Camaraderie, ball security & three-headed monsters: 10 Takeaways from Eagles win over Bears

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It’s now nine in a row for the Eagles after rolling over the Bears on Sunday and things are looking very good in Philly. An official playoff birth can be clinched as early as this Thursday with a Cowboys loss. The next goal would be to secure a bye and then home field throughout the playoffs. Even if you try to nit-pick, it’s very hard to find flaws with this team right now. They’re flat out playing championship level football and it has truly been a pleasure to watch. Here are some thoughts on Sundays blowout of the Bears.

 

No Letdown
One of the most impressive things about this Eagles streak is that there have been no letdown games. No games where they are looking forward to the next week and get caught napping. Any given Sunday in the NFL, an underdog team can knock off the favorite and the Eagles have yet to succumb to that trap. The Bears have played a lot of teams tough this year and have 5 one possession losses. They can run the ball and have an underrated defense and the Eagles just obliterated them. It’s good to see the Eagles not taking anyone lightly.

 

3 Headed Monster
When the Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi, there was a thought that the team would go away from the committee approach. That has yet to be the case with Ajayi yet to carve out a significant role and still getting the 3rd most touches in the group. They don’t really use any of them in the passing game after Darren Sproles was lost for the year, but there’s not really a need to with all the weapons the Eagles have. All 3 backs averaged at least 5 yards per carry Sunday and the rotation is proving to give opposing defenses fits.

This element will make the Eagles very dangerous in the cold of December and January when trying to close out close games.

 

No 100 yard pass catcher, who knew!?
I guess I didn’t even realize that prior to Sunday the Eagles had yet to have a 100 yard receiver in a game this year until Zach Ertz broke out with 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.  I think that’s a testament to the front offense for bringing in depth at the position and Carson Wentz for using it. With Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Trey Burton, Mack Hollins and Brent Celek all being threats when they are on the field, there really isn’t a need to feature 1 or 2 players.

 

How about that hustle from Nelson Agholor?!
Nelson Agholor last year was a lost player. His head was swimming and he was mentally checked out. It was so great to see him play to the whistle yesterday and put himself in the right position to recover a Jay Ajayi fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The young man is engaged now and having fun and we’re really getting to see his talent come through. He’s been an excellent weapon in this offense.

 

Another week with no mention of Big V….and that’s a good thing
Lineman never want to be talked about in the media. When you hear a lineman get brought up, it’s usually because he looks like a turnstile and is getting his quarterback killed. After Jason Peters was injured, there was much concern about the left tackle position. Halapoulivaati Vaitai has stepped in seamlessly and the offense hasn’t skipped a beat. Seriously, the Peters injury could have killed the Eagles but you barely even know he’s gone. Wentz is protected and the running game is just as dominant. For Vaitai, the less you hear the better. “Big V” looks like he could bookend this line with Lane Johnson for years to come.

 

Gotta take care of the ball
You can get away with 4 fumbles against the Bears, but in January the Eagles are going to have to take care of the ball better.  Jenkins fumbled right after making an interception which was a gut shot. LeGarrette Blount has had fumbling issues his entire career and needs to be watched closely. Ajayi’s fumble could have been costly if it weren’t recovered by Agholor. Just better overall ball security should be an emphasis going forward. Address it now before it costs the team a pivotal game.

 

Run D is beastly
The only thing Chicago could really do well coming into the game was run the ball and the Eagles held the Bears to 6 yards rushing. 6 YARDS. The run defense has been outstanding all year and showed up again on Sunday in a big way. Cox and Jernigan in the middle is about as good as it gets. The tackle depth are all very adept at stopping the run. The ends are all maintaining their assignments and setting the edge. This group is the #1 in the league in rush defense and has been the catalyst for the entire defense to rise all the way to 6th overall.

 

Captain Graham
There’s a reason this guy wears the “C” on his jersey.  He had another sack an a pair of tackles for loss. Brandon Graham is just a true pro. He hustles all the time and is always in the right spot. Using his leverage and quickness perfectly, BG is just a great fit in Jim Schwartz’ wide 9 scheme and in the locker room. Our own Liam Jenkins mentioned earlier last week that the team should start working on an extension for Graham and later in the week it was reported that the Eagles and Graham are indeed talking extension. It would be nice if the team got that done. Every week he’s a disruptive force and he deserved a shout out.

 

Remember when the secondary was a yearly issue?
For years The Eagles couldn’t get the secondary fixed. They had corners but no safeties. Then they had safeties but no corners. Well, now the cornerback position has come around and the group as a whole is looking downright dynamic. Jenkins and McLeod are in their prime with Mills and Darby coming in to their prime years. The corners in particular have been a revelation. Jalen Mills is playing so confidently right now. Ron Darby is getting his feet back under him but you can see the talent there.  asul Douglas is a long, ball-hawking young player and Patrick Robinson has revived his career in the slot. To think heralded prospect Sidney Jones is still on the way.  It’s nice to see the Eagles finally got it right.

 

Takeaway of the Game

Team Camaraderie
Whether it’s the “Electric Slide” or the bowling a strike celebration, you can tell this team really enjoys playing together. They really look like a team and don’t mind sharing the spotlight. This Eagles group has a confidence and swagger about it that is very real.  hey believe in one another and they believe that at the end of the day, they’re going to win. Give credit to coach Pederson for allowing the players to be themselves. When a team is this close and has the confidence, and the momentum starts building, the result could be something truly special.

On to the Pacific Northwest for a matchup with the Seahawks and the “12th man”.  Even without Sherman and Chancellor, the Seahawks are a veteran team that knows how to win. Russell Wilson can make plays that most other quarterbacks can’t.  Should be a really good test for the Eagles.

 

Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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