A stellar performance by the defensive line and another impressive game for Jalen Harts led Washington to a 24-8 victory over the Eagles on Sunday at FedEx Field.
Nine sacks on defense, three touchdowns to Jalen Harts, 2 ½ sacks to Brandon Graham, 169 yards to Devonta Smith and a big road win against Carson Wentz on a short week.
The Eagles still need to figure out how to properly finish teams. But it’s a great place to be 3-0. The Eagles are one of four undefeated teams remaining, and that number could drop by one or two on Monday night.
What an exciting team the 2022 Eagles are.
1. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an Eagles defense take over a football game like this with ease. That’s what Reggie, Clyde and Jerome used to do for teams. Take their heart. Crush their spirit. Destroy their will. Take away their hope. Carson Wentz’s 17 first-half passing plays on Sunday resulted in three short completions, seven incompletions, six sacks, one fumble and minus-16 net yards. Ball game. Jonathan Gannon’s unit finished with nine sacks — tied for 4th-most in franchise history — until the final few minutes, when the defense shut down and held Washington to 240 yards — most of them in foul time. This is the first time since the Super Bowl that the Eagles have held a streak in single digits and only the fourth time since 2009. This was old school Eagles defensive football. The front four applied crazy pressure, the backfield defended the few times Wentz was able to get the ball out, and Washington had no answers. The biggest question for this defense after two weeks is whether it can generate pressure and they answered that in a hurry. Wentz had no chance working behind the middle of the offensive line if he was hit by injuries, and the Eagles didn’t stop his former teammate. He kept taking those seven-point drops and someone — Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Josh Laub, Hassan Reddick, Javon Hargrave — was in his face every time.
2. Let’s talk about Jalen Harts. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and he’s incredible to watch. The progress he is making is amazing. Its accuracy. His decision. The rapidity of the growth. This is a masterpiece by the 24-year-old Hearts and he deserves a lot of credit for getting the player we saw as a rookie today. He’s 24 years old, and has started 22 games in his career, and he’s absolutely crushing it. Another 330-yard passing performance, three passing TDs, no turnovers. He is in full control of the offense, and every week he shuts down many doubters and hackers.
3. Nick Siriani has a good feel for what the team needs as far as training goes and has really supported them this past week. They had no-pads on Wednesday, a dozen starters sat out Thursday’s practice and Friday’s practice was about 70 minutes long. That’s a work week. Lots of film, lots of meetings, lots of study, but get the guys off their feet and get them as fresh as possible for a road game in a short week. Of course it worked. The Eagles dominated the ball on both ends of the game and did not look like a team coming out of Monday night’s game. There are many reasons why men love to play for Siriani and the desire to make sure they are physically fit is greater than grinding them down.
4. We’ve talked a lot in training camp about how much AJ Brown’s presence will help Devonta Smith, and we saw it on Sunday. If teams want to roll their covers on Brown — and you can’t blame them — Smith will be open or have an important matchup, and the kid is so talented he can play if he gets the chance. It was an outstanding performance by Smith, who finished with eight catches for 169 yards. Smith has such a knack for getting up and down in traffic circuses, and he’s so quick, he’s always a threat to pick up big yards after the catch, which we saw on Sunday. The Eagles have had a lot of streaky receivers over the years. Now they have two and a quarterback who knows how to get them the ball. I don’t know how you stop these people.
5. You have to give some props to Avonte Maddox for a play on 4th-and-goal early in the fourth quarter. Wentz completed a short pass to Logan Thomas, but Maddox put it in front of the goal line for a red zone stop. Thomas is 6-6, 250. Maddox is 5-9, 185. Maddox is one of the best slot corners in the league, and his ability to play as physically as he does at that size is incredible.
6. Fletcher Cox How about turning back the clock? Cox had half a sack at Detroit, a full sack against the Vikings and 1 ½ sacks at Washington, and his 3.0 sacks through Week 3 matched the best start of his career. He also had 3.0 ERA in the 2016 and 2018 seasons. More important than the sack numbers is the way Cox plays. It has juice that it hasn’t had in the last couple of years. In the year That’s already just half a sack from his 2021 season total. He had 13 ½ sacks in 47 games over the past three years, but we’re seeing Fletcher Cox now who is creating some offense in the hole.
7. You have to love how many deep shots the Eagles take. Five Sunday – 45, 44 and 31 yards to Smith, 40 yards to Grant Calcaterra (his first NFL target) and 38 yards to Brown. Injury had 12 completions of 30 yards or more in 15 games last year. Injuries made deep throws more accurate. Now it’s deadly. Four different Eagles receivers have caught at least 40 yards passing and it’s only Week 3. This offense has many ways to keep the pressure on the defense. .
8. How are you BG? What a performance. Dude is 34, in his 13th season, coming off a torn Achilles, and tied for the second best game of his career with 2 ½ sacks. Brandon Graham had 3.0 sacks against the Jets in 2019 and 2 ½ against the Bengals in 2012, and he was unstoppable on Sunday. Five quarterback hurries, a tackle for loss, a pass touchdown and a forced fumble. BG – 34 years, 175 days – is the second player in franchise history with 2 ½ sacks in a game. William Fuller He was 34 years and 289 days old in 1996 when he had 3.0 sacks against Kent Graham and the Cards. are you kidding? BG still has it.
9. Coaching wins take many different forms, and that was evident late in the first quarter after Jalen Hurts’ 45-yard completion to Devonta Smith on the right sideline. The returns clearly show that Smith doesn’t put his left foot in bounds and the Eagles know that. But Chiefs coach Ron Rivera was a little slow throwing the challenger flag, and Siriani knew the Eagles’ only chance to make the game count was to call the game ASAP. Even if it did, it wouldn’t matter. Just run a game. So they went to the line without any composure, all grabbed the ball at the right moment and got the game before Rivera threw the challenger’s flag. The Eagles gained two yards on the play — a pass to Dallas Goedert — and a field goal on the drive. Because they made a play before Washington threw the challenge flag. Being ready for that situation and executing the rushing game cleanly with no penalties and getting 45 yards from an incomplete pass was huge.
10. One area of concern heading into Week 4 is the Eagles’ inability to sustain offensive intensity late in games. They led the Lions 38-21 after three quarters and hung on after being outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter. They led the Vikings 24-7 at halftime. And on Sunday, they scored 24 points in the first half before the offense stalled. The Eagles are outscored 29-14 in the second half this year. They’re winning, and that’s great, but they have to find ways to finish.
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