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It’s time to embrace these ugly Eagles wins

It’s rarely been pretty, but the Eagles get the job done.

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are 9-1.

Again. For the second straight year. The Eagles own the best record in football for the 29th straight week. After the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers all won on Sunday, the Birds held serve and maintained their grip atop the NFC and the division, and they did it by defeating the best team the AFC, who not coincidentally is the team that beat them in Super Bowl 57.

For most of the game, it wasn’t looking good. Mistakes abounded. They were outgained 336-238. Jalen Hurts threw for just 150 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass. He did throw an interception. Philadelphia trailed by 10 points at halftime, failed to score off any of the Chiefs’ two turnovers, allowed twice as many rushing yards as they’d averaged this season, and A.J. Brown was held to one catch for six yards.

And still, the Eagles beat the defending Super Bowl champs. On the road.

We have to stop waiting for this team to win pretty, because that may not be the modus operandi this year. The Eagles win ugly. That’s their 2023 DNA, and it’s OK. There are no apologies to be made for 9-1, no matter how you got there.

Did they take advantage of an incredibly bonehead decision by Andy Reid (who they beat for the first time in six tries since he left Philly) to punt on 4th-and-4 from the Eagles’ 39 yard line while clinging to a three-point lead in the 4th quarter? Sure. Did they benefit from numerous dropped passes by an awful receiving corps, most notably the long should-have-been touchdown strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling? You bet.

Should we care? Nope.

How many games did the Eagles lose over the years thanks to the boxing gloves-for-hands of Nelson Agholor, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins? Finally, it was their turn to benefit from some brutal pass-catchers. And yes, finally, an ultra conservative Andy Reid decision actually benefitted the Eagles. There is no shame in taking advantage when your opponent makes a mistake.

We need to stop waiting for the 35-14 beatdown we all believe this team is capable of at any point, especially during this six-game trial-by-fire. The Eagles have already won the first two, with home games against Buffalo (6-5), San Francisco (7-3), and road games at Dallas (7-3) and Seattle (6-4). If the Birds need to win all four games by one point each, overcoming sloppy play, bad play calls, turnovers and storms of frogs and locusts falling from the sky, it’s OK.

The Eagles have the most unflappable quarterback in franchise history in Jalen Hurts, who not only continues to rack up victories over quality opponents, he also has mastered the art of comebacks.

Hurts and the offense couldn’t have looked worse through two-and-a-half quarters but, in typical Jalen fashion, he found his footing and made huge plays when needed to. It’s just what he does, ably aided by Brown and, in this game, DeVonta Smith’s six catches for 99 yards, including the dagger in the fourth quarter that set up the go-ahead score.

Don’t get caught up in the aesthetics. This team just wins.

And they’re not beating up on the also-rans of the league. They’ve already taken down the Dolphins, Cowboys and Chiefs this year, as well as a spry Minnesota team with a healthy Kirk Cousins and a decent Rams team on the road.

They are the best team in the NFL. No one wants to play them.

Imagine being a Lions, 49ers or Cowboys fan last night, knowing you could gain a game on the Eagles if they lost to the Chiefs, seeing them down 17-7 at the half. For every other team in the NFL, that game is a loss. Heck, the Chiefs NEVER lose games at home when leading by 10 points. Andy Reid NEVER loses a game out of the bye week.

Last night, they did, and it doesn’t matter how ugly it was or how the game was trending through three quarters.

You don’t gain extra games in the standings for style points. The Eagles, despite their warts, have beaten all comers and have proven they’re the best in the NFL.

Now, they may lose this Sunday to Buffalo. The Bills’ 6-5 record isn’t great, they’ve suffered from an uneven offense and fired their offensive coordinator last week. But on a short-week after a big win over the defending Super Bowl champs, it wouldn’t shock me to see a slight let-down game from the Eagles this year, although Hurts and Nick Sirianni have proven to be immune to such things in their tenure here.

Which is all the more reason not to care how this team does it. They find a way. They are so talented, and their QB is so cool, they can usually overcome sloppiness and mistakes and do what needs to be done.

So stop waiting for these wins to “look” good. They are 9-1.

Revel in it. They just might slog themselves all the way to a parade down Broad Street when it’s all said and done.

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