Many analysts and critics were waiting to see if the Eagles could beat playoff-worthy teams as they had against some of the lowly teams they had faced this season.
Sunday was a major barometer that shut most of the critics up. Philadelphia dominated on all three phases of the game against a Titans team that has made a knack of physically beating through top opponents. There was a lot to like, and some things to work on following the team moving to 11-1.
Let’s see who stood out.
Stock Up: Jalen Hurts
For weeks we’ve heard people question if the Eagles could win through the air against a good defense on Sunday. While Tennessee’s pass defense has been one of the worst in football, they had given up some of the lowest points in football.
It didn’t matter against Jalen Hurts. The MVP candidate threw for 380 yards and accounted for four of the five touchdowns scored on Sunday. He shared the wealth to his top receivers and budding tight ends, he moved throughout the pocket extremely well and even threw the ball to his left and middle of the field at an incredible pace.
Jalen Hurts has been everything for Philadelphia this season and he showed it again on Sunday.
Stock Down: Offensive Line
After putting up one of the greatest performances in team history last week, the Eagles’ OL came back down to earth a tad against Tennessee. It wasn’t even about the lack of rushing yards – the Titans are one of the best rushing defenses and it wasn’t a surprise that Philly abandoned it early.
Philadelphia’s OL committed over 7 pre-snap penalties from false starts to questionable holding calls. It was unacceptable to see from such a great group.
Of course, if that was the worst showing of the year from a penalty standpoint, there were things to be happy about – specifically with their pass blocking. Hurts had a clean pocket for most of the game and dominated through the air.
The pre-snap penalties were unacceptable, but it’s pretty clear that is easily correctable with such a great group.
Stock Up: Britain Covey and Special Teams
Britain Covey had his best game as a returner this season and it wasn’t close. At one point in the game, Covey was averaging close to 20 yards per punt return and set the Eagles’ offense up with exceptional field position.
The Eagles’ punt and kickoff return coverage was very solid as well. After the game, Nick Sirianni called the performance from special teams “phenomenal” and for good reason. Massive hits from newcomer Christian Elliss, coupled with great field position for the offense, set the stage for the team’s most complete win of the year.
Stock Up: Defensive Line
I, like many analysts, felt that the Eagles’ poor run defense would be a major problem against the likes of Derrick Henry. Arguably the greatest runningback of the generation, Henry is on pace to lead the league in rushing again.
And yet, with Jordan Davis back, and paired with Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh made life miserable for Henry and the Titans offensive line in general. Henry was held to just three yards a carry, while his longest run of the day was just six yards.
Add in six sacks from the pass rush, and Sunday was easily the best game from the Eagles’ defensive line this season. A very encouraging sign with Dallas, New York, and Chicago upcoming.
Stock Up: A.J. Brown
In 2006, Terrell Owens got caught up in the soap opera business after leaving Philadelphia and his return went abysmally. A.J. Brown faced his former team and did the exact opposite.
It’s a sign of a well-run franchise that a revenge game of sorts is known throughout the league, but still won’t be overly talked about throughout the locker room. Brown was sensational on Sunday with over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
He repeatedly showed how his big frame is so important to the team’s passing offense and continued to make big plays deep inside enemy territory. Brown talked a lot after the game about how much the win meant to him, but good on the Eagles to show their professionalism throughout the game and afterward.
Stock Up: Nakobe Dean
Can you take a wild guess who led the team in tackles on Sunday? Dean came in for an injured Kyzir White and made his mark throughout the quarter and a half that he played.
Dean drew a holding call on his first play and made an excellent tackle in pass coverage on the next one. There’s a reason that Dean hasn’t seen the field much this year with both White and Edwards dominating, but when was the last time the Eagles had a sideline-to-sideline player waiting in the wings?
The Eagles are loaded at linebacker of all places and Sunday was a great time for Dean to show some of the reasons why he was so coveted in the NFL Draft.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum