A lot to like from the Eagles road trip to Landover Maryland over the weekend. They absolutely bloody’d and dominated the Commanders. Tough to decide on who was more of a star yesterday? The Eagles defensive line who tallied 9 sacks? Jalen Hurts who basically quadrupled Carson Wentz’s performance? DeVonta Smith who had a career day? So much to like from yesterday. The Eagles defensive performance might get the top prize yesterday because of how much they dominated the Washington offense but Jalen Hurts putting up the numbers and production he did would’ve gotten top billing any other day.
Let’s start with the defense. That was the defenses coming out party. 9 sacks. Part of that was a terrible day from Washington’s offensive line but the Eagles were swarming all over the place. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat all had their best games of the year. Haason Redick got his first sack of the year as did Javon Hargrave. Here’s a video of all 9 sacks from the Birds yesterday.
The Commanders' OL and QB share blame for the sacks today (Sam Cosmi didn't have his best game) ... but here are all 9 of them if you want to relive that experience: pic.twitter.com/8N2rOt3U35— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 26, 2022
Then to the secondary. They allowed -16 first half passing yards from the Commanders. Let me repeat that, -16 yards!! How is that even possible in all honesty? Part of that credit goes to the defensive line in making Wentz’s life absolute hell but a large part of that goes to Slay, Bradberry, Maddox, Epps and Gardner-Johnson. That is an elite secondary. Slay is rightfully so collecting player of the week awards (more on this in a second) but James Bradberry is the silent killer of this defense. He’s returned to his shutdown corner form and the Eagles defense is reaping all the benefits. Entering week 3 yesterday, Darius Slay was statistically the best CB in the league. Just look for yourselves. Just an overall banner day for Johnathan Gannon and the Eagles D. The LB’ing core can’t be overlooked either, TJ Edwards rushed the QB on 2 of the sacks and overall him with Kyzir White and Reddick have really stabilized that unit. Next up, former coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jags.
Jalen Hurts, let’s give this man his due. This isn’t the same Jalen Hurts that played QB for the Eagles last season, this is a new man. He’s been nearly perfect through 3 games. He was great yet again yesterday. Stepping up in the pocket, making the deep throws, the intermediate throws, protecting the football and putting it where only his guys could make plays on. Elite QB play. The thing that might’ve been most impressive from Hurts yesterday was his pre-snap recognition and play calls. The DeVonta Smith 4th down TD call was not designed but rather recognized by Hurts and audible’d to.
Jalen Hurts said he made the play call on that TD to DeVonta Smith at the end of the half. Time was winding down, no timeouts, so he took it upon himself.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 25, 2022
The kicker: the play he called wasn’t even in the game plan for this week.
Here’s the play in all it’s glory…
Then there’s this play which was broken down well by Twitter account @thehonestNFL who explains it beautifully.
I liked this so much that I won’t wait until tomorrow morning to talk about it using the film. This is good enough. This is a snap won with pre-snap process and post-snap key reads. It looked simple, but he made it that way. A lot of QBs don’t make it simple for themselves. pic.twitter.com/F3rLuS61lD— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) September 25, 2022
Jalen Hurts was spectacular yesterday, bottom line. DeVonta Smith had another career day with some of his catches. An incredible sideline catch, a jumping high point ball by the goal line and of course the above shown TD grab on 4th down. Just an elite performance and helped statistically get him on track to achieve 1,000 yards on the year with his teammate AJ Brown. AJ is averaging 104 yards per game and DeVonta is now averaging 88 yards per game. This is the best Eagles WR pairing of my lifetime. I know it’s only three games but I’m willing to say I’d take these two over the next best which was Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Pretty cool to have historically such a weak spot of this franchise become an absolute strength.
The Eagles are now 3-0 and when you look around the landscape of the NFC, there’s no reason to believe they can’t compete with the elite teams in the NFC.
As always, go Birds.