prior to the final garbage time drive, Giants WRs were targeted 16 times for just 11 receptions, 117 yards, and one touchdown.
Maddox appeared to play well in his first game back from injured reserve. No noticeable setbacks with the hamstring.
Siposs deserves credit for tracking the ball on his punt that got blocked and scooping it with one hand (!) to almost pick up a first down. Wild.
Instead of allowing the Giants to immediately score a touchdown or take over in goal-to-go territory, he at least made the opposition go 15 yards and take 1:18 off the clock. Could’ve been worse! He gave the defense a chance to hold New York to a field goal, though they failed to do as much.
It’s unfortunate that Siposs got hurt during his nearly heroic run. Probably not a great sign that he had to be carted off. But at least he made the most of it:
There’s some early speculation that the Eagles could look to sign veteran punter Brett Kern, who lost a battle to UDFA rookie Ryan Stonehouse.
Elliss played well on special teams after being temporarily elevated for the second week in a row. The Eagles might have to find a roster spot for him if they can. Kyron Johnson got banged up in this game ... so that’s something to watch. Maybe he goes on IR.
RIGHTEOUS FELON CRAFT JERKY
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Wallace was forced into action since Reed Blankenship got carted off the field.
You can see why Blankenship leapfrogged Wallace on the depth chart. The latter can be a liability out there. The Giants had success throwing his way on more than one instance.
The Eagles should probably re-sign Anthony Harris, who just got cut by the Denver Broncos. He could be a preferable stop-gap option to relying heavily on Wallace.
Josiah Scott is also a candidate to play more at safety now that Maddox has returned to the slot. Scott was taking second-team safety reps (ahead of veteran Jaquiski Tartt) back in training camp.
THE GIANTS’ PUNTER
Summed up how this game went for the Giants.
This was a massive play in terms of field position. If Jamie Gillan gets a normal punt off, the Eagles are probably taking over at their own 15-yard line, give or take five yards? Instead, they took over at the Giants’ 33-yard line following a 10-yard, loss of downs penalty. This was a massive mistake that allowed the Eagles to go up 21 to 0 with Hurts instantly finding Brown for a score.
Taylor ruined the BGN same game parlay with his garbage time TD drive. Boooooo!
I DON’T KNOWS
Hopefully he’s OK after getting hurt but it’s typically not a good sign when a player is being carted off. Not ideal for the Eagles to currently be without two of their top three safety options with Blankenship banged up and C.J. Gardner-Johnson on injured reserve for at least two more games, if not longer.