By Connor Thomas

 

What a Sunday afternoon it was in The Mile High City. The Eagles had hands down their best game of the year so far yesterday in Denver as they controlled the Broncos for the large majority of the game. The offense looked powerful, but more importantly, prepared. The defense was solid, and forced a huge turnover when it was needed. The special teams even made a huge play to help keep the Broncos at bay. It was a complete team win, top to bottom, and for the first time we might actually have 5 positive takeaways in the Day After Digestion! Wait, actually there’s still a certain defensive end that wears midnight green white with black pants who was true to form despite the win. That aside, though, there are a bunch of positives to take away from the birds’ week 10 win:

  • 1.) Jalen Hurts had his best game as a pro

    The offense in today’s NFL starts with the Quarterback, and yesterday Jalen Hurts had the horsepower to get the Eagles revved up. The previous two weeks felt like an attempt to hide Hurts, but that wasn’t the case Sunday. He came out on absolute fire, and stayed that way all afternoon, completing 16 of his 23 attempts for a 69% (nice) completion percentage, 178 yards, and 2 TDs, both to DeVonta Smith. He did all of this while look more comfortable in the pocket than we’ve ever seen at the NFL level for the Alabama/Oklahoma product, which comes on the heels of months of criticism about his pocket presence. Not only did Hurts look like a starting NFL QB, but he also ran like a starting NFL running back. He ran 14 times for 53 yards against a solid Denver defense, and used his legs to help manage the clock and diversify the game plan. If this is the Jalen Hurts that the Eagles get every week, then they should absolutely feel comfortable giving him another season under center in Philly. Hopefully over the final 7 games of the season, this will be the player we continue to see.

  • 2.) DeVonta Smith is a bona fide NFL WR1

    Yesterday was DeVonta Smith’s 23rd birthday, and he celebrated with his best performance of his short NFL career. It was a 2 TD, 66 yard afternoon for the Eagles’ 2021 1st round selection, and the separation he got regularly against a good Broncos secondary was incredible. His first TD was a circus catch over former teammate Patrick Surtain II, which showcased Smith’s athleticism and leaping ability, while the 2nd score was a short yardage situation where his route was so crisp that he seemed un-guardable. Think about the last time an Eagle had that skill set at WR, and you’re probably going back to one man: Terrell Owens. It’s been over 15 years since T.O. played for Philly, but when the birds took the former Heisman winner Smith at #10 in this year’s draft they hoped he would end that stretch of no superstar wide outs. Well, after yesterday, I think it’s a safe bet to say that the slim reaper has a floor of at least a #1 WR on an NFL team. The best part? His ceiling might be even higher.

  • 3.) Let’s give some props to Davion Taylor

    When the Eagles took Davion Taylor in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft, there were a lot of questions about what his ceiling could be in the league. Taylor was still learning to play football after barely playing the sport in high school, but the birds saw something in his raw athleticism. Since that selection, the young linebacker has looked mostly lost at the professional level, having trouble even getting on the field for his first year in the league. This year, more out of necessity, Taylor has started 5 games at LB for the Eagles, and this past weekend was his best performance yet. He had two impact plays with a pair of forced fumbles, one that Darius Slay ended up returning for a TD that put the game seemingly out of reach for the Broncos going into the 4th Quarter. He had 6 total tackles on the afternoon, which you would like to see go up, but for how he has looked since having a 3rd round pick used on him, yesterday was an awesome step. It’s interesting to note that Taylor played his college football for the University of Colorado and had his best game of his career while the Eagles were on the road in Denver. Maybe the familiarity with altitude played a part, but either way, it was an encouraging performance for a young player.

  • 4.) Your weekly Derek Barnett complaint

    Ok, I didn’t want to end this week’s digestion with a negative takeaway, so we’ll fit our weekly Derek Barnett complaint segment in here. IT’S ALWAYS HIM. Those words will be written on the gravestone of Barnett’s NFL career. Week in and week out, #96 gives another reason why he should not be on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles. We’re almost past the point of cutting his snap count down, nearing territory where the Eagles should just stop playing him altogether. It’s unbelievable at this point that a professional athlete cannot mentally make the adjustment to stop shooting himself and his team in the foot. Now, in fairness, this week’s incident was a ticky-tack roughing the passer call which shouldn’t exist in football, but the fact is that the rule does exist. Barnett has zero control over his actions, both prior to and after plays, and what he does during the actual football play does not nearly make up for it. Thankfully for the collective blood pressure of the Delaware Valley, this should be his last season playing in Philadelphia.

  • 5.) Darius Slay is having a sneaky great year

    The huge play of the game yesterday was started by Davion Taylor, but it was the 83 yard fumble recovery by Slay that really cemented the Eagles’ victory in Denver. It was a show of extreme athleticism, not only to recover the fumble after a couple bobbles, but to also race through the entirety of the Broncos offense on his way to the house call. Slay has now accounted for 4 turnovers on the year, recovering 2 fumbles and intercepting 2 passes, and he also knows what to do once he gets the ball in his hands. He’s got a total of 136 return yards on those 4 turnovers, and Nick Sirianni even joked postgame that he may have to get Slay some reps on the offensive side of the ball at some point. He’s been an impact player at CB, but he’s also done the little things well this season. Slay has only allowed 336 yards and 3 TDs through the air through 10 weeks, averaging out to 33.6 ypg and a TD every 3 weeks. It’s been a performance that lives up to the trade the birds made for him in 2020, and yesterday it showed clearly why Slay is a number 1 corner in the NFL.