Victory Tuesdays feel great when your team dominates on Monday night football. The Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles both used massive first halves to put their games away on Monday night.
For the Eagles, a 24-7 drubbing over the Minnesota Vikings is a great sight to behold. The offense, again, put up over 480 yards of total offense and the defense dominated for the entire game.
While there is much to celebrate over a 2-0 start, it’s time to look back on those that played well, and those that struggled in week two’s contest.
Stock Up: Jalen Hurts
“Stock Up” isn’t able to convey the type of game Jalen Hurts had on Monday night. Stock “Soaring” or “Stock on Fire” makes more sense.
Jokes aside, Jalen Hurts was the best player on the field Monday night. Minnesota kept the Eagles quarterback in the pocket, and all Hurts did was dissect the defense to an excellent 83% completion percentage, over 300 yards passing, and three total touchdowns.
Minnesota forced Hurts to show his improvements time after time and Hurts made them pay each time. Accurate throws in the pocket that showed off the arm strength, throws to the left after multiple reads, Hurts did it all in incredible fashion.
The first half alone was enough to show why Hurts is on track to be anointed as the franchise quarterback.
Stock Down: Haason Reddick
Reddick struggled in his home opener to the Philadelphia crowd, and some of it is not completely his fault. Reddick was brought in to be a top pass rusher, and help Philadelphia improve on a unit that was 31st in the league in sacks last year.
Instead, Reddick has been used in coverage several times and when he has rushed the passer, he hasn’t made much of an impact.
When in coverage, Haason Reddick missed a couple of tackles and ultimately looked like a fish out of water. I don’t put all that on him because Gannon should understand where his skillset lies, but even when he is rushing the passer, he needs to start producing.
Stock Up: Eagles’ secondary
I could dedicate an entire paragraph to Darius Slay alone, but I don’t think it’s fair to the others. When Jonathan Gannon called for James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, and Slay to press, the Vikings’ offense was suffocated to a halt.
It was beautiful.
The Eagles secondary as a whole gave up just seven points and had three interceptions. It may have been Kirk Cousins as their opponent, but this is the same QB, and a team that blew threw the Packers last week. There’s no comparison here: the Eagles just dominated.
There’s a lot than can be said about Jonathan Gannon’s “head in the sand” approach to some things, but the secondary on Monday night allowed him to get much more creative.
Stock Down: Jordan Mailata
He hasn’t played like that through the first two weeks. A 59.8 grade per Pro Football Focus is just average for a player that was third amongst tackles last season.
Mailata gave up a sack and multiple pressures in Monday’s win while also being charged with a couple of holding penalties. We’ll talk more about the penalties in a little bit, but the Eagles are paying Mailata to dominate and protect Hurts’ blindside.
The Aussie will need to be a lot better over the next few weeks against better pass rushers or else Jalen Hurts is in for a long month.
Stock Up: Balanced Attacks
Jalen Hurts did an excellent job of distributing the football to all his weapons Monday night in a way we’ve seldom seen from Eagle quarterbacks.
DeVonta Smith led the team in receiving with seven catches, but Quez Watkins, AJ Brown, and Dallas Goedert all recorded over 60 yards in receiving as well. At one point, when Hurts started the game 11-11, he had hit six different receivers.
That balanced attack makes the Eagles so difficult to defend. When Jalen Hurts is winning with his arm it allows for Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen to be even more creative than before.
The Eagles getting their offensive weapons the ball was a great sight to see and continuously shows Hurts’ growth as a passer.
Stock Down: Early-season penalties
If there was one frustrating takeaway from last night, it was the over-aggressive penalties on offense that kept them off the field from time to time.
Philadelphia was called for three “Ineligible men-downfield” penalties because their offensive line was too aggressive getting upfield, while DeVonta Smith was called for a phantom OPI on a pick play where he didn’t make contact with the defender.
The good news is that it is correctable. The Eagles went through this same issue early on in the 2021 season and the coaching staff corrected it. With the team not practicing as hard as others in training camp, this can happen as well.
I’ll take the fully healthy team not playing their best ball but still at 2-0 though.
Stock Up: the NFC East
For as much of a joke as the division has been, the NFC East has one of the better division records out there through two weeks. The Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys all won this week, while the Commanders fell to an underrated Detroit Lions team.
The Giants and Cowboys face off on Monday night next week while the Eagles are in Washington. A win on Sunday, on a short week, could give Philadelphia a major boost in the division.
Without Dak Prescott, it could be hard for the Cowboys to make up for major injury losses. The Giants and Commanders both have obvious holes but are playing well right now.
The division is there for the taking for the Eagles. They will need to rise above and win an important game in five days.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum