It was closer than it should have been but the Eagles escaped Sunday against the Leaders with a 34-31 overtime win to move to 4-0 on the season.
After the Dolphins’ loss, the only undefeated teams in the NFL are the Eagles and the 49ers, who also won on Sunday.
Let’s get to the grades:
Jalen Hurts: 25/37, 319 yards, 2 TDs, 112.3 rating; 9 rushing attempts, 34 yards
Hurts had his best game of the season. Although it wasn’t perfect, he trusted the playmakers to make the plays and they did. He distributed the ball, made good decisions and didn’t give the ball away. Hurts’ second touchdown pass to Brown was a perfectly placed ball. There were also moments in this game where he looked really good at escaping pressure in the pocket to make a run.
DeAndre Swift: 14 carries, 56 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches, 23 yards
Swift’s performance wasn’t great, but he made some great runs and finally got on the field in high-impact situations near the end. In overtime, Swift caught a short pass and showed off his birdie approaching the corner to gain 11 points and pick up the first down. Kenny Gainwell added 4 carries for 14 yards and had 2 carries for 7 yards but Swift is clearly the top linebacker and deserves that spot.
AJ Brown: 9 catches for 13 targets, 175 yards, 2 TDs
A monster game from Brown, who became the first Eagles player to have 130-plus receiving yards in back-to-back games since Jeremy Maclin in 2014. Sure, he should know better than to take a cynical penalty late in the fourth quarter but the production was unbelievable. And then DeVonta Smith had a big game as well with seven catches for 78 yards including a beautiful catch on a 50-50 ball late in the first half to set up a field goal.
Dallas Goedert: 2 catches on 4 targets, 25 yards
The Eagles opened with 12 personnel but didn’t run much of it in this game after using it so much in Weeks 2 and 3. Goedert was very quiet early this season and he and Hurts didn’t look like they were in a good position. The same page multiple times. But he moved the sticks on both catches on this one. The offense needs to make him go more.
Some early struggles from Jordan Mailata working against Chase Young, who hit him to pick up a sack. The Eagles were not in control of the course of the game as they were in recent weeks. But they eventually gave Hurts enough time to throw the football. Cam Jurgens injured his foot and was replaced at right guard by Sua Opeta. Jurgens left the locker room with a walking boot on his right foot, so that’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Josh Sweat: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 TFL
The Eagles did not go after Sam Howell the way many expected in this game. But Haason Reddick had a dominant stretch in the fourth quarter that included his first sack of the 2023 season. Josh Sweat also picked up a sack and Brandon Graham hit Howell’s arm on a play that nearly led to an interception. The Leaders had some success on the ground with 107 yards but gained just 3.8 per attempt.
Nicholas Morrow: 11 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 QB hits, 1 FF
Before Sunday’s game, Morrow had four career sacks in 81 NFL games. And then he goes out and works his way to a three-sack performance against the Leaders. While there were moments where the Commanders caught Morrow and Cunningham in coverage, for the most part they held up well. Cunningham led the Eagles with 13 tackles while Morrow recorded 11.
Reed Blankenship: 8 tackles, 2 PBUs
Blankenship’s play on Terry McLaurin on third-and-5 in overtime may have been the difference in this game. Blankenship was able to get McLaurin to land out of bounds on third and fifth and the leaders were forced to punt. As you would probably expect, leaders Terrell Edmunds and Josh Jobe attacked as much as they could. The Eagles were without Justin Evans (neck) and Sidney Brown (hamstring) for this game and missed them. Howell ended up with 290 yards and a touchdown, while McLaurin had 86 yards on 8 catches.
Jake Elliott: 4/4 on field goals, 54-yard winner in overtime
Elliott is just an absolute stud. He made all of his field goals, including the winning goal in overtime. Although punter Braden Mann got off to a rough start in this game, his 47-yard kick to pin the Leaders to their own 7 in the fourth quarter was a beauty. Britain Coffey continues to impress as a punter returner. He had 3 returns for 38 yards, including a 20-yarder.
There are things you have to pick up. Calling plays late in the game, especially Kenny Gainwell who ran on 3rd and 11 from Washington’s 16-yard line to start the fourth quarter. And you can also question the series that led to a touchdown in regulation rather than running out the clock to kick a field goal. But the Eagles found a way to win and have done so every week so far. Training isn’t just about X’s and O’s. Sometimes it’s about creating a resilient team that can overcome obstacles; Nick Sirianni appears to have done just that.
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