A Great Start

Posted: September 12th, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

There was a lot of mystery as the Eagles went to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Both were operating under new coaches. Atlanta did have their veteran quarterback still in place and many thought that gave them an advantage. Jalen Hurts started his first season opener in the NFL, which had outsiders curious about how he would do.

Well…

Kid 1
Old Man 0

Hurts clearly outplayed Ryan. Heck, that was true in just about every matchup. The Eagles were better on offense, defense and special teams. Nick Sirianni out-coached Arthur Smith, who had a brutal day.

The Eagles didn’t just win. They dominated. The final score was 32-6, with the Eagles leading all but a few minutes early on. The Eagles out-gained the Falcons 434 to 260, despite running only three more plays.

When the Falcons had to throw late in the game to try to catch up, the Eagles DL went to work.

The Eagles finished with only 3 sacks, but did also force a couple of intentional grounding penalties that were almost sacks. They regularly collapsed the pocket and affected Ryan. He was 21-35-164 for the day. Ryan only had one game of less than 224 yards last year and that came when he threw for 185 yards in a 43-6 win. The Eagles defense really got to him today.

Hurts had a very different day, playing at a high level and enjoying good protection. Funny how those things kind of go together. Hurts was more efficient than explosive, but there is nothing wrong with that when the offense is moving the ball and scoring points. He went 27-35-264 and 3 TDs.

I was hoping for 60 percent completions. Hurts finished at 77 percent. Most of the throws were short to intermediate, but Hurts put the ball on the money most of the time and gave him receivers chances to make plays after the catch. Jalen Reagor caught a quick screen late in the game and raced 23 yards for a TD.

Hurts hurt the Falcons with his legs as well. He escaped pressure on several plays and there were also some designed runs. He was 7-62 on the ground.

Maybe most important of all, no fumbles or interceptions for Hurts.

DeVonta Smith caught an 18-yard TD to put the Eagles up 7-3 and they never looked back. Smith was 6-71-1 and looked like the real deal. Reagor, Smith and Quez Watkins combined for 15 catches and two scores.

There are things to clean up. The OL blocked well, but had way too many penalties. Crowd noise is always a factor in domes, but the guys up front were too sloppy in that area.

The defense struggled early on, but then settled down and got into a groove. Still, tackling was an issue. Hopefully some of that was due to the lack of live hitting and tackling in the summer. This bears watching in upcoming games.

The run defense needs work. Atlanta moved the ball too easily on the ground. The Eagles got better as the game went along, but Atlanta also had to go away from the run due to the score.

The Eagles weren’t hurt by the rushing yards in part because of field position. The Falcons had six possessions start inside their own 20, with a couple starting inside the 10. It takes a long time to move the ball 90 yards when you’re running it. Give new punter Arryn Siposs a ton of credit. He averaged 47 yards per punt and had three downed inside the 20.

This really was a team win.

Before we get too excited about the Eagles, we do have to point out the Falcons looked bad. That team has major issues. Still, the Eagles won by 26 and played well. That’s what you’re supposed to do when  you play a bad team.

The Eagles didn’t score 30 points in any game last year. The last time they did that was the 2019 season finale vs the Giants.

The Eagles hadn’t won a game by 26 or more since beating the Bears 31-3 in November of 2017.

Forget about context and enjoy this win.

Today was a good day.

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