You watch the Eagles or Phillies on Thursday night?
Trick question. Both games should have been on some kind of screen at your house, the bar, or wherever televisions or tablets are found. It wasn’t ideal to have the unbeaten Birds and World Series on at the same time, but when Philly sports are on fire we are left with good problems to solve.
The Eagles didn’t play their best game but still ripped off a double-digit road win on short rest against a crappy team that was up for it. There are no gimmes in the NFL, not even the Houston Texans without their top two receivers. We can say whatever we want to say about the run defense, or a Jalen Hurts fumble, or a missed field goal, or other missteps throughout the game, but great teams find a way to win and the Birds did just that on Thursday night. This game was tied at halftime but no one should have felt remotely bothered or worried by that.
To the observations:
1) K’Von Wallace took a lot of shit for that first Houston touchdown. If you go back and watch the replay, he and Marcus Epps actually jarred the ball loose, and the tight end, Quitoriano, reeled it back in. Credit where it’s due, that was a really nice catch.
2) Al Michaels talking about Lane Johnson’s kick slide was a good moment. Yes, it does look like he false starts when he does it, and sometimes it’s borderline, but I think the reason he didn’t get flagged on the first drive is because refs have been watching him do it for years now. It’s almost like they know to expect it, and so it’s never whistled, even when it should be. It’s an interesting topic. Wouldn’t mind one of the O-line guys doing an in-depth dive on the technique, or maybe it’s already been done.
3) Houston wanted a penalty on Jason Kelce for pulling Kenneth Gainwell at the goal line. You can legally push a guy forward but the rulebook says you can’t pull a dude. It’s a 10-yard penalty for “assisting” the runner. Watching it again, Kelce had Gainwell by the helmet, but I’m not sure how much leverage he really had. If you notice, Gainwell was pushing with his legs the entire time, so take that for what it’s worth.
4) Obviously going for it on 4th and goal on the 1st drive was the right decision, since they scored. If they didn’t score, it would have been the wrong decision.
5) Rare fumble from Jalen Hurts after a promising start to the second drive. It looked like Jack Stoll whiffed on a corner blitz while the snap/cadence was out of sync, and former Bird Steven Nelson got there. Just a bungled play all around.
6) Lovie Smith’s beard rules.
7) The second touchdown drive was a good exercise in just playing to your strengths and hammering opponent weaknesses. They used eight runs and two screens to go 79 yards for the score. Houston’s defense looked like moldy swiss cheese on that entire drive.
8) On that big Dameon Pierce run before the half, the Birds had three DTs on the field and were in their run-stopping front. Missed tackle and he was gone for 36. They really could have used Jordan Davis, because that’s his front when he’s healthy and available.
9) I can’t believe that 2nd Houston touchdown was even reviewed. Looked like a clean catch in real time, let alone replay.
10) Beautiful job getting in field goal range before halftime. Yeah, Jake Elliott missed it wide right, but how many conservative coaches would have called a few running plays and then went into the locker room at 14-all? Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen did the right thing there by being aggressive and giving themselves a chance at stealing some points.
11) I’m addicted to this shit. I can’t stop eating it. I might need help:
12) Maybe I’m late to the party, but it felt like the Amazon Prime audio was ahead of the video. I swear the whistles kept going before play was actually dead. I kept hearing the roar of the crowd before balls were even caught. It was ridiculous.
13) Some brutal third quarter sequences for the Eagles. Jordan Mailata giving up two sacks. Getting stuffed twice on short yardage there with Miles Sanders. They just couldn’t seem to link offensive plays together for sustainable momentum on those couple of drives coming out of the half.
14) The interception was obviously huge. Houston totally blew that coverage, giving Brandon Graham a free run at Davis Mills, who panicked and threw a meatball right over the middle of the field. The Eagles scored two plays later. What a backbreaking sequence for the other team.
15) The Texans had a pretty smart offensive game plan. Run the ball, throw some dink and dunk shit, make the Eagles tackle. The Philly defense is built to prevent explosive plays, and Houston largely didn’t even try to do much vertically through the air. Mills threw for a grand total of 154 yards on 22 attempts, and was never going to be a threat to do anything in that portion of the game.
16) Something about Kirk Herbstreit calling NFL games just feels wrong. I kept expecting him to talk about some Ohio State douchebaggery.
17) Hurts escaping that 2nd and 3 and moving the sticks was insane. Early-career Donovan McNabb-esque.
18) For the second time in a matter of weeks, the Eagles had a situation where a penalty on an extra point resulted in them going for a two-point conversion instead of taking the gimme. They failed the first time but nailed it this time, pushing their lead to 12 instead of 11.
19) Fantastic PBU by Haason Reddick in the late fourth quarter. I hate dropping him into coverage, but that was a great play.
20) I know people will complain about the run defense, but it is what it is. Davis was out. Jonathan Gannon schemes against big plays and they are #1 in the league in preventing them. That’s likely not going to change, but what can improve is the tackling within the scheme and individual wins in the trenches. You just hope this doesn’t bite them in the ass against a team that has a decent QB and isn’t one-dimensional.
21) Finally, I have to show this video again:
Philly Howie said you’re welcome for your first SB😂🦅 GO BIRDS @Eagles the best pic.twitter.com/zqg8iqDV9n
— holly (@xoholly) November 3, 2022