The Philadelphia Eagles fell just short of the mark this evening against the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a game that very few people gave the Birds a chance of winning coming into the matchup, and they made everyone who bet against them nauseous at the very least. Here’s what we learned.
The Eagles have a #1 receiver
For the second time this season, DeVonta Smith went off for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Carving up a weakened Los Angeles secondary, the rookie wide receiver looked electric from his first route until his last and came up with a series of big catches along the way.
He’s had a quiet few weeks but that’s not solely his fault having had to deal with sporadic QB play. What we learned today is that when Hurts is on, Smith is the brightest star in the Eagles offense.
Nick Sirianni is learning
After decimating the Lions by running the ball one week ago, the gameplan was to rinse and repeat tonight. It had to be. The Chargers had the second-worst run defense in the entire league and if there was ever a time to pound the rock, this was it.
Sirianni proved that he can learn from his mistakes. He orchestrated another run-heavy effort, with the team having 115 rushing yards at the half thanks to Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and QB Jalen Hurts. The team ended with 176 rushing yards in total which is a huge sign of encouragement.
For the second week in a row, Hurts was relegated to a ‘Baker Mayfield’ esque’ role, throwing only 17 times during the entire matchup. Frankly, that was all he needed to do and it very almost worked…had it not been for the defense.
The Chargers have an offense stacked with talent. From a young stud signal-caller to a strong WR corps, they’re by no means a quiet group. Their one weakness comes in the trenches after several injuries pushed the team back. Gannon failed to exploit that.
There was next to no pressure all game and the Eagles failed to register a sack. Knowing that the right side is vulnerable, there should’ve been a conceited effort to attack and get Herbert moving out of his comfort zone. This didn’t happen, and the corners sitting back 10 yards off the ball allowed a very savvy QB to complete 32/38 of his passes for 356 yards.
it was so effortless at times. The Eagles did look better against the Lions, but that all went out the window after the first drive here. It was back to basics. Fletcher Cox was seen sprinting into the flat to try and bring down Austin Ekeler, just as he complained about a few weeks ago, and the corners were sat so far off the ball that even Jalen Hurts would have a field day.
On the final drive of the game, after Jalen Hurts heroically came alive in the clutch once again to give his team a shot, Justin Herbert was able to make chunk play after chunk play while the Eagles watched their soul vaporize.
The most frustrating part is that the Chargers scored on all four of their second half possessions.
Something has to change…and it has to change soon.
Jalen Hurts shows heart
He might only be throwing 17 times per game, but Hurts looks comfortable and confident. It’s clear that his main strength is on the ground and the hustle he shows when carrying the rock is second to none. Hurts inspired his offense by throwing his body on the line on a key third down to propel the team down the field and keep the chains moving, as well as making some big-time plays in what was arguably his most important and impressive drive of the year not too long after.
This was probably the teams’ most complete offensive showing and if anything, it highlighted just how much better it could be with a QB who could reliably sling it down the field…and how much worse it would be without a quarterback who had such impressive awareness and athleticism. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Hurts showed everything he needed to tonight.
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire