Eagles Saints Postgame - Three Up Three Down
Week 11 started a new trend for the Eagles, a winning streak! By a score of 40-29 the Philadelphia Eagles took care of business on there home turf for their first win at home vs. the New Orleans Saints. This was a gotta have it game for the Eagles now being right in the thick of wild card race in the NFC coming into the week with a record of 4-6. A win vs. New Orleans not only allowed them to stay in the hunt, but added another key tiebreaker scenario with the Saints along with already holding the tiebreaker with Carolina defeating them in week 5. At 5-6, they now hold the nine seed in the NFC sitting just a half a game out of the six and seven seeds in the wild card.
The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage Sunday. Coming into the game as the number three ranked rush offense in football there were many questions on how this offense would be able to run the ball against the Saints who had the number one ranked run defense as well. There were even questions if they would even stick with the run in this game. Putting 242 yards of rush offense at 4.8 yards per carry on 50 attempts proved this offense is legit. Whether it be in the zone read game, the smash mouth in between the tackles game, the Eagles were able to run at will. This allowed them to dominated the time of possession having the ball for just over 37 minutes. A good run game translates week to week and is one of the most consistent things in all of football, that should have Eagles fans feeling very optimistic moving forward.
Dallas Goedert continues to prove he is a legitimate number one tight end in this league. After Zach Ertz was traded to Arizona, Goedert was given the opportunity to prove he can thrive without Ertz drawing attention to him. He was given the opportunity to prove he can thrive being one of the main focal points for defenses to try and defend. It only took him four weeks to be able to show that he can to the Eagles front office. On Friday Goedert signed a 4 year $57 million dollar extension with Philadelphia and then immediately followed that up on Sunday putting up 5 catches for 62 yards on 8 targets. He is a dynamic tight end that will be making plays for this team for years to come.
After getting up on the Saints 33-7 in the third quarter, Philadelphia took their foot off the gas and allowed the Saints to make the game 33-22. The Eagles were looking vulnerable and fans weren't feeling great about this teams chances with there being just less of a quarter to go. But the Eagles were able to lock back in and ice the game by an unreal drive by the Eagles franchise quarterback (yes I said it) Jalen Hurts to put the Eagles up 40-22 which basically ended the game. They were able to turn a big negative into a positive and showed how much heart they have.
Miles Sanders ball security remains to be an issue. Ever since his rookie year in 2019 his talent was never in question. By far the Eagles most talented running back on the roster, the main criticism on him has always been his ball security. He is known to be liable to putting the ball on the turf. In the second quarter he had a costly fumble inside the Eagles own ten yard line which allowed the Saints to put seven on the board to make the game 14-7. Later in the game he got bailed out by being ruled as stopped before the ball came out on a great knockout by former Eagle and future Eagle Hall of Famer Malcolm Jenkins. He very possibly could have had two fumbles in this game both recovered by the Saints. That's a big issue and one that he needs to fix immediately. Sanders immediately following the game took ownership for the fumbles saying "It won't happen again".
As much as the Eagles being able to get back locked in and ice the game in the fourth quarter was a positive, them being in that situation to begin with is a big negative. This was another one of this young team's especially this young coaching staff's "Welcome to the NFL moments" that could have led to disaster. No matter what the score is and no matter who you are playing, you cannot take your foot off the gas. It leads to disaster way more often than it doesn't. If this was a veteran led staff, the dynamic of this topic would be much different. But since this is a young staff, let's see if they learn from this almost disastrous moment and never let it happen again.
Steven Nelson continues to be picked on by opposing offenses week after week. Whether it being missing an assignment in the run game, not getting your head around when the ball is in the air, getting torched in man coverage, you name it, Nelson has had it happen. Not only is Nelson by far the Eagles worst defender in the secondary, he is the worst defender in the starting 11. Teams routinely throw his way and see good results from it. If the Eagles are going to make a run for the wild card, they need him to flip the switch and become the Steven Nelson from Pittsburgh the Eagles thought they were getting when they signed him.
Up next the Eagles travel to East Rutherford to play the three win New York Giants. Expect the Giants to play hard next week after what happened week 17 of last season. A win against New York improves the Birds to 6-6 and keeps them in lockstep with Minnesota, San Francisco, Carolina, and New Orleans for the last two spots in the wild card. Go Birds and Fly Eagles Fly!