Resilience – 32 Immediate Takeaways from Eagles 29, Jaguars 21

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles faced true adversity for the first time on Sunday, rose to meet the challenge, and dispatched the Jacksonville Jaguars 29 to 21. They are the lone unbeaten team remaining in the NFL and improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2004.

At some point you knew they were going to face an early deficit and have to show us something in the resilience department. Going down 14-0 early, they really buckled down, shifted the game plan, and ran the football well en route to 20 unanswered points and a halftime lead. They tacked on nine more points to make it 29 straight, gave up a shit Jaguar score in the 4th, and then iced the game with a strip sack.

It was an excellent display in the mental fortitude department. Those playing conditions were God awful and lesser teams may have folded after going down multiple scores and watching a couple of starters leave the field injured. The Eagles really did not look fazed in the least, and used defensive takeaways to complement a steady offensive approach, chipping away very quickly at the deficit. You have to be impressed with the way they responded, and even though there were some sloppy second half moments and a few head scratching sequences, they’ve now shown they can win from behind when things aren’t necessarily going their way.

Takeaways:

 

1) A fantastic ovation for Doug Pederson. As it should be. The fans know what’s up.

2) First Eagles drive: that’s the right decision to go for it on 4th and 1. Don’t even think about it, just line up, sneak it, push the pile, get the yard. I know you’re backed up in your own area, and field position is iffy, but the alternate scenario is punting in crap conditions. They did the same thing again right before halftime and put themselves in 1st and goal from the ten yard line, so it’s good to see them line up for these almost automatically and not overthink the decisions.

2) The pick-6 was gross all around. It’s one thing for Jalen Hurts to try squeeze that ball into a tight window, but A.J. Brown was near the ball carrier and didn’t even attempt a tackle:

Just horrendous. He didn’t even try! My grandmother at least would have laid out on that one.

3) Jordan Mailata and Darius Slay leaving early could have been disastrous. Andre Dillard wasn’t available, so they had to throw Jack Driscoll in at left tackle, essentially leaving you with LT3 on Hurts’ blind side. Zech McPhearson came in for Slay, leaving the Eagles with CB3 on the outside. Not ideal!

4) Avonte Maddox missed this game with an ankle injury. Josiah Scott replaced him in the slot and did an okay job. He may have been responsible for blowing the coverage on that big, early Jamal Agnew pickup, and then the Christian Kirk fourth quarter catch. He had a chance to bring down Agnew on Jacksonville’s 3rd touchdown, but couldn’t do it. Maddox really is important to what the Birds do defensively.

5) That strip from Patrick Johnson would have been HUGE in the early going, could have kept it to a one-score ballgame, but the bounce just didn’t go their way. Two plays later, miscommunication in the secondary and a Jaguars score:

This is actually a really nice play design from Doug. They run CJGJ’s guy in motion, benefit from confusion in the secondary, and then slant the receiver to open up acres of space on the flank.

6) Can’t believe they gave up a defensive touchdown to Cisco. That guy hasn’t had a hit since The Thong Song!

7) Didn’t mind the decision to go for it on 4th and 3 on the third drive. Looked like nobody was open and Hurts couldn’t get out of the pocket to run it. Barf.

8) James Bradberry getting blown up on that receiver screen was pretty funky. Normally you can beat the tackle out to the flat and just destroy the play, but it looked like he held up there to keep Agnew in front of him, which resulted in this:

9) Trevor Lawrence fumbling on 4th and 3? Finally, a break. He had a lot of room to run there and probably would have moved the sticks. That was a massive play in terms of shifting momentum back to the Birds.

10) That defensive holding against A.J. Brown was, objectively, a shit call. Huge turning point, because it was just about to be 3rd and 12 in Philly territory. Instead, the Eagles hit a couple of big plays and got themselves into the Red Zone.

11) Good explanation from Jay Feely on the illegal downfield block by Dallas Goedert, which was really tight. I’d love to see that again. The refs ruled he engaged the defensive back too early, so that’s why the Eagles got flagged and ended up with 1st and goal from the 20. I thought at first Hurts threw that pass backwards, but we didn’t get a clear replay, so who knows? Need the all-22 film for that one.

12) Jalen Hurts with a MAN’S run on the first touchdown. He took off, put his head down, took a huge hit, and got the ball across the plane. If the Birds go on to do something special this year, bookmark this as a symbolic, turning point type of play. Down two scores, your quarterback absolutely fucking bulldozes his way into the end zone to kickstart a come-from-behind win.

13) Not sure about Doug running a draw on 3rd and 10 in the 2nd quarter. They had blockers out in front but the play was blown up before the ball carrier could even get out in space. Seemed like a conservative call with rain absolutely pouring down.

14) Trey Sermon made his Eagles debut with a 14 yard carry in the second quarter. That was the big game-tying drive where the Birds found the run game and just shoved it down Jag-wire throats. They ran for 59 yards on that drive, rushing it eight times, throwing it once (a screen), and benefiting from one Jacksonville pre-snap penalty.

15) Two fumble recoveries for Haason Reddick and two strip sacks in three combined sequences. Each of those was crucial, with the Birds turning the first one into 6 points and their first lead of the game. The second recovery, which was his first strip sack, helped kill clock, giving the Birds the ball in Jacksonville territory while up two scores. The second strip sack ended the game and will put him in the conversation for NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

16) Huge pick from Bradberry in the 3rd quarter. Jacksonville was moving the ball after two straight punts from the Eagles, and that really helped pull momentum back to the home team. The Birds sold out on that blitz, brought seven, and benefited from the aggression.

17) Trevor Lawrence was mostly shit in this game. He completed 11 passes, threw a pick, and lost four fumbles. Four!

18) One of the wildest sequences in the game was the Jake Elliott non-field goal, which was wiped out due to a penalty, giving the Eagles a fresh set of downs. They actually did a nice job to set that up in the first place, by calling timeout at the end of the 3rd and making sure he’d be kicking with the wind instead of into it. That ended up not mattering due to the penalty, but still – small details are important and the Eagles are mostly getting those right.

19) How about Elliott popping pills on the sidelines? I’m an Ibuprofen guy. 600 mg and you’ll be feeling better in no time:

20) Goedert with the rare drop on 3rd and 6. Would have moved the chains. You don’t see that often from him, but he had the big completion on the final drive to move the sticks and chew some more clock.

21) Gotta hear an explanation for why Nick Sirianni went for it there on 4th and 3 instead of kicking the field goal to ice the game. Maybe they just didn’t like the wind, conditions, field direction, etc. It ended up not mattering in the end, but they put the game back on the defense with two minutes remaining and only an eight point lead.

22) Miles Sanders is quietly having himself a great contract year. He went for a career-high 134 yards on 27 carries and found the end zone twice. For the season, he’s now at 356 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging five yards per rush.

23) Really nice job limiting Christian Kirk on the afternoon. Two catches for 60 yards, both in garbage-ish time. He really was a non-factor out there.

24) Not sure how much it would have mattered, since Lawrence stunk up the joint, but Zay Jones would have really helped Jacksonville. He had 10 catches in that win over the Chargers and was targeted more than any other Jaguar in Week 3.

25) Neither team did much on third downs (4-15 for the Eagles), but again they did their damage in chunks, moving the chains 25 times total and running 77 plays to Jacksonville’s 46.

26) Nothing crazy about Jalen Hurts’ box score, outside of that awesome TD run, but he did a nice job just making his running reads. RPO, zone read, etc – more often than not he was making the correct choices based on what the Jags’ defense was showing him.

27) A.J. Brown – 5 for 95, even in dog shit conditions.

28) With a +4 turnover margin, you can’t lose.

29) The Eagles almost doubled the Jags in time of possession (39:51 to 20:09). Turnovers, first downs, etc – that Jacksonville defense spent two-thirds of the game on the field.

30) 20 points in the 2nd quarter. Their first half differential is insane and they are such a unique team in the ebbs and flows of their point scoring.

31) Sirianni should grow the beard out. I didn’t like how short it was trimmed.

32) Spero Dedes, Jay Feely, and Aditi Kinkhabwala was the crew for this game. A Mark Schlereth break was nice, but I feel the same way about this crew as most of the current NFL crews. They are serviceable, right? Not amazing, not terrible, just right down the middle and they do the job. I’ll take that over some of these other guys who are just sleepwalking through the calls.

Go Birds.

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