Philadelphia Eagles News

Spadaro: 15 takeaways from the Eagles' signature win of the season

Head Coach Nick Sirianni
Head Coach Nick Sirianni

On a beautiful fall Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles put together a complete performance and broke a tie game late in the third quarter with 14 unanswered points on the way to a 31-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in the first of two Kelly Green games that was just, in a word, outstanding! The Eagles dominated Miami defensively, bounced back from a couple of offensive giveaways to ring up 26 first downs, 355 total yards, and control the time of possession to the tune of 36 minutes, 43 seconds.

A classic? Yes, it was. A Kelly Green Classic that improved the Eagles to 6-1 on the season with a signature victory. Here are some takeaways from a great, great Eagles night at the Linc ...

1. Want a great answer after a really tough play? The Eagles showed what it was all about late in the third quarter after quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a pass that was intercepted and then returned for a touchdown to tie the game at 17-17. The Eagles drove 75 yards in 8 plays with Hurts completing 5 of 6 passes for 72 yards, the last completion a 14-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown and the Eagles were back in front 24-17. The offense was operating into the wind and the sting from the pick-six was still apparent in the stands – the Eagles had led 17-3 – so that drive showed everything that this team is about – resilience, toughness, explosive, and clutch. Great, great drive.

2. And then the Eagles played complementary football as the defense stepped up on the ensuing Miami offensive possession. The Dolphins drove from their 31-yard line to the Philadelphia 24-yard line, where on third-and-8 and the crowd roaring, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw to the right corner for running back Raheem Mostert, who was running a route against linebacker Zach Cunningham, a good matchup for Miami. Cornerback Darius Slay eyed the play, came off his receiver, Jaylen Waddle, and intercepted the pass at the 1-yard line and returned it to the 17 and the offense had the ball again. The defense was awesome all night and that play was a signature – a takeaway that mattered in a big way. It was the defense's first takeaway since the Tampa Bay game, a span of three games without one. Clutch, clutch.

3. So what did the offense do with the ball after that? Just this: 13 plays, 83 yards, 6 minutes and 35 seconds off the clock, a drive that included two fourth-and-1 Brotherly Shove conversions that were classic Nick Sirianni. One came with 10:01 remaining at the Eagles 26-yard line and then just four plays later at the Philadelphia 37-yard line. The Eagles converted four fourth downs and, yes, the Brotherly Shove just went national. International, maybe. The entire world watched it work to perfection.

4. Fantastic pre-game show and a tribute to the Kelly Green era all around with music from that era playing throughout the game. The Eagles ran out of the tunnel to LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out," and Tag Team played "Whoomp (There It Is)" at halftime and, of course, there was Kelly Green everywhere. Independence flew into the middle of the field, where the classic Eagles logo – Eagle holding a football in its talons – was painted onto the field. Amazing show and incredible energy in the building. At one point, as the fans were singing along to A-ha's hit "Take on Me," Hurts had to signal the crowd to quiet down so that he could get the play call.

5. The Eagles scored on their first possession for the sixth time in seven games, a Jake Elliott field goal. The team converted two third downs before failing on one inside the 10-yard line. Hurts was 3 of 4 on the drive for 46 yards, with two big completions to tight end Dallas Goedert for 44 yards.

6. Philadelphia's defense did a magnificent job on Miami's high-powered offense – Miami had -7 yards rushing and 43 passing until its final possession of the first half and then got going on that drive. A converted third-and-18 completion to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson gained 29 yards to keep the drive alive and then on a third-and-8 play, Tagovailoa completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill to bring Miami to within 17-10 at the half. That drive threatened to change the momentum of the entire game, because the Eagles had dominated to that point. Then the defense was terrific in the second half against Miami.

7. The numbers: Miami's offense gained just 244 total net yards and converted only 4 of 11 third downs. The Eagles sacked Tua four times (Josh Sweat two, Jordan Davis and Fletcher Cox shared one, and Nolan Smith had his first career quarterback sack) and limited Miami to 45 rushing yards (Haason Reddick was great setting the edge). Hill had 11 catches (on 15 targets) and a touchdown, but only 88 receiving yards.

8. Philadelphia had zero penalties (compared to 10 for Miami). Let that sink in. And the Eagles scored on their first five possessions in the red zone – they had a late-game, meaningless possession and kneeled on the ball – and scored four touchdowns. The red zone offense is getting better and better.

9. A.J. Brown did it again. He caught 10 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets and his 42-yard grab late in the game between two defenders was simply sensational. That's his fifth straight game of 125-plus yards receiving, tying former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (1992) in ... NFL ... history. Wow.

10. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith deserves some love as well, because he had 4 catches for 49 yards and it wasn't easy out there in traffic and just making really tough catches. Such a standout player.

11. Philadelphia's first touchdown was so beautiful. Hurts threw left to Goedert (five receptions on five targets) on a first down from the Miami 19-yard line and Goedert got a terrific block from Brown and then followed a path-clearing block from left tackle Jordan Mailata to reach the end zone. Great call and excellent execution.

12. A second conversion in the red zone put the Eagles ahead 17-3 and it was all possible because Hurts, on a gutsy fourth-and-3 call from the Miami 33-yard line, rolled right to buy time and threw back across his body to Brown, who made the catch and advanced the ball all the way to the 1-yard line. Hurts and the offense put the ball in the end zone with a Brotherly Shove play and the Eagles led by two touchdowns.

The Eagles brought back the '90s-era Kelly Green uniforms for their Sunday Night Football clash with the Miami Dolphins. Check out photos from the prime-time showdown.

13. Wide receiver Julio Jones played 16 snaps and caught one pass for 3 yards and made some solid blocks in the running game. He looked just fine out there.

14. Underrated and really strong job by nickel cornerbacks Eli Ricks and Josiah Scott, who split time. Both played well and were part of a defensive performance that limited Miami to 216 passing yards.

15. The Eagles' running game wasn't great, but the offense kept at it and that was important. Philadelphia gained 99 yards on 34 attempts, including three kneeldowns. D'Andre Swift was really strong inside with 15 carries and 62 yards, including a burst of 22 yards late in the fourth quarter. He's tough and physical and has great vision. He's been everything the Eagles hoped he would be.