NFL analysts and fans alike knew the middle of the season would be the toughest test for the Philadelphia Eagles this year. After winning 14 games the year prior, matchups against top teams in both conferences made it difficult for people to see a path toward reaching that same win total.
Turns out, the Eagles’ latest win could set them on a path not just to match their win total from 2022, but to surpass it.
Philadelphia’s 37-34 overtime victory over a desperate Buffalo Bills team moved the organization to 10-1 for the second consecutive year – a feat only matched by the “perfect” Dolphins in the ’70s and Tony Dungy’s Colts team with Peyton Manning leading the charge.
Nick Sirianni’s group has similar characteristics to what the Dolphins of the past were able to accomplish. They can get behind in games against elite quarterbacks and still find ways to win because their quarterback is as elite and clutch as any in the game today.
On another victory Monday, we look back at some of the top takeaways from a rainy and stunning overtime victory over a team that needed a win – making Philadelphia’s performance all the more impressive.
Jalen Hurts solidified MVP candidacy
The city of Philadelphia has not had a football player like this in its entire history. Bryce Harper, Mike Schmidt, Dr. J., and Moses Malone are just some examples of guys who simply will their team to victory.
He’s only in his fourth NFL season, but Jalen Hurts is certainly on the path to being better than all of them.
For the fourth straight week, the Eagles franchise quarterback dug his team into a hole at the half. For the fourth straight week, he outdueled the opposition and made clutch throws/plays to win the game. Whether it was finding Olamide Zaccheaus in the back of the end zone for a circus catch. There was an insanely accurate through to DeVonta Smith in overtime to put the Bills on the ropes.
And finally, there was a touchdown run that everyone saw coming to win the game. Hurts is truly a special football player who continues to show that he is not only a top-five quarterback in the game today, but he’s also the favorite to win the NFL’s MVP Award for good reason.
Going into the second half, Philadelphia had five possessions of four or fewer plays. In the second half alone, Hurts recorded over 200 total yards and four touchdowns. His five-touchdown day was the most by an Eagles QB since Michael Vick’s dominating performance against the Washington Redskins in 2010.
Hurts is a special player and is the front-runner to the MVP right now…duh.
Injuries have piled up again…this time on defense
Early on in the season, it was the offense that was decimated with injuries all along the ball. Now, it’s the defense’s turn. Zach Cunningham exited Sunday’s contest along with Fletcher Cox. Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter also left the game at separate times with injuries of their own.
Unlike the secondary injuries they’ve sustained, it’s going to be very hard for the Eagles’ defense to play well with several of their key defensive linemen out. Watching how the team recovers from a physical game like that against the 49ers and Cowboys will be extremely important.
Philadelphia has not clinched the top seed in the NFC just yet. A win against the 49ers would put a stranglehold on that mark though so long as key players stay healthy. It gets harder to do without their defensive line though if they can’t go.
D’Andre Swift should be the feature back from now on
14 carries, 80 yards to go along with a four-yard catch. D’Andre Swift’s rushing totals don’t seem like much in Sunday’s win, but he was the player the offense turned to as they tried to get out of their early-game funk.
He averaged 5.7 yards a carry and his 36-yard run in the third quarter led to a touchdown pass from Hurts to AJ Brown. For some reason, the Eagles turned to players like Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott for most of the second quarter when they fell behind 17-7…again.
That can’t happen though. Swift is Philadelphia’s best running back and needs to be featured as such in games like against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps they are saving him for later in the year and the playoff run, but wins are the only thing that matters right now. The best players should play in each moment and Swift is that kind of player.
Jordan Davis has his best game as a Pro
Safe to say Jordan Davis had his best overall game as a professional defensive tackle. Davis logged in 65% of the snaps – among the most ever for the second-year run stuffer and made several key plays to keep the Bills out of the end zone.
Davis was involved in five tackles with three coming on the final overtime drive. Davis will need to add some pass-rushing skills to his credit, but he is a dominant defensive player and a key cog in the locker room.
This is the best we’ve seen of Davis so far this year.
Jake Elliott is the best kicker in Eagles history…duh
59 yards in the wind and rain. Most kickers will completely shank a game-tying field goal like that.
Not Jake Elliott.
Elliott has been the best Eagles’ kicker in franchise history and easily the most clutch. We can look back and have so many examples of the undrafted kicker making insanely clutch plays to win the team their biggest victories in franchise history.
Whether it was the 48-yard field goal to put their Super Bowl lead to eight, a game-winning field goal against Houston to send them into the playoffs the next year, or this one on Sunday.
Elliott called this kick the most challenging of his NFL career but he nailed it again. Move over David Akers, Elliott is now the best kicker in team history.
One win away from “conquering” schedule gauntlet
We’re almost through Eagle fans. Philadelphia’s gauntlet stretch is halfway over and they have already done enough to come away with an AT WORST record of 3-3 in that stretch. Depending on where you rank the Dolphins and Commanders games, Philadelphia has won five in a row with four of those teams above .500 heading into the game.
That means the Eagles are just one win against either the 49ers, Cowboys, or Seahawks from winning the gauntlet part of their schedule – an insanely impressive mark when you look at how the team has won and who they have beaten.
On to San Francisco.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum