EAGLES LOOK IMPRESSIVE IN WIN OVER FALCONS
The Eagles were supposed to be a three, four win team according to many observers. The best predictions saw the Birds winning maybe nine games this season. And those outlooks may still come true.
But how can Eagles fans not be excited after watch this young football team dominate the Atlanta Falcons 32-6 on the road in the season opener.
The Eagles (1-0) benefited from a healthy offensive line that produced 173 yards rushing as a team. Was this the type of game running back Miles Sanders expected?
“Absolutely,” Sanders said. “It's definitely what I expected. And this is only the beginning. We're taking it one week at a time. Round one is over. We got the W, now it's on the San Francisco.”
Rookie head coach Nick Sirianni talked about his message to the team all week and before the game.
“The whole message was about having a dog mentality,” Sirianni said at his post game press conference. “And that dog mentality, means that no matter what happened on one play, whether it was an interception, whether it was a touchdown, whether it was a minus run whether it was a 20-yard run whether it was a sack, no matter what happened, play the next play...be in the moment.
“Just like in our analogy is just like a dog would respomd when you open up the cage and he goes, he goes to hunt. So that was the message that was, the main message and I felt like we had a good first half, especially the way we ended the first half.
“The defense was firing and, and that's some of the thing that the guys were talking about like 'hey, that first half doesn't count and doesn't matter, it doesn't it didn't happen. We're right here we are in the moment again and that was my message to the team.”
That dog mentality showed up in the stat sheets.
Second year pro Jalen Hurts was outstanding under center.
He was 27 of 35 for 264 yards, three touchdown passes and no turnovers. Hurts was sacked once and rushed seven times for 62 yards.
Sanders rushed 15 times for 74 yards (4.9 Yards per carry), he caught four passes for 39 more
Rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell rushed nine times for 37 yards and an eight-yard touchdown
Rookie receiver DeVonta Smith looked every bit the gifted play maker he was billed as, catching six passes for 71 yards, including a terrific 18-yard "rub" route touchdown in the first quarter that actually ended up being the winning score.
Darius Slay and Steven Nelson each contributed six total tackles. Slay also knocked down a pass. The Birds defense also sacked Matt Ryan three times with Javon Hargrave registering two , Hassan Ridgeway one.
Ryan finished 21 of 35 for 164 yards. The Falcons (0-1) rushed for 124 yards as a team.
“I can't say enough about how well our defense played,” Sirianni said after the game.
Nothing seems too much for Smith. The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner said he knew the play he score on was coming an was confident it would work.
“When I saw it was man coverage, I know the play was coming,” Smith said. “With all the reps we do, it comes down to reps, you just get used to it. And that's why it was executed good.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii