Eagles Rout The Falcons In The Season Opener
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are back, and unlike last season the first week ends in a celebration.
What a performance from both sides of the ball. I'm not exactly sure how I am going to format this article, so we'll just see how it goes.
The Final Score was 32-6 Eagles, so let's dive into that.
Let's just talk about Jalen Hurts first. Wow. I mean, what a season opener for him. 27/35, 264 Passing Yards, 62 Rushing Yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Hurts lead this offense with a pace and security that the Eagles just didn't have last season. On the first offensive drive, Hurts completed multiple screens to Quez Watkins, and ended the drive with a perfect TD pass to DeVonta Smith. After the next two drives lead to no points, Hurts led a 2 minute drill at the end of the half. He led them down the field easily, then threaded the best throw of his young career to Dallas Goedert with 2 seconds left. Hurts led two more touchdown drives in the 2nd Half, one ending in a Kenneth Gainwell TD run and then a Jalen Reagor TD catch. This season is all about seeing if Hurts can prove himself as the franchise quarterback, and today he helped his case.
Speaking of Reagor, this young wideout group absolutely balled out. Smith had 6 catches for 71 yards and a TD. Reagor with 6 catches for 49 yards and a TD. Watkins with only 3 catches for 23 yards but two of those catches were huge for the first drive of the game. The Eagles will only go as far as these 3 can take them, and they completely showed up today.
The duo of Goedert/Ertz worked almost as well as you would have expected. Goedert had 4 catches for 42 yards plus a touchdown, and I'm pretty confident that he drew more then one penalty in the open field. Ertz exited the game for a period of time due to a hamstring injury, but returned and ended with 2 catches for 34 yards. I'll say that just having the presence of two tight ends that you have to worry about makes such a difference. As much as Ertz might not be the same guy he used to be, he is still a Top 10-15 TE in this league. And Goedert is a young, up-and-coming tight end who is set to receive a massive contract extension soon. With all these weapons on the offense performing, this team is really dangerous.
Now we can talk about the defense. After a slow start, they definitely recovered. I thought Jonathan Gannon had a strange game plan, playing Darius Slay in mostly zone coverage, but I guess it worked in the end. Slay and Steven Nelson were not great overall today, but honestly that was to be expected. It's a new defense, with a lot of new faces, so the secondary struggling makes sense. Guys like Anthony Harris, Eric Wilson and Alex Singleton will be the first to admit that they did not have their best games today. I know they will bounce back, and even with them being a little off, the Eagles still held the Falcons to 6 points. Want to know why?
The defensive line. They had a really bad first half, especially against the run, but the second half they completely dominated. Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Hassan Ridgeway all made notable plays. Hargrave especially, who blew through the Falcons offensive line for two sacks late in the game. Ridgeway clearly seemed to benefit from a Cox double team, having a strip sack that was not recovered. I definitely think improvements against the run need to be made next week, but you cant't be mad about how they played this week.
Nick Sirianni failed on two 4th Down tries, but he clearly outcoached Arthur Smith. In his first professional game, he watched his team dominate on both sides of the ball. Not only that, it just seems like he has won over this locker room more then Doug Pederson ever did (excluding 2017).
You see all these videos of the Eagles dancing in the locker room and celebrating on the sideline. Heck, even Hurts and Sirianni have a handshake together. THAT is more important then any player on the field. No, not the handshake, but the team buying into Sirianni and Hurts.
Sure, the Falcons aren't great. But the Eagles looked great this week. That was probably the best Philadelphia has played since December 22nd, 2019; when the Eagles beat the Cowboys 17-9 to put themselves in the drivers seat for the NFC East title. Let's see if they can keep it up in Week 2 against the 49ers, who scraped a win this week against the Lions 41-33(nice tribute guys!).
Player of The Game: QB Jalen Hurts
I don't need to explain. Scroll up and read again.