The Philadelphia Eagles dropped their 4th straight game Sunday evening, losing to the Green Bay Packers, 30-16. Carson Wentz was benched midway through the 3rd quarter as the offense had mustered just 3 points. Jalen Hurts came in and something clicked. The offense moved the ball with ease and there was even a punt returned for a touchdown by Jalen Reagor.
While Wentz was in the game, he was sacked 4 times and averaged just 5.3 yards per completion. The offense struggled to get in a rhythm outside of the 1st drive, which yielded 3 points. In this game, the offense never seemed to find its footing with Wentz, who finished the game completing 6/15 passes for 79 yards through three quarters. As stated, once Hurts entered the game, something within the team clicked. Hurts finished the game completing 5/12 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown along with one interception, which he was hit on as he released the ball. Hurts also ran 5 times for 29 yards.
I think the thing that most stands out is the spark created by Hurts. There was life in the offense for at least a few drives. The defense got two consecutive 3 and outs, special teams came alive, and most importantly, the pass catchers seemed competent.
In my game preview, I stated that the key to the game for the Eagles was to run the ball. They did not do this nearly enough. Miles Sanders ran the ball only 10 times for 31 yards for an average of 3.1 yards. Jordan Howard in his first game back as an Eagles ran 4 times for 19 yards. This was not nearly enough against a team that struggles to defend the run like the Packers.
Elsewhere on the defensive side of the ball, the defense was able to sack Aaron Rodgers 2 times but it wasn’t enough due to the lack of coverage by the cornerbacks. As expected, Darius Slay, who left with injury, was matched up on Davante Adams in coverage. Slay gave up 5 catches for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns when matched up on Adams. As a whole, the defense struggled to defend through the air. Aaron Rodgers finished the game with 295 yards and 3 touchdowns. Early on, the one area that they were able to stymie was the Green Bay running game. However, that evaporated late in the 4th quarter when Aaron Jones ran a 77 yarder to the house to put the game out of reach.
This game in total, presented 2 main to grow things and build off of:
- Jalen Reagor looked like the wideout the Eagles drafted in the first round out of TCU. He was able to take an end around for an 11 yard first down, catch a 34 yard pass from Jalen Hurts, and return a 73 yard punt for a touchdown
- Jalen Hurts brought a spark to the football team that seemed to energize all three phases of the football team. Granted, there was really no game-tape on Hurts, the Green Bay defense didn’t game-plan for him, and Green Bay possessed a 3 touchdown lead at the time when Hurts came into the game. Nevertheless, the spark provided is undeniable.
Doug Pederson was pretty pedestrian for most of this matchup, outside of the first Eagles drive. The offensive line gave up 7 sacks in total, 4 went to Wentz and 3 went to Hurts. There was constant pressure and little time to throw for both quarterbacks. It was more evident with Wentz, who after the first offensive drive, was not rolled out of the pocket a lot. Hurts came in and his mobility was evident from the start. However, it’s telling that the offense sort of changed once Hurts came into the game. With Wentz, the pocket was not moved and he was a lame duck behind that offensive line. But with Hurts, he was rolled out of the pocket from the moment he stepped on the field. It can’t be ignored that there is a form of disconnect between Wentz and Pederson.
Travis Fulgham appears to have come back down to Earth after a 4 game stretch in which he looked like the NFL’s next big thing. Fulgham was targeted just 2 times and didn’t have a single catch in today’s matchup. It’s astonishing how you can have a player who obviously has some talent but he isn’t looked to early on as a potential factor in the passing game. The offense has seemingly just passed Fulgham up. It’s an alarming occurrence.
In totality, this game was a loss. When the defense shows up, the offense goes 3 and out and when the offense shows up, the defense gives up a 77 yard rushing touchdown. It knocked the Eagles further from a possible NFC East lead and the only saving grace being a week 3 tie. This team, although there was spark at a point in this game, is still not a good football team. Next week the task will not be any easier, as the NFC’s number one seeded team comes to town, as the Eagles take on the New Orleans Saints. Oh, and there may be a quarterback controversy emerging.