The first quarter might have been miserable, but the ensuing three certainly made up for it. The Philadelphia Eagles were able to take care of business against a weakened Washington Football team, pushing themselves one step closer to a wildcard spot.
Jalen Hurts shakes it off
Maybe it was shaking off the bye week blues or perhaps it was because of the high ankle-sprain. Whatever it was, Jalen Hurts didn’t look great early on. It wasn’t even that he played badly, it was just that it could’ve been so much better. He moved the ball well, but missed a few easy home run hits before fumbling.
His struggles appeared to end with the first quarter though. Hurts must have heard ‘ Shake it off’ by Taylor Swift playing in the distance because he bounced back with menace. It’s exactly the kind of game fans wanted to see.
The touchdown pass to Greg Ward was a thing of beauty and there were some real darts thrown into the mix too. He ended the night with 296 yards passing, connecting on 20 of 26 passes, with one touchdown and a dodgy interception that bounced off of Goedert’s heel. He also added 2 rushing touchdowns and 38 yards on the ground, becoming the first QB to ever rush for 10 in a single season.
Hurts was efficient. Was there meat left on the bone? Sure. But it only acts as a salivating taster of the quarterback he could one day become provided he can find a way to make this kind of performance his baseline.
The offensive line is different gravy
It has to be said. I genuinely think this might be one of the greatest offensive lines we’ve ever seen in Philadelphia. I mean no disrespect to Tra Thomas or Mr Runyon, or even Todd Herremans. But we’re seeing future hall of famers in Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce absolutely decimate players to a point they run stride for stride with the ball carrier. We’re seeing backup guards carve open huge holes in the running lane. We’re seeing Jordan Mailata bulldoze everything in his path en-route to what could be one of the most remarkable NFL stories of our lifetime.
The 2017 offensive line was good, but the depth here is scary. Even when minimal, guys like Sua Opeta, who has two starts to his name, are playing out of their minds thanks to the brilliance of Jeff Stoutland.
The Eagles now have seven consecutive games with 175 or more rushing yards…and it’s mostly thanks to the guys up front.
Nick Sirianni, take a bow
Say what you want about Jalen Hurts, but you cannot argue that Nick Sirianni has come on leaps and bounds since his coaching debut in week one. The former Colts offensive coordinator has built a rushing juggernaut and the play designs are getting silkier and silkier.
It’s part of the reason why the struggles of Jalen Hurts are so painful to watch – the plays are there on a silver platter. Sirianni has opened up the middle of the field in recent weeks and allowed for Dallas Goedert to step up as TE1 and step out of the shadow of Zach Ertz. He’s finally realized that Miles Sanders is good for the offense, cutting him loose for his second consecutive 120+ yard rushing outing. He’s smart with his play-calls and isn’t needlessly aggressive.
Could the decision to not go for it on 4th & 1 and instead take a field goal have hurt? Maybe. But he also gave the Eagles a two-possession lead against a practice squad QB. You can’t argue with that.
After a sloppy start to the game that saw the Eagles go down two possessions early, it would’ve been easy for a team coming off of an extended bye to just roll their eyes and get complacent. It didn’t happen. The penalties stopped, the hard yards were churned out and I’ve never been so stunned by the offensive line in terms of constantly ending up blocking 20+ yards downfield.
Sirianni showed his mettle tonight and is really coming into his own as an NFL Head Coach.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire