They didn’t play a great game and still won by 23.

That says a lot about the best team in football, your Philadelphia Eagles.

It also says a lot about the San Francisco 49ers, a banged up, winless team starting a rookie quarterback in a 1 p.m. East Coast road game. They’re horrible and awful. They’re a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a football team.

Carson Wentz won’t put this one on the resume tape, nor will the offensive line, but this was the second-straight game where the Birds started slow and finished with a double-digit margin of victory. They did it in crappy weather and brought us to a point where Nick Foles was ending Week 8 in victory formation. No matter the situation, the Birds just find a way to get it done.

We’re waiting for the letdown that still hasn’t come.

1. Big V

He played fine.

Eagles Twitter was ready to pounce on his first mistake, and they rightfully pointed out the bad blocking on an early stretch play. But this run has been going nowhere all year long:

Brent Celek also got knocked backwards on the play. Stefen Wisniewski completely whiffed on his second-level block, though it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Vaitai gave up a second quarter sack where Wentz probably could have tossed the ball sooner:

He later had a holding penalty on another stretch play, which should probably just be removed from the playbook at this point. Vaitai made some mistakes but didn’t look out of place on an offensive line that didn’t perform that well collectively.


2. Linebackin’

I thought we might be in for a long afternoon when the linebackers showed some confusion and allowed a big gain on the second play of the game:

I don’t know if that’s Nigel Bradham or Joe Walker’s mistake. One of those guys is assigned to the running back, but both went with the tight end and neither was close enough to make a play.

With Jordan Hicks done for the season, the pass coverage of Walker, Bradham, and Najee Goode seemed like it would be a big topic in this one, but it really wasn’t. That’s because C.J. Beathard was being totally clobbered all game long and really didn’t even have time to get rid of the ball.

The Birds’ defensive line rag dolled the rookie QB, sacking him 4 times, hitting him 12 times, and ripping off a pick-6. They had 9 tackles for a loss overall.

Most impressive was their QB separation number, where four players were well under the league average. In the chart below, the number you see is the average distance each player was from Beathard at the time of his release or a teammate sack:

No surprise that Brandon Graham was getting close to him on every single pass rush.


3. Getting Beat Hard

Even when Beathard wasn’t getting slapped around by the Eagles, he didn’t do anything to help himself. Twice in the first quarter he threw behind his receivers on convertible third down plays. Instead, the passes were bobbled and landed incomplete.

Later, he threw low and behind his target on another play, resulting in the ball popping up in the air for an Eagles interception.

Beathard finished 17 of 36 for 167 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and a QB rating of 46.9. On passes of 10 yards or more, he was 2/8 for 46 yards and an interception:

San Fran went 3/15 on third downs, only slightly worse than the Eagles’ 4/14 mark.


4. The longer, the better

Jake Elliott missed two extra points, but hit field goals from 40 and 51 yards.

The first XP looked like a less-than-perfect hold from Donnie Jones, who was dealing with the wet grass. The second one might have been the same thing, where Jones appeared to get the ball up but left it with some tilt instead of a clean placement.

Elliott is 18/20 on extra points this season while nailing five field goals from 50+ yards. That doesn’t seem right but here we are:

It’s kind of like Dario Saric going 4-7 from three-point range on Saturday night but finishing 0-5 inside the arc.

Is Elliott farsighted? Is he far-footed?


5. The Wentz and Hollins connection

On the second quarter touchdown drive, Wentz connected with Mack Hollins twice for gains of six and 24 yards. At that point, he was 8-8 for 164 yards when targeting the rookie wide receiver this season. All of Twitter clamored for more of Mack Hollins.

So Wentz tried him again in the third quarter, but had his pass picked off by Ahkello Witherspoon for a 19-yard return. San Francisco scored their only touchdown two plays after this:

Wentz said this about the play:

“Mack and I were just not on the same page, plain and simple. That was a big play for their defense. It kind of put our defense in a hole there, but we just have to be on the same page.”


6. This is what you’re here for

On the very next drive, Witherspoon followed up his first career interception by getting torched for a 53-yard touchdown pass.

It was Alshon Jeffery, the WR1 who Philadelphia signed in the offseason to make plays like this:

There was a play earlier in the game where Wentz missed Jeffery in the end zone. He only caught two of eight targets on the afternoon, though he did snag the two-point conversion that put the Eagles up 17-0 going into halftime.

Later, he played some defense on a Hail Mary attempt and combined with Rasul Douglas to bat the ball out of play.


7. Perfecting punting

There was a point in the game where the Niners punted on 4th and 4 from the Eagles’ 38 yard line.

Say what?

Based on that head-scratcher of a decision, I went and looked up punting stats for football’s worst team:

I thought for sure that Brad Pinion would be higher in most categories, but he’s not. He’s tied for 7th in total punts and his long is in the bottom half of the league. What he does have is a ridiculous return yard average of 1.6. That’s insane. It means opponents have returned 15 of 36 total punt attempts for 24 yards. He’s dropped 17 punts inside the 20 and forced 13 fair catches.

Turns out San Fran does excel at something, so shout out to their special teams coordinator, Richard Hightower.


8. Doug’s worst call?

There were some instances when Doug Pederson continued to run the ball on 2nd down in the first half of the game. The offense was stagnant to start for the second straight week.

I think Wendell Smallwood’s lack of usage was another question mark. He finished with one carry for five yards and caught a pass for a nine yard gain. Why not more of that? Wet conditions? Lingering injury issues?

I think his worst call in general was going back to the stretch play. This was the Vaitai holding call, but you can see that the entire offensive line does an underwhelming job here, Zach Ertz included:

9. Doug’s best call?

The two-point conversion at 15-0 was an obvious choice.

I think he unlocked the offense a little bit by going to the short passing game after the first couple of unsuccessful series. The pass/run balance winds up being around 60/40 when you take away those Corey Clement garbage time runs and the Nick Foles victory formations.


10. “I communed with the Rock”

We almost made it to halftime without a Rocky Balboa reference, but Charles Davis just had to go there. I didn’t hear any corny mentions from Kenny Albert or any real mess ups in his calls. I thought both guys were pretty good.

The weirdest moment was when the broadcast cut to some FX show, then over to the Panthers/Bucs game before coming back to Philly. I don’t know if that’s a FOX 29 local control issue or a mothership thing, but I think we all did a double take there.

All in all, a sloppy performance in sloppy conditions, but another win for the Birds.

Blame it on the rain.