A win is a win, they say.
A win, in fact, it was.
Football is back, and with that, there is so much to unpack.
The NFC defending champion Philadelphia Eagles got out to an early 16-0 lead yesterday, but it was Jake Elliott who was probably the most consistent player on the field (albeit his early point after miss). They did make it out of Foxborough with a win however, by the score of 25-20.
This team looked far from the one we grew so used to last year, but a little rust is always expected to start the year. Here we'll take a look at all of my observations/thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a number of topics from yesterdays game.
Defensively, you could not have asked for a better start. Sean Desai got two turnovers in the first quarter from his defense which directly led to 13 points in the first quarter. A dream scenario. The pass rush didn't get home until the late in the game with sacks coming from Jordan Davis, and Jalen Carter. The Patriots rushing attack was stifled, so great work in that area by the front seven. As far as the pass defense goes, Mac Jones ended up throwing for 300+ yards, which is not ideal. Giving up 20 points in game one isn't something to be happy about, especially when it's to a New England Patriots offense with a lack of that great an offense. Looking forward, hopefully the defense can get to the quarterback earlier than the fourth quarter. I would grade Desai's debut somewhere between a B- or even a B.
Offensively, with Brian Johnson now calling the plays, they finished with 25 points, with most coming from field goals and one touchdown from the team's defense. Play calling was fine, besides the bizarre QB draw with minutes left in the game with led to a near costly fumble. Between that and the decision to give Swift just 3 total targets/touches, those were my only real complaints when it comes to the new OC. I would also give him a B for the day. Ultimately it comes down to the players executing their blocks, making their catches, the quarterback seeing the field and runningbacks making the right decisions.
Quick shout outs:
-The Georgia Bulldogs make their presence felt! Both Carter and Davis added a sack to their young resumes, while Nakobe Dean finished with 7 tackles on the day, before leaving early in the third quarter.
-Punt return coverage has not been good for some time here in Philadelphia and if the Super Bowl was any indication, there needed to be some changes. Special teams coordinator Michael Clay is still here, but young players Josh Jobe and Sydney Jones each made big hits on punt coverage yesterday. Great work by them.
-Darius Slay had two huge plays early in the game and was credited with a pick-six and three pass breakups in the contest. Here's to hoping Big Play Slay has more in store for us this season.
Not exactly an MVP performance by Jalen Hurts as he had many instances of overthrowing his recievers. Dallas Goedert was credited with two targets, but they could not connect. He just did not look like himself out there. No matter, Hurts will return to form I am sure in the coming weeks. This offense lies in his hands; when he is humming, everything is on the table. This team is the best in football when he is on his A-game, per usual.
What was probably the most glaring hole the Eagles had going into the season was shining brightly on Sunday. Multiple times, safeties were late over the top to help out in coverage, while the linebackers were smoked all day long with intermediate throws across the middle. They will hope to shore this up on a short week against Minnesota, playing some tough wide recievers in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and tight end TJ Hockenson.
Injury Front Looking Ahead:
Two notable injuries for Thursday night's game are star cornerback James Bradberry and play caller for the defense Nakobe Dean. Bradberry will reportedly miss the game against Minnesota with a concussion as he waits to clear the protocol. In his place, second year player out of Alabama Josh Jobe will likely get the start opposite Darius Slay. As for Dean, Christian Elliss is the backup MIKE linebacker and will take his spot until he returns from an apparent foot injury suffered in the third quarter. He will supposedly miss several weeks.
Head Coach Nick Sirianni needs to better prepare his team when it comes to Minnesota Thursday night. The New England Patriots are a scrappy team, but should not have been able to stay so close yesterday. The Vikings have far better play makers and the Eagles could find themselves in trouble if they do not regain regular season form by Thursday at the Linc.
Week 1 will always be a mixed bag and you really can't judge a team by their first performance of the season. I am just dumping out my thoughts, feelings, opinions, and observations from yesterday. I believe they will in fact get in gear by Thursday night still, and finish the season with 12 wins at the very least.
Until the next one,