Facing a 5-1 team with a staunch defense and the ageless wonder “mother nature” the Eagles went into Buffalo and came out with a 31-13 win and a .500 record . It was such a key win for a team that was reeling after back to back beat downs against the Vikings and Cowboys. To act like the Buffalo Bills are some legit Super Bowl contender would be foolish, because they aren’t. They are a fugazi 5-1 with an offense that has more “who the hell is that guy” than household names. But lets break down the how the Eagles did it.
- The Defensive Line: The often criticized (by me. Ill take the L on this one) Eagles defensive line showed up to play in a big way this Sunday. They were in Josh Allen’s face the entire game, forcing pressure that resulted in three fumbles (one of which was recovered). Fletcher Cox in particular finally came to play after sitting out the first seven weeks of the season being a non factor this season. Up until now his biggest impact was an off the field incident and that’s never a good thing for a man who signed a $100+ million dollar contract. BUT that finally changed Sunday as Cox made his impact early, and often. He, along with Brandon Graham, made life a living hell for Allen and the Bills running game. Cox finished with 6 tackles and a 1.5 sacks while Graham finished with 6 tackles and 1 sack. The Eagles refused to do what they normally seem to do against bad QBs, which is allow them all day to throw *cough Case Keenum cough*
- The Run Blocking: The Eagles offensive line opened up some BIG holes for Eagles running backs and they took advantage of it. The Birds pounded the rock for 218 yards on 41 attempts. Establishing the run in a game like this was so crucial because neither team wanted to get into a situation where they were behind and forced to throw the ball thanks to swirling winds coming from Lake Erie. Even Issac Seumalo (seriously) got to the second level on some runs and screen passes which led to big yardage.
- Carson Wentz: He wasn’t asked to go out and win it all by himself, but more so manage the game and that’s what he did. When he did have to make throws he delivered with 17/24 passing for 172 yards and 1 TD. He also improvised on a key third down late when a designed WR screen pass, the ones that have become way too predictable and not all that effective, got snuffed out early and Carson decided to tuck and run for the first down. This eventually led to a Jordan Howard 3 yard TD run. Wentz protected the ball, protected himself, and was productive.
- Sidney Jones: He only got burned once out of the slot as he was tasked with covering Cole Beasley today. Beasley has always burned the Eagles and was kept in check for MOST of the day….minus the TD catch where Jones was not covering him.
- Orlando Scandrick: The veteran CB did a wonderful job switching from game to game and mixing in some red zone from his couch. Flawlessly maneuvering commercial break to catch action all across the league. He even showed patience on some plays when the refs were discussing potential penalties. He shined in his new role.
- Pass Blocking: As good as the run blocking was, the pass blocking was just as bad. Guys were coming off the edge untouched at times which caused situations of Wentz turning to throw only to find two Bills defensive lineman in his face. This is going to come as a shock but most of the blame can be targeted to the left side of the line where Issac Seumalo and rookie Andre Dillard didn’t do a great job at that whole “protecting the QB” thing. Wentz was sacked three times but it could have been way more. Luckily Wentz is somewhat mobile and was able to avoid would be tacklers. The offensive line (minus Brandon Brooks) needs to step it up in this area ESPECIALLY when you factor in Khalil Mack.
- Nate Gerry: He bit on everything. The first touchdown of the game could have been avoided if he simply waited for Josh Allen to cross the line of scrimmage. Instead he abandoned his assignment, Beasley, and it led to a Bills score. Not his best effort today.
- The “The seasons over” crowd. Its not over. They’ve learned nothing from the past 2 seasons.