December 2, 2023

Keeping things light after a concerning victory — 5 observations from Commanders-Eagles a day later


Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles won on Sunday afternoon. Bottom line.

However, they made so many mistakes they could have lost this game in so many different ways.

It was far from pretty and it was far from easy, but the Eagles bounced back from all of their errors and found their way to a 34-31 overtime win over the Washington Commanders in front of 69,879 fans at Lincoln Financial Field, giving them a 4-0 start.

I am going to try and keep things positive here with my five observations a day later:

Jake Elliot, my goodness

Jake Elliot, or as DeVonta Smith calls him, “Chicken Little,” is the definition of him.

He has been so clutch, even from his rookie season in 2017 where in Week 3 he hit a 61-yard field goal to win the game.

That was no chip shot in overtime to win the game Sunday, it was a 54-yard game-winning shot, and he nailed it.

Elliott is now 10-for-16 in his career from 54 yards and out and 7-for-8 on his last eight attempts. And when there’s a big kick to make, there is no doubt he is sinking it.

Elliott was 4-for-4 Sunday and he is 13-for-14 this season with the one miss coming from 55 yards. He is unbelievable.

Is 2022 Jalen Hurts back?

Jalen Hurts played better Monday night in Tampa Bay than the first couple weeks of the season, but it was no “reiging-runner-up-MVP” level stuff. However, on Sunday against Washington, we truthfully saw the Jalen Hurts of 2022 make his 2023 debut.

He was really good.

For the first time this season, he committed zero turnovers. He also made excellent decisions in the pocket, drove the ball down the field, converted some big third downs, and ran the ball effectively when he needed to.

Hurts’ final numbers were 25-for-37 for 319 yards and two spectacular TD catches from A.J. Brown. In the second half, he was 13-for-21 for 203 yards and two TDs.

This is a decent team when Hurts does not play significantly great, but they are pretty much unstoppable when he is elite like he was on Sunday.

A.J. Brown is officially here

Well, you can certainly say A.J. Brown made an impact Sunday. He had nine catches for 131 yards last week, and nine catches for 175 yards this week. When Brown gets rolling like this, he is unconquerable.

Hurts’ 59-yard touchdown to Brown was beautiful. It was his longest catch from Hurts.

An under-appreciated element of that play was Olamide Zacchaeus’ blocking down the field. OZ is freakishly fast and he was able to get in front of the play and make a hold for Brown to weave his way through the last couple of Washington defenders inside the 10.

Nicholas Morrow?

Nicholas Morrow. Hello.

Morrow was by the Eagles a few weeks ago. After watching him on Sunday, that is crazy to think about.

He took a spot on the practice squad and stepped up huge in the last few weeks for the injured Nakobe Dean. On Sunday, he balled out.

He became the Eagles’ first off-ball linebacker with a three-sack game since Garry Cobb in 1986 in Atlanta and the first with three sacks, three tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits as far back as QB hit stats go, 2006.

Need more from the D-line

Saved the negativity for the last observation. You are welcome.

Anyway, more needs to be done from the Eagles’ defensive line, who were the best in football last season with 70 sacks.

The Eagles had five sacks but other than the three from Morrow, there were just two from the defensive line. Josh Sweat recorded one and then when Sam Howell tripped on left tackle Charles Leon’s foot and another from Haason Reddick.

Howell deserved a ton of credit, the 23-year-old made his fifth NFL start Sunday and was sacked 19 times in his first three games. He stood tall in the pocket and had a career game, completing 71% of his passes, throwing for 290 yards, leading the Commanders back to tie the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Through four games, the edge rushers have just 3.5 sacks (2.5 by Sweat and one by Reddick). The interior linemen have 3.5. That equals a total of six sacks in four games from the D-line.

I expected the Eagles’ front to take advantage of a pretty bad Washington offensive line and dominate this game like they have done in the past. They may have added some pressure and a few hurries, but this is supposed to be the best defensive line in football and they are yet to show it.

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