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Ten Takeaways from the Eagles’ 34-7 Rout of the Cardinals

The Philadelphia Eagles put on a clinic in South Philly on Sunday afternoon in their NFC matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Birds were dominant in all three aspects of the game. Doug Pederson had a perfect game plan in place and his team made light work of a lesser team.

All of that said: let’s get into my ten takeaways from the game.

1. Third down efficiency.

The Eagles were incredible on third down today (and the season in general). The Birds converted on roughly 70% of their third downs on the game. Third down was Wentz’s money down. In a spot where the Eagles would have punted last year they seem to have found a lot of success this year. This is one of the things good teams do that average teams don’t.

2. Special Teams are special again.

Dave Fipp’s unit should be recognized again as one of the elite in football. The Eagles allowed very little when kicking and punting today. The Cardinals didn’t start over the 25 at all on kickoffs and the punt coverage was on point as well. The most noteworthy part? Kenjon Barner as the new punt returner. He had 110 yards on punt returns today including a 74-yarder that set the Eagles up in the red-zone on their second drive of the game. Barner was a difference maker for the Birds and he should continue to be one moving forward.

3. Defense performed well down two key players.

Fletcher Cox and Ronald Darby missed today’s game. Someone forgot to tell Beau Allen and Patrick Robinson they were backups. The Eagles were never out of control of today’s game and the defense deserves all the credit in the world. The Cardinals rushed for 31 (!) yards and 291 through the air. In what was a high powered offense in the past, finding a way to keep the Cardinals to 7 points was something not many pundits predicted. Also, kudos to Rodney McLeod for preventing a garbage time touchdown, thus allowing a true blowout to be seen around the league.

4. The Cardinals helped out the Eagles’ defense at times.

While the Birds’ D did their job and only allowed seven points, it could have easily been 17 or more points. Poor clock management before the half, a blocked field goal, and a lucky forced fumble that rolled out of the end zone and the Cardinals are in this game. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good, but that’s not something they can live on forever. They played very well, but there are still some inconsistencies in the defense.

Note: the Eagles’ defense does this weird thing when they have their opponent in a third and long situation; they play back and guard the sticks instead of playing in a normal situation. This is something to keep an eye on.

5. Tim Jernigan deserves a contract extension.

Tim Jernigan is good. There’s not much else to be said. With and without Cox by his side he is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. He earned a contract extension for sure.Check out this play where he rips through the line and blows up the play in the backfield.

It would appear Howie Roseman won this trade.

6. Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz are very much in sync.

In other news, water is wet. But seriously, these two have insane chemistry. Wentz is constantly looking Ertz’s way. He is the most targeted receiver on the team and he is finally *knock on wood* having the breakout season we’ve been waiting for. These two are going to be fun to watch for a while.

7. Carson Wentz is a Brett Farve incarnate.

Yep, I said it. The dude is a gunslinger at heart and has this uncanny ability to maneuver the pocket and look downfield. Just like Farve, he will throw his fair share of interceptions. His one to Antoine Bethea is evidence of that.

A risky play by the second-year quarterback. It ended up being harmless, but it wasn’t the best read on his part.

On the flip side of that, he can sling it with the best of them. His two long touchdown passes to Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor are perfect evidence of that.

8. Left Guard by committee (again).

The dumbest rotation in football continues. Stefen Wisniewski has been the better left guard but for some reason Chance Warmack is still seeing snaps. The Eagles are a better team with Wiz in. Period.

9. Nelson Agholor is playing exceptionally well.

I’m not ashamed to say it, but I hated the Jordan Matthews trade when it went down. Matthews was Wentz’s favorite target, Agholor was unproven (to put it nicely), the Birds are already low on draft picks, and I was uneducated on Ronald Darby.I was wrong. Nelson Agholor has been playing well this season. He is proving to be a good slot receiver and third-fourth option in the Eagles high powered offense. I’m happy to see the kid succeed and I hope he can keep it up all season long. It looks like *knocks on wood aggressively* the Birds won this trade big time.

Plus, he has my second favorite play of the season so far.

10. Jake Elliott is still money.

He went 2-2 on field goals and consistently pinned the Cardinals back behind the 25 on kickoffs. Elliott has been one of the best surprises of the season.

Bonus: This Eagles touchdown celebration is on point.

After Torrey Smith took the top off the Cardinals defense, the Eagles broke out the best group celebration to date. Just watch for yourself.

You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at [email protected]. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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