The Eagles head into the Bye week with one goal in mind, making the Super Bowl. With an 8-1 record, Philadelphia are soaring above the rest of the NFL and a dominant win over Denver went a long way to vindicating their historic start to the season. Here are grades and analysis from the win.
4 touchdown passes against one of the NFL’s toughest defenses? Not a bad week for the leading MVP candidate as we pass the mid-season mark. Carson Wentz was on-point against Denver, completing 15/27 throws for 199 yards and keeping the ball away from a hawking cornerback group. Wentz stood in the pocket longer than we’re used to seeing, progressing through his reads quickly and was able to take full advantage of the room given to him by the offensive line. Wentz put up a complete performance on Sunday against one of the league’s most renowned defenses.
Where do we start? The Jay Ajayi breakout debut, or the three Corey Clement touchdowns? However you look at it, the 197 rushing yards amassed by the Eagles were remarkable. The Giants had success against Denver on the ground and the Birds looked to follow suit. For the eighth consecutive game, the Eagles have racked up 100+ yards on the ground. The committee effort is well and truly thriving.
This may have been the offensive line’s coming of age. With Von Miller and company in town, the Eagles held Denver to just TWO quarterback hits and one sack on Carson Wentz. Lane Johnson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai did an exceptional job on the outside, while Jason Kelce is enjoying his finest season yet as a center. Paving the way for a ruthless run-game, the offensive front was simply exceptional…asserting their authority against a pressuring pass rush.
There was no Zach Ertz to rely on for Carson Wentz, but that didn’t matter. Trey Burton burst out of the gate for a 14-yard reception early on and followed through with a beautifully crafted touchdown that saw him torch Brandon Marshall. Brent Celek proved he still had the trucking ability we have all come to know and love at the age of 32-years old, and the blocking was equally as impressive.
Two touchdown receptions for Alshon Jeffery headlined the afternoon, but the Eagles wideouts outside of Alshon were relatively quiet. Torrey Smith registered his first catch since the win over Carolina and Nelson Agholor was held to 36 yards. The Eagles didn’t need to force traffic through the air due to success on the ground, but the wideouts accounted for just under half of the team’s receiving yardage.
According to PFF, The Wizard of Os was pressured on 55% of his drop backs on Sunday. That’s a HUGE number. The Eagles had 11 quarterback hits and 3 sacks, with all facets of the line coming up big. The pressure up the middle from Cox and Jernigan was supported by a heroic effort from Beau Allen…while Chris Long continued an impressive veteran season on the outside alongside Derek Barnett. The best front four in football? You can certainly make the case.
Without Jordan Hicks, the Eagles needed a complete performance and they came very close. Nigel Bradham had 4 tackles and a sack and Mychal Kendricks batted away two passes, hitting Osweiler once. Joe Walker looked a little more consistent than he was one week ago, but there is still plenty of room to grow into the mold left by Hicks. Overall, the Eagles linebackers did what they were designed to do. Stuff the run and make Denver one dimensional. The Broncos had just 35-rushing yards on the day…and that’s largely due to the success of the guys at the second level.
For the first time in a long time, the Eagles played press coverage early…which against this group of receivers was a risk. Punished with some big plays early on, it didn’t take long for the ball-hawking defensive backs to have their way. Patrick Robinson came down with an interception while Rasul Douglas should have had one of his own later on. Malcolm Jenkins was as dominant as he always is, batting down a pair of passes and getting in the face of the opposing QB early and often. Rodney McLeod’s interception was supported by Watkins and Graham in the back-line which enabled Jenkins to push up front. Overall, this secondary could not have looked any better.
Jake Elliott whiffed on an extra point and the team did let up a 44-yard punt return to McKenzie. Aside from that, it was a regular day at the office for Fipp’s unit.
andatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports