There's obviously a lot to discuss coming out of Sunday's loss to Green Bay, where there were plenty of things on both sides of the "good and bad" ledger to take away from after watching the film.
I first want to start with Jalen Reagor, the Eagles' first-round pick, who scored his second career touchdown (and his first as a punt returner) against the Packers while also being featured as a receiver and as a runner.
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Reagor's versatile skill set and ability to make plays with the ball in his hands is one of the reasons why I viewed him as one of the top receivers in the NFL Draft. His punt return for a score, the first by an Eagles player since Darren Sproles in 2015 against the Patriots, was my favorite highlight from Sunday.
In terms of yards from scrimmage, the biggest play for the Eagles' offense was a deep shot play to tight end Dallas Goedert. Now, you don't usually see tight ends as a featured weapon in the vertical pass game, but that speaks to Goedert's versatility and dynamic playmaking skills. They showed up on this play.
Goedert ran a great route, showing awesome quickness in and out of his break, along with the speed to get up to the third level of the defense. It was a great play design as well, attacking Green Bay's coverage, and Wentz did a good job getting the ball out to him. That's not an easy throw to make, as he's bootlegging to his right and having to throw across his body to the opposite hash 30-plus yards downfield. The two hooked up for a big play and a first down to get the Eagles to midfield.
Obviously, the offense was mostly inefficient in this game, and it led to the benching of quarterback Carson Wentz. There are a bunch of plays that he would like to have back, but I thought one two-play sequence that showed a couple of the issues facing both he and the offense in general showed up late in the first quarter, on a drive that ended with sacks on consecutive plays, knocking them out of field goal range.
Whether it's receivers not separating or finishing at the catch point, protection not holding up, routes not working against specific coverages, or the quarterback not executing, the offense has been plagued with issues this year. Injuries have certainly played a factor. But it was time for the team to see if it could get a spark in the second half of that game, and as Head Coach Doug Pederson said on Monday, quarterback Jalen Hurts did give them the spark he was looking for.
Like Wentz, Hurts has the ability to create and make plays with his legs. Hurts' legs are a bit younger and fresher, so his ability to escape was maybe a bit more apparent in this game. He took off for multiple first downs in the second half, sometimes eschewing a throw that was open in favor of taking off, but that's to be expected with young quarterbacks seeing their first playing time.
Hurts finished just 5-for-12 on the afternoon with a couple of sacks, a pick, and a touchdown. This wasn't a performance that blew anyone away looking at box score, but as we saw some bad, we also saw some good as well. Two throws, in particular, were notable by the young quarterback.
This third-down completion from Hurts to tight end Zach Ertz was good to see in that he hit the receiver he was supposed to hit. Ertz was wide open due to an apparent coverage bust by Green Bay. This was a concept that the Eagles had run multiple times in the game (you saw it on that two-play sack sequence above), and this was the only time it resulted in a catch. Part of that is on the defense, but you like the execution from the quarterback as well.
The highlight for Hurts in this game was the 32-yard touchdown to wide receiver Greg Ward. The concept was meant to attack Cover 3, which the Packers played, and Hurts knew where to go with the football, stepping up to his right, and delivering on the move for a score. Well done by the rookie.
On the defensive side, I thought all three defensive tackles shined in this one. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Malik Jackson all had their moments. Cox probably had more than most, and Hargrave got the biggest highlight of the three. Here were some of my favorite plays from those two.
The last guy I want to focus on is Alex Singleton, who continues to fly around the field and find his way to the football. Was it his best performance? No. There were plays he'd like to have back (including the long touchdown run by Aaron Jones to seal the win for Green Bay), but his energy shows up every time he steps on the field.
The Eagles have another tough test on tap against the New Orleans Saints, the first team to clinch a playoff berth in the NFC after their win against Atlanta. Both sides of the ball will face a stiff challenge. I'll be here to break it down on Monday.
Fran Duffy is the producer of the Emmy-nominated Eagles Game Plan show which can be seen every gameday during the season on NBC10 in Philadelphia. He is also the host of two Eagles-related podcasts, Eagle Eye in the Sky, which examines the team from an X's and O's angle each and every week as well as the Journey to the Draft podcast, which covers college football and the NFL Draft all year round. Fran also authors the Eagle Eye in the Sky column, which runs four times a week during the football season to serve as a recap for the previous game and to preview the upcoming matchup. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging, and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices, and opponents.