On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.
“It’s Victory Monday.”
In a 29-21 “fetch” victory, the Eagles stuck it out in the rain with key players out and still pulled through against the #1 rush defense in the NFL. Let’s face facts and say that the Eagles did pretty well against a team that was better than we thought. Furthermore, it was a team with a head coach who knows the strengths and weaknesses of his former teammates.
Luckily, it was a great reunion for Doug Pederson and the Eagles. Fans gave their former Super Bowl-winning coach a standing ovation.
There was good and bad. For the Eagles, it’s nothing to sweat too much, but they should be wary of some of yesterday’s issues.
Playing to Our Defensive Strengths
What does aggressive football with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Haason Reddick look like? Yesterday’s game. It sure feels nice to have our defense playing how they’re meant to play. Of course, it came with time and adjustments to the Eagles team, but that is where we saw the Eagles defense thrive.
Reddick walked away with four tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and recoveries, one tackle for loss and one QB hit. This is what happens when we don’t have him dropped back in coverage. Pass rushers will bring the heat when you let them pass rush. T.J. Edwards, an underrated defensive beat this season, also had a sack yesterday. James Bradberry had an interception.
Ball Security (And Causing Ball Insecurity)
It just made the most sense for the Eagles to run the ball to have ball security. In the rain, ball security was top priority for the Eagles. Not only that, but causing fumbles (thank you Reddick) and recovering said fumbles (thank you Reddick) was huge for Philadelphia’s success.
Keeping the ball on the ground is going to be a good way to continue ball security. Will it always work? No, but our running back room, unofficially including Jalen Hurts, is pretty much secure enough to hang on to the ball. If they can do it in the rain, they can do it with any weather.
Running the Ball
The Eagles had four rushing touchdowns yesterday, including two from Miles Sanders who had an incredible day. Even against the top rush defense, the Eagles put up 210 rushing yards and held the Jaguars to only 71 yards. Last year, it felt like the Eagles would not run the ball until they had a turning point in the season. Now, even though the league is more focused on the pass, one of the Eagles’ biggest assets still rely on the run.
It helps to have a mobile quarterback, especially in cases where linemen are down and you need to work with what you have. Hurts had another fantastic game on his feet yesterday, rushing for 38 yards and one touchdown. For Sanders, this was a game he needed to remind everyone of who he is. He finished the day with 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Darius “Big Play” Slay. Jordan Mailata. Jake Elliott. The list goes on of everyone who was either injured or shaken up yesterday. It really hurts to start seeing a bunch of big-name guys – and really anyone on the team – go down. Luckily, all three of these players made their way back onto the sideline if not the field.
Some guys, like Patrick Johnson, were not as fortunate as the linebacker left the game with a concussion. The Eagles have a steady set of linebackers this year, but at least two of them went down yesterday. The linebacker room is still stacked, and the Eagles are the CEOs of working through adversity, but it always helps the team when everyone can be on the field.
Giving Up the Play is HS Football
Growing up around football, the one thing that would irk me to my very core is giving up a football play. I saw this a lot with my high school team, and I hated every second of it. There were times yesterday when the Eagles gave up plays. I hope this is a one-time issue.
Of course, one of the plays that shook Twitter was A.J. Browns‘ no block early in the game. He took to Twitter to express his side and to hold himself accountable, but it cannot happen especially against teams who are good. The Jaguars will not give up plays. The Packers will not give up plays. The Cowboys will absolutely not give up plays. Neither should the Birds.
Wide (Open) Receivers
Luckily this was only an issue for the first few minutes of the game, but it was still enough to cause concern. There were holes in the Eagles’ defense that allowed the Jaguars to get through. To be fair, there were also holes in the Jaguars’ defense, too. But we care about the Eagles.
Opposing teams will get much further considering the Eagles have struggled with the breakaway, explosive runs this season. When those plays turn into scores, the Eagles put more work on themselves to try and make a comeback. Because this issue was handled early on, the extra work wasn’t really much for the Birds.
Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports