Quick Takes: Five takeaways from the Eagles’ gutsy win over Chicago
On a day where Jalen Hurts could barely feel his hands, the MVP candidate overcame multiple turnovers to lead his team to their 13th victory of the year.
Not all wins are pretty, and that certainly was the case yesterday as the Bears remained competitive behind Justin Fields. The scoreboard read 25-20 in the end, moving the Eagles to 13-1 and within one win of an NFC East title.
Here are five takeaways from Philly’s spirited win over Chicago.
WR duo comes up big
Both of the Eagles’ top receivers were game-changers yesterday, with DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown combing for 307 of Jalen Hurts’ 315 passing yards. CB Jaylon Johnson gave Brown all he could handle early on, allowing Smitty to take advantage of his matchup against Kyler Gordon.
Smith’s 126 receiving yards was his second-highest total of the year, eclipsing 100 yards for the second time in three games. Sitting at 901 for the year following yesterday, the Slim Reaper is just 99 yards away from the 1k mark.
His teammate, AJ Brown, set a new career-high with 181 yards. His 1,201 receiving yards is the most ever by a player in their first season as an Eagle, surpassing Terrell Owens in 2004 (1,200). We’re witnessing something special in Philadelphia.
“I feel like me and Jalen got off to a slow start in the first half, but as we picked up in the second half, we started to get going,” Brown said after the game.”
Defense on pace for yet another record
No team in NFL history has ever had four different players with 10+ sacks each; the Eagles are on the verge of being the first. Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Javon Hargrave each notched two sacks yesterday, adding to their already impressive season totals:
- Haason Reddick: 12
- Javon Hargrave: 10
- Josh Sweat: 9.5
- Brandon Graham: 8.5
Reddick has been a man possessed for the Eagles, recording two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, one tackle for loss, and one pass defended yesterday. Don’t be surprised if you hear his name for NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The Eagles have 55 sacks through 14 games, the most since the Saints in 2000.
Hurts overcomes early mistakes
After only throwing three interceptions all year heading into Week 15, Hurts threw two of them early vs. Chicago as he adjusted to the frigid temperatures. Following the game, Hurts said the wind and cold affected his game.
“I was tryna find my groove with it. My hands were numb early on, didn’t have great vision on the field. I ended up throwing two interceptions and it hurt the team, but I think we responded the way we were supposed to. I think we persevered; I think we found a way, and that’s the least you can ask for.”
As expected, there was never any panic from Hurts, and his teammates followed suit.
“I want those guys to look me in the eyes and know there’s not a doubt,” Hurts said about why he didn’t show his anger. “And to know that with the preparation we put in together that we’ll find a way. I want them to have that trust in me.”
Hurts settled in after his slow start, accounting for 376 total yards and three rushing touchdowns, but he took a beating along the way, showing visible discomfort late in the game. The stats don’t tell the whole story; Hurts willed his team to victory yesterday.
His 35 total touchdowns this season ties Randall Cunningham (1990) for the Eagles’ single-season record.
100% thought Jalen Hurts threw this ball away. Mahomes completes this pass and it’s on every media outlet for the next week. pic.twitter.com/Etga4FWp18— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 19, 2022
K’Von Wallace steps up, Eagles escape without injuries
Team health is such a vital factor late in the season, and thankfully Philadelphia didn’t sustain any additional injuries vs. Chicago.
The Eagles went into yesterday’s game with just two active safeties, but K’Von Wallace made the most of his opportunity. He led the team with seven tackles and took some good angles in pursuit of Justin Fields. Philadelphia will be without CJ Gardner-Johnson for at least one more week, but it’s good to see Wallace making plays.
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One win away
Following yesterday’s victory and Dallas’ crushing OT loss to Jacksonville, the Eagles are just one win away from clinching both the division and a first-round bye. If they can beat Dallas on Christmas Eve, Philly will have a four-game lead in the division with just two games to play, effectively securing the NFC East title.
Some suggest that the Eagles sit their starters against Dallas (in case they face each other in the postseason), then demolish New Orleans the following week. Philadelphia should be incentivized to beat the Saints considering they hold their first-round selection in next year’s draft.
That’s all fine and good, but Dallas made this personal. They boasted about beating down the third-string reserves last year, and Micah Parsons’ comments on Jalen Hurts are still fresh. Franky, I want to stomp on the Cowboys’ throats, and I don’t care how hard it is to beat a team three times if a playoff matchup is on the horizon.
If you scared, get a dog. We want Dallas.
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images