Eagles

Ten Takeaways from the Eagles’ 51-23 Annihilation of the Broncos

BRIAN GARFINKEL | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

On Sunday afternoon the Philadelphia Eagles squared off against the best defense in football. Someone forgot to tell the Eagles offense that; they had their way with the Denver Broncos, putting up over 400 yards of total offense, 51 points, and only giving up one turnover.

The Eagles were clearly in a different league than the Broncos all afternoon. Without getting too far ahead of myself, let’s dive into the ten takeaways from the Bird’s eighth win of the season!

1. Carson Wentz continues to impress.

After last week’s so-so performance, Carson Wentz bounced back to throw 15/27 for 199 yards and four touchdowns. No interceptions against arguably the best cornerback duo in the league.

While those number’s don’t exactly jump off the page as elite numbers, he still threw for four touchdowns. Two of them were absolute dimes.

Here’s a look at the first one:

Look how he draws in Aqib Talib and drops it in the bucket to Alshon Jeffery (more on that later). Beautiful pitch and catch from Wentz to Jeffery.

Here’s the second pass to Trey Burton:

I didn’t see what route Burton ran (it looked like a fade to me), but Wentz put it where no Bronco could and trusted his tight end to make a play on the ball.

Carson Wentz now has 23 touchdowns on the year, the most in the league. Tell me again how he’s overrated?

2. Alshon Jeffery sighting again!

Alshon Jeffery posted six catches for 84 yards with two touchdowns. Finally, our number one wide receiver put up (almost) WR1 numbers.

As you saw from the previous takeaway, Jeffery torched Aqib Talib and hauled in the 30-yard touchdown. He also had a four-yard touchdown grab to put the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. By that point the game was well out of reach for the Broncos.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Alshon Jeffery is paramount to this offense. He showed it today, however he definitely benefited from Zach Ertz being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

3. The “Next Man Up” mentality is in full swing.

With Ertz out, Trey Burton and Brent Celek stepped up in his absence. The two tight ends combined for five catches for eighty yards and a touchdown. For the most part, that’s a traditional Zach Ertz stat line. For what it’s worth, Brent Celek still has some juice left in him. I don’t know what’s left, but there’s still some in the tank for Father Time. On the other hand, Trey Burton has a fair amount of potential, I’m interested to see how the Birds handle his contract situation, he will hit free agency at the end of the season.

Lane Johnson had to step away for a few plays due to an upper body injury. Isaac Seumalo got some reps in his absence, mostly against Von Miller. Seumalo is still very green, to put it kindly. He needs work for sure. He let up a strip-sack (for a touchdown) pretty deep into garbage time.

Big V played well in Jason Peters absence. I didn’t hear his name called at all today which is a huge plus. Good look on Howie Roseman on NOT trading for another tackle.

4. Rookie Watch 2017.

The rookies continue to put a lot into these team wins, let’s see how they did.

Derek Barnett: The first-round pick registered three tackles and continued to look like a force on the defensive line. He is only going to get better and will continue to learn from some of the best in the game.

Rasul Douglas: Douglas damn near had a pick six in the first half. He added two tackles and continues to resemble an NFL cornerback. He looked pretty good in coverage and was all over Demaryius Thomas on Rodney McLeod’s interception. The only bad thing I noticed was that he got mossed by Cody Latimer in garbage time.

Mack Hollins: Hollins had a quiet day. He had one catch for eight yards. It was a timing route so it was good to see that he and Wentz were on the same page. He missed a tackle on special teams which led to a big return for the Broncos. Aside from that it was a quiet day for the rookie wideout.

Corey Clement: South Jersey’s own Corey Clement had a great game against the Broncos. He ran for 51 yards on 12 attempts for two touchdowns. He also added one catch for 15 yards and a touchdown. It is clear that he will be a part of this offense past this season. (More on that later)

Jake Elliot: Legatron, as Nelson Agholor and Bryce Treggs cleverly nicknamed him, had a pretty good game on Sunday. He nailed his only field goal attempt (a 45-yarder) and went 6-7 on extra points. I think he has the job locked up, but he’s leaving small room for doubt.

