A win is a win, but boy that was ugly. Twice the Eagles tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and the Patriots couldn’t capitalize.

The Birds cover the -4, which we all would have accepted beforehand. But they didn’t look great doing it, sleepwalking through the second quarter before allowing New England back into the game with a fugazi late touchdown, Jalen Hurts fumble, and failed fourth down conversion. We were very close to a Denny Green moment, i.e. the Birds were attempting to LET EM OFF THE HOOK. If you wanna crown the Patriots, then crown their asses. The good thing is that this a short week, so we’re gonna briefly enjoy an Eagles victory, then flush it and get right back out there on Thursday. They didn’t play their best football, but went on the road in less-than-ideal elements and found a way to win. Give the game ball to Jake Elliott as we jump into the observations:

1) Nice to have Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call. I feel like we got the B team, or the C team, or even the D team for most of the games in 2022 and 2021. Getting the A team makes the game seem “big” for week 1.

2) The rain? Not ideal! There was a fumbled snap on the first possession that was wiped out because some Patriot dope lined up in the neutral zone. Then Elliott missed his second extra point attempt, which we’ll assume had at least something to do with the elements. Thankfully it cleared up and we got a much cleaner second half with some downfield passing plays.

3) No tush push in this game. There was a 3rd and 1 on the opening drive where they decided NOT to use the rugby scrum, but that was the right decision. They converted with a shotgun handoff and were in four-down territory to begin with, so we probably would have seen the push on 4th and short if the 3rd down play had failed.

4) Good opening drive, going 61 yards on 14 plays and chewing up 7:18, but that 3rd and goal was ugly. They had some communication issues getting Boston Scott out to the flat in an empty set, then didn’t see a zero blitz coming, and Hurts was swallowed up before he could even get rid of the ball:

5) Cam Jurgens did alright at right guard. The entire O-line had just an okay game, so he didn’t necessarily stick out one way or another. We’ll need Baldy to go back over the film and let us know what he sees.

6) Haason Reddick had a heavy wrap on his right hand, not exactly a club, but it was noticeable. Quiet game. He didn’t record a sack but was credited with one QB hit.

7) No surprises at linebacker, with Zach Cunningham starting alongside Nakobe Dean, who had to leave in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. Justin Evans won the second safety position and opened the game opposite Reed Blankenship. I may have missed it, but it looked like Jalen Carter wasn’t in there at all for the first New England drive, with Milton Williams and Fletcher Cox getting the nod prior to BIG PLAY SLAY getting the pick 6.

8) Anyone else kinda surprised that Slay took that to the house? Kendrick Bourne had a step and whiffed on the tackle. Mac Jones did the matador routine and Rhamondre Stevenson wasn’t exactly hauling ass to make a play:

9) Jordan Davis stripping Zeke Elliott and recovering the fumble was highly enjoyable:

10) Carter was great when he did get in the game. Couple of early QB pressures, one that flushed Mac Jones from the pocket on a third down, forcing a punt. He looks like a grown man out there, like a grizzled veteran.

11) Not sure about that early defensive holding penalty on Dallas Goedert, but we’ll take it. The cheating Patriots don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

12) Special teams still kinda stinks. Allowed a 21-yard punt return and a 43-yard kick return in the first half. They had to burn a timeout because they only had 10 guys on the field for a punt return of their own. Then they had to burn another one on the field goal try at the start of the third quarter.

13) Not sure about that 3rd and 9 screen on the opening drive of the second quarter. Same with the draw play on the next drive. Felt VERY conservative, like they didn’t want to take a shot beyond the sticks while backed up in their own territory. The Eagles had four straight three-and-outs after scoring the touchdown to go up 16-0, and finished the second quarter with -3 yards on 3 drives. Too much dicking around.

14) Thank you to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the third down drop.

15) Underrated play – Fletcher Cox and Jake Elliott going over to Josh Jobe after a big special teams hit to push him away and prevent a taunting penalty.

16) Romo was right about the chop block call. Jack Stoll tripped over Jason Kelce’s back foot and fell into the New England lineman. He did not, however, articulate whether or not that SHOULD matter, because it was a chop block regardless of whether or not he meant to do it. Either way, the refs threw the flag, setting up 2nd and 21 from inside their own 15 yard line.

17) Arryn Siposs with.. not sure what the hell that was actually. He didn’t bobble the ball, just double-clutched and caused the refs to throw a flag. Ultimately he re-kicked it and the Patriots got the ball back on their own 37 with 2:33 on the clock.

18) Fire Gannon for this:

19) 20-some seconds before halftime and two timeouts. They decided to run the ball and go into halftime up 16-14. Hoo boy!

