Twenty victories in the last twenty-one regular season games started.
That is this team's win-loss count while Jalen Hurts has been available over the past 21 games. Yesterday on Monday Night Football, he continued the success, helping lead the Eagles to a 25-11 win down in Tampa Bay.
After an agonizing ten day break from our birds, we were able to see them return a few key contributers on the defense and add Kenny Gainwell back to the mix at running back after missing the Minnesota game. It was very good to see guys like Bradberry and Blankenship back in action as they each played large roles, as per usual.
As someone who is always trying to stay optimistic, I of course saw lots of positive takeaways from this game. Jalen Hurts made a few incredible throws throughout the game, while D'Andre Swift continues to make himself at home again here in Philadelphia. This offensive line is hands down the best in the league. AJ Brown went for 9 catches, 131 yards and uncharacteristically dropped a touchdown late in the game. DeVonta Smith had 4 catches for a mere 28 yards, but they will each have weeks like that where they flip flop. Dallas Goedert was finally involved to a greater extent with 5 catches for 41 yards and Olamide Zaccheaus make some big plays including his first touchdown as an Eagle. The defense put together another beautiful game with three total takeaways (including the safety). Another good win, with room to grow, as both Hurts and Nick Sirianni reiterated. Now, please allow for my thoughts, feelings, and opinons (week 3 edition).
Coordinator Grades of the Week
This was another really good game for Sean Desai and this defense. Having both Bradberry and Blankenship back was a huge gain for the defensive backfield. Bradberry played lots of slot corner against Godwin, while Slay covered Mike Evans on most plays. Blankenship was making great stops early and often, while also coming up with a clutch interception. The defense forced the Buccanears to commit their first turnovers of the season with that INT as well as Jalen Carter's massive forced fumble. The run defense was once again stout, allowing for just 41 yards total. Two straight games without allowing even 50 yards rushing. Great improvement from last year so far in that area of the defense. Pass defense wasn't getting anywhere either until late in the game as the Eagles only allowed 133 yards through the air. I'm loving what I'm seeing from Desai so far, and if these rushers can get home and turn these pressures into sacks, it will only improve his stock. I am giving him a A this week. I'm very happy with the defensive outcome.
Offensively, I liked what Brian Johnson did in leaning heavily on the run game once again with 30 rushes between Swift and Gainwell. I am not sure why Gainwell was used in the 4th and short situation earlier in the game, but hopefully that doesn't happen again when Swift is available. Swift topped 100 yards yet again and finished the day with 130. He is the clear cut number one rusher here, no question about it. The passing game looked a whole lot better this week. Jalen Hurts' throw to Zaccheaus was absoutley gorgeous. The trust he had to throw that pass after hanging in there for that long was really something. He did have two interceptions which I expect him to clean up. One was an obvious miscommunication between he and Swift, while the other was an amazing play made by the Tampa Bay safety. As mentioned earlier, it was good to see him get Dallas Goedert involved a little bit in the offense (5 catches, 40+ yards is a good start). Hopefully the offense continues improving each week. I will give Johnson a B- this week. This game should have been 35-11, at least.
I'm not sure if this offensive line is equally impressive or even better than last year. Add another 200+ yard rushing day to their resume. Swift seems to fit the offense better than Miles Sanders did, as he is more patient and then bursts upfield. As I said last week, once this passing offense is back its usual stellar play, we might be scoring as much as the Dolphins did this weekend (alright, maybe not 70, but we'll have our share of blowout wins).
More Takeaways on Defense
What a showing by Jalen Carter before halftime. Two straight forced fumbles. The hustle and effort shown in the second play where the Eagles regained possession was insane for a DT. It boggles my mind that the league allowed him to slip to the Eagles at pick 9 in April. Then once it started to really rain again, Reed Blankenship notched his second career pick. It is really great to have him back in the lineup. Another gem of a find by Howie Roseman. He has turned out to be a really good player. We'll need more of these guys once our playmakers start to get bigger contracts and Hurts' real money kicks in next year.
Stars of the Game
-The big boys on each side of the ball are really making a case for themselves as clearly the best in the league. Running the ball and controlling the clock as this offense can is amazing. Almost 40 minutes of time of possession for the offense. On defense, there wasn't much Tampa Bay could do. A few more sacks as we chase last year's 70, and more three and outs that I can count. Against a weak offensive line in Washington, this defense should again look to feast.
Both sides of the trenches are the real deal. Suffocating on defense and completely dominating on offense.
Surprise of the Game
Shout out to Britain Covey! Longest return of the young season and his young career (52 yards). In fact, he leads the league in a number of punt returner statistics dating back to Week 13 of last year. His 291 return yards rank first in the league since Week 13, and his returns of 10+,15+, 20+, and 25+ yards rank first throughout all of the NFL as well, as per John Gonoude.
Grow, grow, grow. Continue to improve as the weeks go on as we have our toughest battles still to come. Landon Dickerson left the game early, but he just suffered what is being called a contusion in his knee, and not thought to be worrisome. Nakobe Dean should return soon and Boston Scott will return next week. Already this team is back in the conversation as one of the top three, four teams and once it is firing on all cylinders...the rest of the league should beware.
Until the next one,