The Eagles are back to winning ways after thundering into the Meadowlands and somehow bringing more stormy weather than what was already looming over the stadium. Everything finally seemed to click for the Philadelphia outfit, but what did we learn?
From Wentz we came:
Once again, Carson Wentz was exposed to plenty of pressures early on, but that didn’t stop him from further elevating his game. In fact, this may be the most impressive we’ve seen Wentz play since the end of last season, which certainly says a lot. 3 touchdowns, no turnovers and 278 yards saw Wentz pick apart the New York Giants as well as extending dead plays and turning them into something big. The only thing to be wary of at this stage is his tendency to force the ball out when being hit, but it’s not come back to bite him just yet. The rise of Carson Wentz is upon us and we are all witness.
Throwing the kitchen sink:
By this point, we all know that the Giants offensive front is a mess and it should come as no surprise that a tenacious Eagles pass rush were licking their lips ahead of this one. 13 quarterback hits and 4 sacks headline a dominant day where Eli Manning was absolutely decimated by the likes of Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett and when Destiny Vaeao gets on the sack sheet, you know everybody is eating. But how did this come to pass?
Schwartz did a thing:
Well, without Corey Graham, the Eagles had to adjust their defensive mindset. It’s been a long-time coming, but Schwartz reverted back to playing split-safeties. This gave his corners confidence to get up close to the line and disrupt routes that we all knew were heading intermediately for check downs. Without vertical tight end threats, the Eagles had less to worry about and were able to attack as a consequence. The result was just sheer dominance all round.
Big-time players make big-time plays:
Whether it was Nelson Agholor making massive adjustments on the fly to help his quarterback out of a sticky situation that could’ve ended in a turnover, or Jordan Hicks making a statement, big-time players make big-time plays. Jalen Mills stepped up. Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox stepped up. Nigel Bradham stepped up. This Eagles team played with the fire and tenacity that fueled last season and it was aided largely by the dominant showings of key players.
Do the Eagles still need to sign a running back?
Well, Corey Clement may have scored a touchdown and put up 40+ rushing yards, but his average of 3.9 yards per carry was inspiring. There’s every chance that if he can stay healthy, Clement could be the workhorse that the Eagles are craving right now. As for Wendell Smallwood, averaging 2.8 yards per carry on 18 attempts was certainly not a good look. Do the Eagles still need to source some outside help? That is something that will be debated all week long.
Turning the corner:
It wasn’t perfect and yes, there was still a deep pass given up, but the cornerback tandem of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby held their own against the Giants wideouts. Perhaps both knew what was coming after last season, but a combined 6 passes defensed speaks volumes. Darby was red-hot in the first half and Mills seemed a lot more composed this time around. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a certain Giants wideout…
A changing of the guard:
We have to give props to Isaac Seumalo. His second start of the season was actually very productive. His technique is far from perfect and he does give up a lot of acres to more powerful pass-rushers due to his build, but his hand placement and ability to redirect traffic was stunning in comparison to the flails we saw last week.
From rookie to captain real quick:
Can we also give Avonte Maddox some props here? A few weeks ago, this rookie nickel cornerback hadn’t played a single snap in the NFL. Now the team’s starting safety, he’s been named sixth-captain and followed that up with a strong 6-tackle outing where his thumping hits set the tone. That kind of development and willingness to adapt is just astounding and really speaks volumes about his work ethic and potential.
Jordan Hicks steps up:
In my opinion, this was a statement game from Jordan Hicks. He has been impressive all year, but this was the sort of game that forces you to talk about him. From tipping the first pick of the day to tying Jalen Mills with a team-leading 10 tackles, the processing speed Hicks has is accompanied by rapid footwork and an ability to take out the middle of the field. Hicks is one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL when healthy and there may be no stopping him now.
What do now?
We have no idea how serious the bicep injury to Jason Peters is, but his play has been less than stellar this season. Do the Eagles keep him out and roll with ‘Big V’, who would be playing LT for the first time since 2016? Or do they risk keeping Peters in, exposing Wentz to blindside pressure? It’s a tough decision given the reputation Peters has, but one that has to be made.
Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com