Two weeks of NFL football, two wins for your Philadelphia Eagles!
Last Thursday night, the Eagles took down the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener, 34-28.
After a very short week of premature worries, we got see the defending NFC champions look just a little bit more like themselves. They still haven't played their best and put it all together yet, but at the end of the day, they are still 2-0. We'll take it.
Two games in four days is always going to be tough, as injuries played a factor in this game. Without James Bradberry, Nakobe Dean, and Reed Blankenship, the team went into the game super thin on the backend of the defense. In addition, they ended up losing Avonte Maddox with a torn pectoral muscle, likely for the rest of the year. Nevertheless, they put together a very good effort with three total takeaways on defense and an added forced fumble and recovery on the punt return team. On offense, the run game was masterful. Without further ado, let's get into my thoughts, feelings, and opinons (week 2 edition).
Coordinator Grades of the Week
A really good game by Sean Desai versus Minnesota in my eyes. For the group of guys he had to work with and the lack of experience they had, they still did a very good job against an excellent Minnesota offense. The run defense was absolutely terrific once again, holding the Vikings to 28 total rushing yards. Josh Jobe, Mario Goodrich III, and Justin Evans were all tested, and you could see the defense indeed missed their starters in Maddox, Bradberry, and Blankenship. Kirk Cousins threw for his usual 300+ yards, but could not get the win. Hopefully some of their injured players will be back for the Monday night matchup versus Baker Mayfield and the Buccanears next week. With what Desai worked with though, I am giving him a B+ this week.
Offensively, I liked what Brian Johnson did in leaning heavily on the run game once he realized Minnesota had absolutely no answer for it. No real forced throws/plays other than perhaps those two throws to AJ Brown after he seemed upset (by the way, that second throw still should have gotten a DPI call). Running D'Andre Swift 28 times for 175 yards obviously won't happen each and every week, but he has a stable of running backs to work with and he must feature Swift in every other game. He is clearly the best running back on the team. The passing game never really materialized, but there were some positive signs. Jalen Hurts' throw to DeVonta Smith for the long score was a thing of beauty. His rollout to AJ Brown that was called back due to a hold was also another brilliant throw. It was nice to see him get Dallas Goedert involved even a little bit in the offense. Hopefully the offense continues to get better moving forward. I will give Johnson a B too.
This offensive line is no joke. They may have had a poor performance last week, but this week, albeit allowing 4 sacks, they paved the way for this rushing attack. You simply do not rush for 259 yards, while allowing your top rusher to average five yards before contact, without stellar offensive line play. Once this passing offense picks up again from last year and returns to form, it's back to offensive starters on the bench by halftime.
Takeaways Not Just Turnovers
I want to make it a point of emphasis that the fumbles the Vikings had on Thursday were caused by the Eagles. They were not just turnovers due to poor handling of the football. These were takeaways by Avonte Maddox, Justin Evans, Josh Sweat, and Terrell Edmunds, punching, tearing, and knocking the football out of the ball carriers hands. Hats off to this defense and some of these new additions stepping up in a big way.
Stars of the Game
Swift, Sweat, Smith, Davis/Carter
D'Andre Swift - Bravo to one Howie Roseman for another mastermind trade (for a future fourth round pick). 175 yards on 28 carries and a score; that is the most yards by an Eagles running back since LeSean McCoy ran for 217 nearly a decade ago in the Snow Bowl.
Josh Sweat - 8 pressures, 4 hits, and a strip sack on Kirk Cousins. This guy has had a year so far, hopefully he can keep this up.
DeVonta Smith - 4 catches, 131 yards and a score. Twice torching the Vikings defense, Smith had himself the two longest receptions of his bright, young career Thursday night. Great to see the young reciever blossom into one of the NFL's top at his position.
The Bulldogs - Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis, I cannot seem to mention one without the other. Each have had several stand out plays this season and Thursday was no exception. Davis added his first career official full sack, while Carter popped off the screen, blowing by interior blockers and ruining backfields. Loving what we're seeing so far from them.
Surprise of the Game
Linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham- Cunningham had a much better game on Thursday, while Morrow, who has had quite a rollercoaster relationship with the Eagles, actually wore the green dot on his helmet for the defense. They each did a decent job. Christian Elliss meanwhile, who many thought would get the start, saw very limited snaps on defense.
Get healthy. 11 days of rest should assist in that area, but the Eagles need some guys back. Of course, Dean will miss at least three more games, while Maddox is likely done for the year, but for Bradberry, Blankenship, and Gainwell, the healthier the better for this team who got very lucky with injuries last season. Also going forward, continue to grow on offense and get back to where this team was last year. There was vast improvement from game 1 to game 2, so long as they continue to get better, we will right back where we belong, in Super Bowl discussions.
Until the next one,