Quick Takes: 5 observations from the Eagles 32-6 rout over Atlanta
The Eagles made their long-awaited season debut Sunday afternoon in the ATL. New head coach Nick Sirianni kept a lot of his offense tight to chest throughout the preseason, leaving fans intrigued by what they would see from him in Week 1.
The initial results are encouraging. Here are my 5 quick takeaways from the Eagles’ first win of the year:
DeVonta Smith is as good as advertised
As if there was any doubt, the #10 overall pick is every bit the receiver he was touted to be. Last year’s Heisman winner didn’t waste any time making an impact, catching his first career pass for an 18-yard TD on the Eagles’ first possession.
Smith finished his NFL debut with 6 catches on 8 targets for 71 yards and a TD. His chemistry with Hurts was on full display, and this is only the beginning.
Jalen Hurts first drive: 4/4, 41 yards, TD.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
Welcome to the NFL DeVonta Smith. pic.twitter.com/KdNGADrDap
Jalen Hurts is an NFL caliber quarterback
The second-year QB abolished all narratives that he doesn’t have an “NFL arm” with his performance on Sunday. Hurts had just 8 incompletions, threw for 264 yards, and 3 TDs. He also racked up 62 yards on the ground.
Aside from a few questionable decisions; Hurts looked composed, dynamic and did a stellar job protecting himself. The most important stat of the day: 0 turnovers.
I have no idea how Jalen got this to Goedert. What a poised 2-minute drill. pic.twitter.com/iDvQZp4xiq— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
The Eagles actually have a secondary
Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts were prolific names to keep an eye on heading into the game. The Eagles did a good job keeping Atlanta’s weapons in check as Ridley — who had nearly 1400 yards receiving last year — was a non-factor after the first quarter, finishing the day with just 51 yards. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts ended his debut with 31 yards on 4 catches.
Darius Slay and Steven Nelson were both very engaged in disrupting the pass; giving the Eagles a quality CB duo for the first time in a long time.
Slay still good? Who would’ve thought. pic.twitter.com/3PeaXEAJC7— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
Two-headed rushing attack proves effective
One of the more surprising takeaways from the opener was the usage of 5th-round pick Kenneth Gainwell. The Memphis product complemented Sanders well, averaging over four yards a carry and rushing for his first career TD in the 3rd quarter.
Sanders picked up where he left off last season, accumulating 113 yards from scrimmage while putting his playmaking ability on display. Boston Scott didn’t see any touches in this game as the Eagles are probably saving him for their matchups with the Giants later in the year.
His speed doesn’t get talked about much but Miles has that burst. pic.twitter.com/TbEAYWTYVi— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
The pass rush continues to be dominant
The sacks didn’t come until late in the game, but the Eagles’ DL rotation is still as dangerous as ever. Atlanta drove down the field in back-to-back drives to start the game but had to settle for field goals in both instances as the Eagles’ red zone defense locked in on Ryan.
It all broke loose in the 4th quarter, Javon Hargrave sacked Matt Ryan twice and Hassan Ridgeway got one as well. The Eagles also held RB Mike Davis to just 3.3 yards per carry.
Brandon Graham. 🔨 pic.twitter.com/7B3n9EEz63— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
Mandatory Credit: 6 ABC