5. Jay Ajayi’s addition actually crowds the backfield.

First thing’s first, I’m so happy that the Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi. He instantly makes our backfield better, and that was apparent on Sunday afternoon.

Ajayi rushed 8 times for 77 yards and one touchdown. He was crucial on that touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery in the first quarter, too. Ajayi is the future of this backfield.

Now to the other backs:

LeGarrette Blount had a good day at the office, he ran nine times for 37 yards. He and Ajayi will have a nice one-two punch for the rest of the season.

Corey Clement also figures to be a part of the backfield moving forward. He out touched Ajayi and Blount in the game. The Eagles are very fond of their undrafted free agent running back, for obvious reason. Clement is a gamer.

Wendell Smallwood is the odd-man out. He didn’t register a touch until the final offensive drive of the game. His future in Philadelphia is unclear.

Kenjon Barner is simply the return man now.

6. Doug Pederson’s play-calling was great, despite some questionable ones.

Let me start by saying this: it’s hard to knit-pick when your offense puts up 51 points. Doug called a gem of a game against the best defense in football. If he can do that against the Broncos, I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the season.

However, he did leave me scratching my head on one occasion: the end of the first half. The Eagles got the ball back with roughly one minute left in the half. Doug called a stretch play to Corey Clement which went for a few yards. The clock continued to run down under 30 seconds but the Eagles didn’t call a timeout. Alshon Jeffery made a sideline catch to stop the clock on the next play but the Eagles didn’t make anything of the drive. It ended up being a non-factor, but it was weird to see that Doug wanted to get the ball back and then intentionally did nothing with it. Strange.

7. But we still call him “Big Balls Doug.”

In case you were wondering, he still has ’em. Pederson went for it on fourth and one up 31-9 in the redzone. Wentz passed to Agholor for the first down, then Corey Clement scored on an option play short after to put the Birds up 38-9.

Deeper into garbage time, Doug went for it on fourth and one on the Denver 39. This time Nick Foles threw a 35-yard fly to Nelson Agholor who made the contested catch over Chris Harris Jr.

Live and die by the aggressiveness, Doug. I love it.

8. This defense is legit!

I know, the Broncos don’t have a good offense, but still! This defense is something special. Jim Schwartz has his unit buzzing. Without getting too far into it, everyone on this defense is contributing to it’s success. From Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham on the line, to Malcolm Jenkins and Jalen Mills in the secondary, everyone is doing their job.

To the linebackers: it’s great to see Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks stepping up. It’s great to see what was once a weak point actually be a strength. They’re both playing the best football of their careers this season.

9. This secondary is sneaky good.

I know I said it last week, but this secondary is deep and good. Jalen Mills played well today and so did Rasul Douglas. The Eagles also threw in a couple multiple safety sets with Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Jim Schwartz has a lot of different pieces he can play with and he uses his toys to his advantage.

The player that I want to focus on, however, is Patrick Robinson. Once thought to not make the team out of training camp, he is turning out to be one of the best corners on the team. He had a huge interception in the first half of Sunday’s game and is proving to still have the playmaking ability he showed when he was a first round draft pick back in 2010.

Oh, and Ronald Darby will be back the next time the Eagles take the field. Let that sink in.

10. The Eagles are the best team in football.

I know there are no medals for doing the best in the regular season, especially after week 9, but the Eagles are playing as a team and dominating football games.

The Birds are firing on all cylinders and it looks like they still have yet to play their best football. They play a fun brand of football: the offense puts up points, the defense flies around and makes plays, and the special teams are always liable to take one to the house. Take it in, Philadelphia, you have the best team in football. Cheers to 8-1!


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram

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