20) We didn’t need a Tom Brady interview to delay the second half kickoff. Nobody gives a shit about Brady.

21) Kayshon Boutte with a gift for the Birds to open the second half. He had a lot of room to get that second foot down and just didn’t do it. Rookie stuff.

22) Romo said “soft zone” four times in a row in the second half, which was very triggering.

23) Brian Johnson is gonna be a 3rd and long “coward’s draw” guy, eh? I thought we’d seen the last of that after Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg took off more than 10 years ago.

24) Jake Elliott knocking down a 56-yarder on turf in crap elements probably won’t get as much love as it should. Huge kick at that point to regain some momentum. And then the SINGLE DOINK from 48 yards and a 51-yard chip shot? Dunno if the Eagles have some sort of equivalent to the Sixers’ bell ringer, but it should have gone to Jake for his performance. He was locked the fuck in after the missed extra point.

25) Very dubious holding call on Hunter Henry to essentially kill that 3rd quarter Patriots drive. The holding call that ensued was legit, but they shouldn’t have been in 3rd and 17 to begin with. Philly forcing a punt and driving the Pats out of field goal range there was HUGE.

26) The deep shot to A.J. Brown was a big part of what the Eagles did last year. They didn’t take that shot until the 4th quarter in this game, which was overthrown at double coverage. Not a lot of explosive/20+ yard plays for either team in this game.

27) Dallas Goedert (stats), didn’t have a target until early in the 4th quarter. He finished with 0 catches and there were a couple of times he was open and Hurts wasn’t even looking.

28) The Milton Williams roughing the passer penalty was legit. He went low on the QB. Not a ton there, but if you give the refs anything in that department, they’re gonna call it.

29) How about Fletcher Cox turning back the clock in the fourth quarter? A huge defensive stop then some interior pressure to singlehandedly kill off a Patriots drive that had gone 58 yards to that point. 0 points thanks to one-half of the LONG-COX tandem.

30) That bastard Bill Belichick barely got the challenge flag out on the A.J. Brown non-catch. You should be able to challenge whether or not the opposing coach got his challenge flag out in time.

31) Appreciated Lane Johnson yelling “hey! motherfucker’s holding me,” which was clearly audible on television.

32) Absolutely no reason the defense should be giving up a six-play, 75 yard touchdown drive in 1:56 after the offense extended the lead to 11. That was some Gannon-esque shit right there. Turrible! They were pitching a second-half shutout up until that point.

33) Good time for the Birds to get their first sack, setting up 3rd and 12 on the penultimate drive. And then for New England to suffer a delay of game on the ensuing fourth down? Just brutal on their end.

34) Going for it on 4th and 2 at the end there? They didn’t convert, so it was the wrong decision. If they had converted, it would have been the right decision. Those are the rules:

35) Below average Jalen Hurts game. 177 passing yards, 37 on the ground, a touchdown, and a killer fumble. The late turnover was obviously a backbreaker, and prior to that, I thought he did a good job of getting down and giving himself up when he had nowhere to go. No reason to take any unnecessary risks in week 1, though that sequence at the end was completely different.

Beyond that, the TD throw to DeVonta Smith was excellent, just put that in a spot where no defender was reaching it. And that 3rd and 3 scramble was a bit of magic to move the sticks and keep the drive alive and into the 4th quarter to get some points. He missed some throws and made some incorrect decisions in the second half, but overall he just looked like a guy who played 0 preseason snaps and wasn’t anywhere close to the player we know he can be.

36) Britain Covey was solid enough. No ball security issues, got the 25-yard return to provide some good field position on the first drive of the third quarter.

37) Rashaad Penny being a healthy scratch was disappointing, but Kenny Gainwell CLEARLY was the lead guy for this game plan and started well enough, finishing with 54 on the ground and 20 through the air. D’Andre Swift and Boston Scott only got one run each, so they barely even figured into the game. No RB committee, at least not in this game.

38) For all the preseason hype around Nolan Smith, he barely played. Got less than five snaps in the first half and spent some time in the blue medical tent.

39) Nantz made a John Mellencamp reference when they put the “Hurts So Good” graphic went up. Bit of trivia for you – Mellencamp’s second wife, Elaine, is a Boyertown grad. Go Bears. There’s your useless knowledge for the day, you can share it at the work water cooler.

40) One of the game’s biggest surprises was that Derek Barnett finished with no penalty flags.

41) Perfect Eagles game if you think about it. They win on the road but there’s plenty to bitch about on the radio and social media. We back!

(yes, I purposely tried to do 41 observations, go Birds)