The Philadelphia Eagles advance to 4-6 after upstaging the Broncos in a 30-13 win. Here are some quick takeaways from the game.
Development is the name of the game
It’s easy to confuse development with ‘rapid growth’, especially when there’s a lack of patience and a real sense of urgency to see that leap forward. It’s taken a while, but we’re beginning to see Jalen Hurts really make some forward progress.
He wasn’t perfect, but Hurts completed 16/23 passes for 2 TD’s and 1 INT and 178 yards. For a quarterback who has struggled with accuracy all season, he excelled. Hurts refuses to become gun-shy after his struggles and continued to seek out his targets deep down field. He showed a real determination to move in the pocket with confidence as opposed to escaping at the earliest opportunity and moved the ball over the middle and to his left with more assertion.
It’s everything Eagles fans have needed to see from the young quarterback. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with a balanced offense thanks to some strong gampelanning from Nick Sirianni, who is also exhibiting those signs of growth, Hurts flourished.
The offense wasn’t perfect, but it worked. There were designed screens (!) and a varied rushing attack involving all three backs. Quez Watkins dropping a touchdowns wasn’t ideal, but in the name of growth, we forgive that. Sirianni vowed to run the ball against a much more intimidating run defense, putting confidence in his players, and it worked.
The birthday boy shines
DeVonta Smith turned 23-years-old today and marked the occasion by ripping the Broncos secondary to shreds. He led the team in receiving with 66 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the process, going up to snag a ridiculous catch in the corner of the endzone early on.
After a quiet few weeks, Smith has been red-hot as of late and his quarterback is more than happy to ride that wave and keep throwing the ball in his direction. It’s working well.
The biggest takeaway here is that it feels so damn good to finally talk about a devout #1 receiving option for the Eagles who isn’t a temporary one.
Jonathan Gannon isn’t going to get the same praise. His defense continues to play undisciplined football and the lapses in coverage were all too easy for Denver to eat up. Some big plays from guys like Davion Taylor and Darius Slay really tiled the scale in Philly’s favor, but it could’ve very easily gone another way.
Taylor forced a pair of fumbles on the day and deserves a ton of credit after a very tame start to his NFL career. Unfortunately for him, he’s playing in a defense where standing out doesn’t come easy.
Derek Barnett continues to receive more flags per game than I’ve received valentines cards in my life (3) and the weaknesses in coverage were as evident as ever.
The defense had a variety of splash plays today, but they largely came as a result of Denver’s offensive malpractice. Had it not been for an oddly inaccurate Teddy Bridgewater, this scoreline could’ve been much closer and there’s no way that Gannon wouldn’t have breathed a huge sigh of relief after Darius Slay’s defensive score put the nail in the coffin.
Quick fire takes
Yes, I was wrong. The new uniforms look pretty good. I just don’t like change, okay? I should probably talk to my therapist about that.
They’re also 1-0 in this uniform combination which is officially a 100% win rate so I say wear them all the time.
Special teams looked great today. Jake Elliott pounded a 52-yard field goal and K’Von Wallace blocked one of Denver’s. What a time to be alive!
This was a very winnable game, but one that few expected them to come out on top in. With the schedule now easing up, who’s to say this team can’t rally to a playoff berth?
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire