Do you want a big win against a good opponent?
Does 35-10 work on 7-4 Titans?
The Eagles improved to a league-best 11-1 by completely dismantling the AFC South leaders Titans, and that’s three straight wins since their only loss of the season.
Jalen Hurts was great, AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith both went for over 100 yards, the defense shut down Derrick Henry and only allowed 209 yards, and it wasn’t even that competitive by the middle of the third quarter.
This team is something else.
Here are 10 instant notes on a huge win for the Eagles!
1. I’m not sure what Hurts has to do to prove he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but if that performance isn’t up to par, I don’t know what will. This was magic. Sheer magic from the 24-year-old Hurts, playing at such a consistently dazzling level that even the saddest and most miserable Carson Wentz supporter will have to admit this kid is a pop star and the Eagles have one of the most exciting out there. Young midfielders the league has seen in years. You want 150 rushing yards? check. Want 380 passing yards and three touchdowns? check. What can’t he do? Hurts was 29-for-39 for 380 yards, three TDs passing, one rushing, no interceptions again and a 130.3 passer rating on Sunday. He is only the fifth QB in NFL history with 375 passing yards, 74-percent accuracy, three TD passes, a rushing TD and no interceptions in a game. He’s now 214-for-318 for 2,560 yards this year with 20 touchdowns, three interceptions and nine rushing touchdowns, and the team he brilliantly leads is 11-1 and above the NFL world. And if you don’t like it, go ahead and become a Cowboys fan or a Commanders fan or something, because if you’re not 100% on board with Hurts at this point, there’s no hope for you and you’re not a true Eagles fan and you never were. The child is amazing.
2. The high point of this game for me was the defensive position late in the second quarter and keeping the Giants out of the end zone when they had a first-and-1 at the Eagles’ 17-yard line with a lead of seven. You had to like the game between Josh Sweat and Titans left fill-in Dennis Daley, and on third-and-six Sweat passed Daley and sacked Ryan Tannehill for a loss of five yards. The Titans settled for a field goal, the Eagles marched on the field and took a 21-10 lead going into halftime, the rout holding. The Titans did not score again and only managed 47 yards in their last seven drives. This was a monstrous defensive performance overall. The Eagles tackled as well as they have all year, they matched the physicality of the Titans, were massive in coverage and put pressure on Tannehill all day. And get this: The Eagles defense has allowed one touchdown after halftime in its last six games.
3. This sequence in the first quarter where Hurts hit Brown on a 40-yard touchdown run – the first not counting – was a very strong statement of where the Hurts and Eagles passing game was. Unstoppable is a good word for it. The first, down the right sideline, looked like a TD and was ruled a touchdown, but the Browns slipped a few inches out of bounds at the 1-yard line after tackling Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton, and it reversed into an incomplete pass. So on the next play, Shane Station ordered the same darn thing on the other side of the field. This time Fulton fell (after a tackle on Brown), and it was an easy 40-yard TD run. This one counts. The way it hit me was, “We can do whatever we want whenever we want, and you can’t stop us.” What a thing. As a defense, this should be overwhelming. Do you get a break from the call and then allow the same thing one time later? Hurts and his receivers have this mentality that they can hit from anywhere on the field at any time, and that makes them very difficult to stop.
4. And how good are Brown and Smith? They became the first pair of Eagle wide receivers to exceed 100 yards in the same game since Oakland’s DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper in 2013 on Nick Foles’ seven-touchdown game. Both had long touchdowns, both made hard catches, and both were great all afternoon. This game clearly meant a lot to Brown, but he didn’t let it distract him, getting his first 100-yard game since Pittsburgh. It’s been a tough stretch for Brown — he’s averaged 47 yards in his last four games with that upset-turned-international smart against Washington and had two fumbles — but he’s an elite player and we all saw it on Sunday. And for Smith, it was his first 100-yard game since Week 3 in Washington, and they’re both now back on pace for 1,000 yards. Hurts so lucky to have these guys. Brown is 25 years old. He is 24 years old, and Smith is 24 years old. And the NFL better get used to these guys making plays all over the place.
5. A week ago, the Eagles faced a defense that was 8th ranked against a pass and 32nd ranked against a run, running 49 times and throwing 28. This time, they faced a defense that ranks 29th against the pass and third against the run. They blasted 24 times and threw 41 times. It sounds obvious, attacking the weakness of the team, but how many play-callers have we seen that are very smart to do the obvious thing and are very intent on running everything into the great playbook and trying to take the defense by surprise and go against the grain and all that? Last week, the Eagles ran at will against the Packers’ weak front, and Steichen kept asking. This week, Hurts continued to play the passing game, and Steichen continued to demand it. I haven’t tried to outdo anyone. I wasn’t trying to be nice. Just keep attacking the opponent’s weakness. I’m weird love it. This team can win in many ways, and the past two weeks have really hit this home.
6. I’m not sure if there was a slight drop in his rep or the presence of Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph or something else, but Fletcher Coz in the last couple of weeks has turned back the clock and played some of his best football for a long time. Cox got off to a good start in the first two games of the season but got back on the floor very quickly. But the Packers game was his best of the year, and Sunday’s best was against the Titans. Really made a huge impact on my running and also got my 5th sack of the year.
7. Speaking of run defense, the best thing the Eagles did on Sunday was shut down Henry early and then build a big enough lead that the Giants couldn’t lean on Henry and had to pass every time. Titans only have one way to win matches. Shut down the other team and let Henry run. The Eagles simply didn’t allow that to happen. Henry ran 11 times for just 30 yards – 2.7 per carry – with a long gain of eight yards. After halftime, with the Eagles leading, it was only 4-for-9. Non-factor total. Once Tannehill started throwing it every once in a while, it was over. The Eagles scored six sacks and held the Titans to 86 yards. The coaches created a perfect plan for the Titans and the players executed it. This is a beautiful thing.
8. I’ve been yelling for the Eagles to throw more on their backs. They were last in the NFL with 123 running back receiving yards coming into the game, but Miles Sanders, Kenny Ginwell and Boston Scott could all play in a receiving game. Their Sunday afternoons combined for 57 yards, and Gainwell in particular was outstanding, with a 14-yard catch and run on a Smith TD drive and a 10-yard TD drive at the end of the first half. As long as Dallas Goedert is out, the more Steichen players get involved in the passing game the better.
9. They beat it, but nine penalties in the first 20 minutes of the match? What is happening here? The Eagles beat most of them—a sweat sneak on 3rd and 4 gave the Titans a first down on a TD drive—but that’s actually been an issue for a while now. The Eagles finished with 12 penalties for 80 yards (compensating 13), seven of them being false starts, and nine on offense. They’ve now allowed 41 penalties in their last six games, which is just too much and something they’ll have to clean up.
10. Brilliant effort all around by the beleaguered Michael Clay Special Teams units. Christian Ellis started to raise the coaching staff level with a big hit on Arryn Siposs’ first punt Briton Covey hit the three longest catches of his career — 21, 25 and 27 yards — and averaged 17.5 on five catches, punt and kick coverage were intact, and we didn’t get Get started on the weekly special squads details. it’s huge. Need more of this.
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