The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 7-1 in a pretty entertaining game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday. As always, we give out 10 awards if you win, lose or draw.
Playing with a bad knee, Hurts was a star. He completed 29 of 38 passes (76.3%) for 319 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs, for a passer rating of 135.7. On a day where the defense allowed 472 yards, 26 first downs and a time of possession of 31:29, Hurts had to be outstanding in this game to stay close and ultimately win it.
Brown had his sixth straight game with at least 125 receiving yards, an NFL record. To recap:
Add it all up and you get 49 catches for 831 yards and 5 touchdowns. This is just an incredible route. But beyond the numbers, Brown also does it in style, as he made one of the highlight receptions of the season:
This is excellent coverage from Benjamin St-Juste, the game’s cornerback. But if you put the ball in that spot and the receiver makes a catch like that, you just can’t defend it.
3) The “(Art of) Perfection” Award 🅰️➕: Brown and DeVonta Smith
Smith also had a good game as he had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Brown’s 8 catches came on 8 targets and Smith’s 7 catches came on 7 targets. In other words, when Hurts targeted Brown or Smith, he was 15 for 15 for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns. Is it good? That seems good.
Of course, one of those “catches” wasn’t a catch, which brings us to the next award…
4) The “Thank You” Award 🙏: Ron Rivera
In the third quarter, a Hurts throw to Smith on a 4th-and-4 from the Commanders’ 46-yard line clearly hit the ground and should have been ruled incomplete. But the Eagles rushed to the line and got the playoff.
After the play, it appeared that the command bench saw that Smith’s “catch” should not have counted as it strongly signaled that the ball was incomplete. However, for some crazy reason they didn’t challenge and the game stood. Even if they didn’t get video evidence before the next snap, how can you not challenge this play at such a crucial point?!?
With all the plays that are automatically challenged, are teams even running out of challenges? When was the last time that happened? What are you saving them for?
Of course, Rivera also made the crazy decision not to go for two and try to win a regulation game against the Eagles in Week 4. Without Rivera’s fumble in this series, the Eagles probably won’t be 7-1.
5) The Old Guy Can Still Play a Little Award 👴: Julio Jones
On a trip to the red zone in the 4th quarter, the Eagles scored a 2nd and 8th minute goal to tie the game at 24 points. Hurts delivered a throw that was behind Jones, but Jones reached back, made a great catch and held on to the ball after absorbing a big hit.
Jones said after the game that he was the main target of the game, which is interesting because the offensive team was preparing a play for him all week and then executing it at the crucial moment.
Jones is 6’3, 220. Brown is 6’1, 226. Dallas Goedert is 6’5, 256. Oh, and even though Smith is skinny, he has proven he can consistently win on contested catches. With all the firepower in the red zone, you might not want to think about it too much.
6) The “Overthinking It” Award 🤔: Every touch from Kenny Gainwell in the red zone
Just stop it already. Gainwell lost a fumble today on 1st and goal from the Commander 3 yard line. Nick Sirianni defended Gainwell after the game:
Nick Sirianni on sticking with Kenny Gainwell after his blunder: “We will never lose faith in Kenny. He had a mistake. Do we take Jalen out after an INT? No. When AJ failed three games in a row last year, did we lose faith in him? No. That would be stupid.” pic.twitter.com/k6AS6IiwkJ
— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) October 29, 2023
While I can certainly understand Sirianni always having his players’ backs – and he should – that’s the way it is Really “stupid” to lose a little trust in him?
I guess my counter-argument would be that Hurts was the MVP runner-up a year ago and Brown is an all-world receiver. Are we really comparing Kenny Gainwell to these guys?
7) The “Resiliency” Award: The Eagles’ defense
As noted above, the Eagles gave up nearly 500 yards to an offense that has been historically poor in some areas of the offense this season, most notably quarterback protection. The Eagles failed to put pressure on Sam Howell, and the Commanders’ receivers were often wide open down the field. For example:
The defense finally got stronger when Reed Blankenship made the defensive play of the day when he picked off Howell.
“I read his eyes and I saw that he was looking pretty close, and I thought, ‘We’ve got to make a move,'” Blankenship said. “So I tried it and luckily it worked out pretty well.”
Blankenship was otherwise very critical of the day he had.
“I didn’t get much of my work done today,” he said. “At the end of the day you have to go back and correct your mistakes, but a win is a win.”
When asked which plays he was unhappy with, Blankenship said: “You can pull them all up. The touchdown I scored on, wrong leverage, not playing with good eyes. I have to fix this when I get back.”
Blankenship’s day was a kind of microcosm of Defense Day. They were sloppy, but once the big play was made, they were able to put the Commanders away and force turnovers on their next two possessions.
Maybe “resilience” is just another way of saying the defense stunk most of the day but ultimately got the job done? Potato, Potahto.
8) The “You Get Coffee” Award ☕: Haason Reddick, the closer
Against Commanders Week 4, Reddick made a number of great plays late in the game to help them win.
Against the Rams in Week 5, he had back-to-back sacks to effectively end the game.
And in Week 8 against the Commanders, he basically ended another game with a strip sack of Howell on 4th down.
Give the closer some coffee.
9) The “Gauntlet” Award 😱: The Eagles’ difficult schedule lies ahead
Yes, the Commanders tend to cause trouble for the Eagles, but we can all agree they stink, right? Well, they are the last bad opponent the Eagles will face for a while as they begin the difficult part of their schedule starting next Sunday. Here are their next six opponents, with their respective DVOA rankings in parentheses:
• Week 9: Cowboys (10)
• Week 10: Bye
• Week 11: At Chiefs (3)
• Week 12: Bills (4)
• Week 13: 49ers (2)
• Week 14: At Cowboys (10)
• Week 15: At Seahawks (9)
The Eagles have done well to put seven games on the board heading into this stretch, but the next month and a half will tell us a lot about their chances of winning a Super Bowl this season.
10) The “Deadline” Award 🤝: Howie Roseman
The Eagles have already signed Kevin Byard, but the NFL trade deadline is Tuesday and Howie Roseman is reportedly sniffing around other players who may be available. Could he provide a slot corner? Running back? More edge rusher depth? A linebacker? The Eagles are already good. I mean, they have the best record in the NFL. Expect Roseman to try to improve them down the home stretch.