Eagles observations: DeVonta Smith dominates, D-line explodes, and more


A monumental performance from the defensive line and another great game for Jalen Hurts secured a 24-8 Eagles win over Washington Sunday at FedEx Field.

Nine sacks for defense, three touchdown passes for Jalen Hurts, 2 ½ sacks for Brandon Graham, 169 yards for DeVonta Smith and a huge road win in a short week over Carson Wentz.

The Eagles have yet to figure out how to really finish teams off. But 3-0 is a pretty good place to be. The Eagles are one of four remaining undefeated teams and that number could drop by one or two Monday night.

What a great team the 2022 Eagles are.

1. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Eagles defensive line take over a football game like this. This is what Reggie, Clyde and Jerome used to do with teams. Take their hearts away. Crush their minds. Destroy their will. Remove their hopes. Carson Wentz’s 17 pass plays in Sunday’s first half resulted in three short deliveries, seven omissions, six sacks, one fumble and minus-16 net yards. ball game. Jonathan Gannon’s unit finished with NINE sacks – fourth in franchise history – threw a defensive shutout until the last few minutes and held Washington to 240 yards – the most in waste time. This is the first time since the Super Bowl season that the Eagles have kept consecutive teams to a single figure, and only the fourth time since 2009. This was old-school Eagles defensive football. The front four generated insane pressure, the back defended the few times Wentz could get the ball out and Washington had no response. The biggest question about this defense after two weeks was its ability to generate pressure, and they answered it quickly. Working behind a mediocre offensive line that was hit hard by injuries, Wentz didn’t stand a chance and the Eagles didn’t hold back their former teammate. He kept taking those seven steps and someone—Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, Javon Hargrave—was standing in his face every time.

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2. Let’s talk about Jalen Hurts. He is now without a doubt one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and it’s incredible to watch. The growth he shows is astonishing. Its accuracy. His decision making. The speed with which he progresses. These are successive masterpieces by the 24-year-old Hurts, and he deserves so much credit for the work he’s done to get the player we saw as a rookie from the one we see today. He is 24 years old and has played 22 games in his life, and he is absolutely crushing it. Another 330m passing performance, three passing TDs, no turnover. He has the attack completely under control and every week keeps a lot of doubters and haters silent.

3. Nick Sirianni has such a good sense of what his team needs in terms of training, and he has really pulled back this past week. They had a no-pads walkthrough on Wednesday, a dozen starters were out of Thursday’s practice, and Friday’s practice lasted about 70 minutes. That’s the work week. Tons of film, tons of meetings, tons of studying, but keep the boys going and get them as fresh as possible for a road race in a short week. It certainly worked. The Eagles dominated on both sides of the ball from the start, barely looking like a team away from home coming out of a Monday night game. There are many reasons guys love to play for Sirianni, and his willingness to make sure they’re physically okay rather than tearing them down is a big one.

4. We talked a lot during training camp about how much the presence of AJ Brown would help DeVonta Smith, and we certainly saw it on Sunday. If teams want to spread their coverage to Brown – and you can’t blame them – Smith will either be open or have a bargain matchup, and the kid is so incredibly talented that he’s going to make plays if he has the chance. This was a remarkable performance from Smith, who finished with eight catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. Smith has such a flair for flying high and coming down with circus catches in traffic, and he’s so fast that he’s always a threat to pick up big yards after the catch, which we also saw on Sunday. The Eagles have had many elite receivers over the years. They now have two and a quarterback who knows how to get the ball. I don’t know how to stop these guys.

5. Got to give Avonte Maddox some props for that game on 4th-and-goal early in the fourth quarter. Wentz completed a short pass to Logan Thomas’ tight end, but Maddox stopped him just before the goal line for another stop in the red zone. Thomas is 6-6, 250. Maddox is 5-9, 185. Maddox is one of the best slots in the league, and his ability to play as physically as he does at that size is incredible.

6. What if Fletcher Cox turns back the clock? Cox had a half sack in Detroit, a full sack against the Vikings and 1 sack in Washington, and the 3.0 sacks through Week 3 are the best start of his career. He also had 3.0 three games in the 2016 and 2018 seasons. More important than the pocket numbers is simply the way Cox plays. He has juice that he hasn’t had in years. Heck, he’s only half a sack away from his 2021 season tally. He’s had 13 ½ sacks in 47 games over the past three years, but now we’re seeing a Fletcher Cox really wreaking havoc in the trenches.

7. You must love how many deep shots the Eagles make. He had five Sundays – 45, 44 and 31 yards to Smith, 40 yards to Grant Calcaterra (on his first NFL goal), and 38 yards to Brown. Hurts had 12 completions of 30 yards or more in 15 games last year. Hurts has become so much more accurate by casting deep. He is now deadly. Four different Eagles receivers have already caught a pass of at least 40 yards and it’s only week 3. This offense has so many ways to keep pressure on a defense, and hitting chunk plays makes them even harder to stop.

8. What about BG? What an achievement. The dude is 34 years old, in his 13th season and coming off a bloated Achilles, and he tied the second best game of his career with 2 ½ sacks. Brandon Graham had 3.0 sacks in a game against the Jets in 2019 and 2 against the Bengals in 2012, and he was unblockable on Sunday. Added FIVE quarterback rushes, a tackle for loss, a pass knockdown and a forced fumble. BG – who is 34 years and 175 days old – is the second oldest player in franchise history with 2 ½ sacks in a game. William Fuller was 34 years, 289 days, when he sacked 3.0 against Kent Graham and the Cards in 1996. Are you kidding me? BG still has it.

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9. Coaching winning takes many different forms, and that came to the fore late in the first quarter after Jalen Hurts’ 45-yard completion to DeVonta Smith down the right sideline. It was clear from the replies that Smith didn’t quite get his left foot inside the lines, and the Eagles knew that. But commanding coach Ron Rivera was a little slow throwing the challenge flag, and Sirianni knew the only chance the Eagles had to make the game count was to call a play ASAP. It didn’t even matter if it worked. Just do a play. So they made no effort and scrambled to the line, snapped the ball just as everyone was seeded and got the playoff before Rivera could raise the challenge flag. The Eagles won two yards on the game — a pass to Dallas Goedert — and they eventually got a field goal on the drive. All because they played a play before Washington could throw a challenge flag. To be ready for that situation and run the rushed play cleanly without taking a penalty and 45 yards out of an incomplete pass was great.

10. One area of ​​concern in Week 4 is the Eagles’ inability to maintain offensive intensity late into the games. They led the Lions 38-21 after three quarters and held out after beating 14-0 in the fourth quarter. They led the Vikings 24-7 at halftime for a scoreless second half. And on Sunday, they scored 24 points in the first half before the attack more or less came to a halt. The Eagles scored 29-14 in the second half this year. They win, and that’s great, but they have to find ways to finish.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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