While the typical response after any professional sports team defeats a team they should beat tends to discredit the winning team, I think it’s been said hundreds of times that a team can only play who they are scheduled to play. At the end of the day, a win is still a win.
Adding to that, prior to the dominant win in Week 8, no reasonable Eagles fan could objectively say that Philadelphia was clearly the better team between the two. We only knew that after the 44-6 win over Detroit. The win is definitely something to build off, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles are going to get A+’s across the board either.
Jalen Hurts: 9/14, 103 yards, 0 TDs/0 INTs, also had 7 carries for 71 yards
Watching Hurts throughout the game, he definitely seemed more confident and loose (who would have thought a running game could do this huh?). However, he just doesn’t seem to see the field good enough, or maybe doesn’t trust himself and what he sees yet.
Regardless, he looked better than he has the past few weeks, even if his numbers do not reflect that. He had a few nice throws (the late sideline throw to WR DeVonta Smith). He also missed a wide open Dallas Goedert early in the game which could have extended that drive.
Grade: B (because we need to leave room for improvement).
Boston Scott: 12 carries for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns &
Jordan Howard: 12 carries for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns
Several times throughout this game I thought to myself…”maybe trading Miles Sanders wouldn’t be horrible after all.” Howard is your bruiser, and he looked about as good as you would have hoped after being a practice squad’er for what felt like 5 years. Boston Scott is lightning in a bottle. This kid is so quick. He’s five yards downfield before you even know he has the ball and it’s really exciting to watch.
Kenneth Gainwell is still a rookie and made a costly mistake last week, so that explains him not being super involved this week. The running backs were great against Detroit, but they were never really the issue in Philly, but more on that later.
Grade: A (because you couldn’t have drew it up any better).
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends (combined for obvious reasons):
Dallas Goedert: 6 receptions on 7 targets, 72 yards, 0 touchdowns
The WRs were virtual non-factors in this game, much to the chagrin of team owner Jeffrey Lurie. I should note that Jalen Reagor looked like he was going to be a huge part of this game plan until his injury. Outside of that, the WRs didn’t do anything impressive.
I do love Dallas Goedert as TE1 and it seems like the Eagles do too. He simply makes plays. It’s very exciting to watch and gives you a glimmer of hope of what this offense could be if the coaching and game-planning establishes some consistency.
Grade: B+ for Goedert and pre-injury Reagor, C- for just about everyone else
The whole group: 0 sacks given up. Do you really need more?
This game was visibly over early-on. The offensive line completely bullied the Lions defensive line for most of the matchup. Having a consistently good running game gave them a ton of confidence and they really dominated. 2nd-year G Jack Driscoll was injured which is unfortunate because this group has continued to take hits over the past 3 seasons.
Jason Kelce seemed to be limping at one point but as the team’s iron man, he continued to play. It will be sad to see him retire, assuming rumors are true. Nevertheless, the line looked great…there’s not much else to say here.
Josh Sweat!!!!: 2 sacks, also Milton Williams, Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson, and Hassan Ridgeway
The whole unit showed out! More on coaching/scheme in a bit, but I really liked what I saw out of the group. I can’t nitpick but I’d like to see Fletch get back to his usual dominance. However, he’s drawing double teams and it’s allowed the young bucks to eat. Happy to watch Sweat get his sacks, even Barnett got one (and no bonehead penalties on him finally). Milton Williams, Tarron Jackson, and Hassan Ridgeway pitched in too!
T.J. Edwards: 13 total tackles (8 solo), 2 tackles for loss
Plain and simple, T.J. Edwards was ballin! As Seth Joyner and one of the other analysts put it, his pursuit and tackling was contagious and it got Davion Taylor involved too. Honestly, anything would have been better than watching Eric Wilson whiff on another 12 tackles. The linebackers showed up and found the ball. They got off blocks. They helped with gap control. They really did well. It kind of makes you wonder what the team’s record would be if the Eagles used this personnel and defensive philosophy from the get-go. But hey, we’re here now. Shoutout to JG for not being Jim-Schwartz levels of stubborn.
Grade: A (simply because no Eric Wilson)
Avonte Maddox: 3 tackles, forced fumble
Darius Slay: 1 tackle, 1 epic fumble recovery for a touchdown against his former team.
The DBs looked solid, mostly due to the better game-plan that helped them get more aggressive. Was it perfect? No, it wouldn’t be the Eagles if the secondary didn’t allow someone to eat (i.e T.J. Hockenson). But, there wasn’t a single point in this game where you thought the Lions were going to come back, so a few meaningless catches and drives can’t weigh into the grade too heavily.
They barely punted. No touchdowns given up on kickoffs. Jake Elliot came through when needed. This one’s simple.
Other than Week 1, this was the first game that I watched and thought to myself, “this was a well-coached game on both sides.” The penalties were minimal. If anything, the Lions looked like the pre-Week 8 Eagles with all those flags and mistakes.
Dan Campbell leaving points on the board was a hilariously necessary role reversal. I was impressed that Nick Sirianni stuck to the run game, and bullied the young lifeless Lions. Jonathan Gannon though. I mean, the aggressiveness, the personnel change, the game-plan. This is what we waited for. This is what we thought we’d get all year. My question for both Sirianni and Gannon though…is this the plan going forward, or are we going to see them abandon what worked and get bland and predictable again (much like what we saw in Las Vegas after a successful first drive on offense).
They were as good as they have been all season against the Lions. Here’s to hoping that is the new plan and we see it consistently going forward.
Grade: Unofficial B+ until we see it consistently and against better teams.
Final note: the Los Angeles Chargers, our opponent next week, are currently the 32nd ranked run defense. Run Nick, Run!
Cover Image Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images