The Eagles 4-game losing streak has come to an end. The Saints 9 game winning streak has come to an end. The Philadelphia Eagles have defeated the number one defense in the NFL. It was a total team effort. The offense had rhythm, the defense got two turnovers, and the special teams (mainly Cameron Johnston) was a plus.
Jalen Hurts, in his first career start, made several plays both through the air and on the ground. Under Hurts the offense moved with fluidity and confidence. The main thing for this offense was the constant positive yardage. There were very few negative plays, outisde of a few penalties (mainly false starts). Hurts finished with 167 passing yards and a touchdown, along with 106 yards on the ground. Hurts’ poise and calmness as a passer was exhilarating to see. He didn’t panic when there was pressure in his face, including a touchdown pass in which he hung in the pocket got hit and floated a back shoulder fade to Alshon Jeffery. He added undeniable vitality to this offense.
Evidence of that vitality can be seen in the Eagles being the first team to have a 100-yard rusher against the Saints in New Orleans’ last 56 games. In fact, they had 2 (Hurts and Sanders).
Miles Sanders had a day. Sanders finished with 14 carries for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sanders averaged 8.2 yards per carry against the NFL’s number one defense. Sanders displayed great patience as a runner, waiting for holes to open and blockers to get in position. It was a great game from number 26.
On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive line was able to get constant pressure on Taysom Hill, sacking him 5 times. Along with those sacks, Josh Sweat was able to strip Hill of the ball and Duke Riley also came up with an interception. In this game, multiple players went out with injury. Malik Jackson, Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Rodney McLeod, and Derek Barnett all exited with injury. Nevertheless, they were able to hold on for the victory. A defensive player I want to highlight is Jalen Mills. He’s displayed great versatility throughout this season. He’s shifted from corner to safety and the drop of hat on multiple occasions and in this game he did that exact thing.
The sort of spark that was talked about by the national and local media was definitely brought by Hurts, but in my opinion, it’s bigger than that. All season the offense lacked fluidity and for lack of a better term, electricity. Hurts added all of that. Having a quarterback with fluid running ability opened up so much for this offense. Hurts wasn’t sacked and the offense stayed out of negative plays because of Hurts ability to consistently gain positive yardage, whether that be small gains or big gains. Doug Pederson rolled Hurts out a few times and that led to gains. The Eagles ran some RPO concepts which gave the New Orleans defense something to think about, especially at the linebacker spot. I think that’s the biggest impact having a QB like Hurts has. The ability to give defenses something to think about. Yes, Carson Wentz can run, but Hurts is a legitimate weapon on the ground. That advantage opens up a lot in the passing game, the running game with Miles Sanders and the type of plays that can be called.
All in all, this was a great win for the Eagles. All 3 phases contributed, outside of Jake Elliott, who missed 2 field goals (including a 22 yarder). With a win over the number 1 defense, the Eagles are now 4-8-1 with 3 games remaining on the schedule. In this game there was an energy that hasn’t been seen in a while. There was a composure seen on both sides of the ball that led to this win. The Eagles will take on the Arizona Cardinals next week.