The Eagles are 3-1. This game was labelled as a trap by many, but the StubHub Centre was turned into a Philadelphia away day, helping propel the team to a stunning victory over Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. Here’s everything you need to know.
What was that about running the ball?
It seems like only yesterday that fans were stood outside the NovaCare Complex with signs urging Doug Pederson to run the ball. It feels like only a week ago that Wentz was forced to throw over 40 times and put the team on his back. Against a Chargers team who have been leaky against the run all season, Pederson created his gameplay and stuck to it.
The committee of Blount, Smallwood and Clement combined for a whopping 214 yards on an even more impressive 41 carries. Smallwood scored his first touchdown of the year, but it was last year’s leader in rushing touchdowns who stole the show.
LeGarrette Blount tapped into his inner beast mode and looked like he had a chip on his back from the moment the ball was handed to him for the first time. Blount totalled 136 yards, including the single longest run of his career.
The balance allowed Wentz to do what Wentz does best, but we’ll get to that later. The Eagles backfield were the real stars of the show today, churning first down after first down. From Blount to Clement, all three running backs helped shape the Offense with reliability and consistency.
Leaky fourth quarter:
Last week, the Eagles leaked 24 points against the Giants and pave the way for a nail biter. One week later, the same happened again. The Birds’ allowed 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Chargers continued to fight their way back into the matchup. In both games, the Birds’ came through in the clutch. Rivers totalled 347 passing yards against the Eagles, but the team’s “bend but don’t break” mentality shined through and kept the passing offense at bay.
It’s all about chemistry. Zach Ertz led the Eagles in receiving yards once again and made some beautiful receptions in the process. As the telepathic link between Wentz and Smith continues to gradually lean towards that one home run hit, Ertz instantly provides the spark and big-play ability that the Eagles have come to rely on.
Welcome back, Simba:
Jordan Hicks returned to action today, and did so with quite the authority. Hicks led the team in tackles and fired up the Defense throughout the game. A regular day at the office for the former Texas Longhorn, but a day that was needed and appreciated by his teammates and the legions of fans in the stands.
Trust the process:
Rasul Douglas suffered two big receptions after being burned today, but with the impact plays aside, he once again had a strong outing. Douglas had two tackles, but like Jalen Mills, was able to keep the ball in front of him and make sure that the Chargers receivers were treated with respect and that the ball remained ahead of them.
It’s all a part of the plan:
For the second game in a row, the Eagles allowed a stunningly high amount of passing yards, but kept the rushing game quiet. Only 58 yards were picked up by the Chargers on the ground, forcing Rivers to throw against coverages where the Eagles were sitting deep and allowing a cushion underneath. It forces the receivers to run at the corners and take advantage of the boundary given by Schwartz, and more importantly gives the pass rush a chance to do what they do best. It’s wobbly towards the end of games as we’ve come to learn…but it works.
Wentz is a baller:
As we’ve all come to know by now, Carson Wentz is everything that the Eagles hoped he would become. Throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown, Wentz now has three times as many scores as he does picks this season. There were a couple of risky decisions, but the progress the Eagles quarterbacks makes on a weekly basis is outstanding. He looks tougher and more comfortable in the pocket and isn’t afraid to let his athleticism show and scramble to avoid pressure. This is the most aggressive I have ever seen Wentz play, averaging 7.8 yards per pass. The young quarterback was unrelenting in slinging it downfield and trusted his cannon of an arm more than we have seen so far. If you ever wanted to see a game where Wentz flashed all the traits of a franchise QB, this is it.
Defending the elite:
Let’s give a shout to Jason Peters and Lane Johnson here. The Eagles were coming up against one of the most destructive pass-rushes in the league and one of the most dynamic DE tandems in Bosa and Ingram. Wentz was sacked two times and hit 8. With another roulette at the left guard position, the Birds’ did a great job of protecting Wentz…but more importantly….
…OPENING THE RUN:
Jason Kelce and the interior guards were simply magnificent against the Chargers. When you factor in Zach Ertz, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor all making key blocks to open the run as well, it’s clear that some extra attention has been paid, and it has come through in a big way. The offensive line showed its prowess today.