The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) defeated the Denver Broncos (3-5) by the final score of 51-23 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Eagles put together a dominant effort while making a statement to the rest of the NFL that they are truly dominant force. Carson Wentz, Corey Clement and Alshon Jeffery headlined the Birds’ top offensive performers while Brandon Graham, Nigel Bradham and Vinny Curry led the way for the defense.
1. Eagles put up 50+ points against one of the NFL’s top defenses
The Eagles put up more than 50 points for the first time since December 22, 2013, when they beat the Chicago Bears 54-11. They did it against one of the NFL’s best defenses, the Denver Broncos were ranked number one in overall defense (261 yards allowed per game) and number two in rushing defense (72.9 rushing yards allowed per game) going into today’s game in Philadelphia. Denver boasted one of the league’s top pass rushes as well as a very good secondary, but they weren’t enough to stop the red hot Eagles offense from doing what they wanted.
2. Carson Wentz puts together an excellent game, remains an MVP candidate
Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz continued his excellent season today against a very good Denver defense, throwing for 199 yards and four touchdowns, good for a 118.7 passer rating. He made all of the throws, whether it was a perfect pass to Trey Burton for a touchdown or fooling Broncos’ cornerback Aqib Talib and then throwing a beauty to Alshon Jeffery for a touchdown. On the season, Wentz, who is in only his second year in the NFL, is putting up terrific numbers. After today’s game, Wentz’s season totals are 2,262 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions. If he continues on this pace, don’t be shocked to see Wentz in the conversation for MVP.
3. Offensive line had an excellent game, blocking played key role in the victory
Carson Wentz had a very good game against one of the NFL’s best defenses, and part of that was due to the excellent blocking by the offensive line. The Broncos have premier pass rusher Von Miller, but he was held to one sack that came in garbage time. Wentz, for the most part, was kept upright and had a clean pocket to throw from, which played a huge role in the second year quarterback’s success.
The rushing attack had one of it’s best games of the season, and the offensive line also played a massive role in their success. Philadelphia rushed for 197 yards against a Denver defense that was previously allowing only 72.9 yards per game. The offensive line was opening up holes for all four Eagles running backs, which led to the dominant effort on the ground and as a result the Eagles eighth win of the year.
4. The rushing attack, specifically Corey Clement, has an excellent game
As mentioned above, the Eagles put together an extremely good performance on the ground against a defense that was very good at stopping the run. All four running backs got involved, but Corey Clement had arguably the best game out of the group. Clement, who has slowly began to play better and better, totaled 51 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, good for 4.3 yards per carry. Clement also tallied a 15-yard touchdown reception in the Eagles rout of the Denver Broncos. An undrafted free agent that the Eagles took a chance on, Clement is really paying off dividends for Philadelphia.
5. Welcome to Philadelphia, Jay Ajayi
Earlier in the week, Philadelphia pulled off a huge trade when they acquired Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a 2018 fourth-round pick. Ajayi was questionable to play in today’s game, but he ended up playing and he played a key role in the Eagles’ ground game. He totaled 77 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and was also used as a decoy on a few pass plays early in the game.
Ajayi, similar to LeGarrette Blount, is bruising running back, and it was speculated that it was going to be difficult to give both of them their fair share of touches. Well, head coach Doug Pederson did an excellent job in dividing up the carries between all of the running backs for at least one game. Ajayi had eight carries, Blount had nine, Clement had 12 and Smallwood had five (although they were in garbage time). Hopefully, Pederson is going to be able to continue to balance all of the running backs in this offense.
6. Wentz’s connection with receiver Alshon Jeffery continues to grow
Alshon Jeffery, who was brought in on a one-year contract this offseason, took a long time to develop a connection with quarterback Carson Wentz. After today’s win over the Broncos, that connection seems to have finally blossomed into some good production. Jeffery tallied 84 yards and two touchdowns on six catches, and has 34 catches for 500 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Wentz and this Eagles offense is dangerous as it is, but once Wentz fully develops chemistry with his number one receiver, the Eagles offense will be nearly unstoppable.
7. No Ertz, no problem
When tight end and Eagles top receiver Zach Ertz was ruled out in pregame warmups with a hamstring injury, fans and experts alike began to worry about how the offense would fare without him. After the game, it is fair to say that that concern has been answered. Trey Burton and Brent Celek picked up the slack from Ertz missing the game, totaling a combined five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Burton specifically filled in by grabbing a beautiful 27-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Not having Ertz doesn’t seem to be a problem, but it won’t matter much because Ertz is expected to be back by the team’s next game.
8. The defense was dominant yet again
While the Eagles’ offense had a fantastic game, the defense also played very well. In a battle of two top defenses, the Eagles defense continued to play up to expectations while the Broncos defense fell apart. The Eagles allowed a meager 226 total yards in this game, and they created two turnovers as well. Rodney McLeod and Patrick Robinson each had an interception, and the defensive line continued to apply pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback. Brock Osweiler didn’t have a clean pocket for much of the day as the Eagles hit him 10 times and sacked him three times. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham specifically had good games, combining for seven tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss and one quarterback hit.
9. Eagles continue to be excellent at third downs on both sides of the football
The Eagles stand at 8-1 after their rout of the Denver Broncos, and their success at third downs on both sides of the football plays a massive part in the team’s overall success. The defense going into today’s game was ranked third in the NFL in third down percentage at 31 percent. The offense was ranked second in third down percentage at 48 percent. Their third down success continued against Denver, as the defense held Denver’s offense to 3-13 on third down and the Philadelphia offense went 5-13 on third down. If the team as a whole can continue their success on third down then they could very well make a deep playoff run, and possibly make it to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles made it through relatively unscathed on the injury front. Linebacker Joe Walker went through the concussion protocol in the middle of the game, but he ended up coming back in after missing not much time. Right tackle Lane Johnson seemed to be struggling through a lower back injury in the second half of the game, but it doesn’t seem to be something major.
The 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles sit atop the NFL as they go into their bye week. The team will have time to rest and recover before they take on the division rival Dallas Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday Night Football on NBC on November 19.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/www.philadelphiaeagles.com