INGLEWOOD, CA – There are certain games that help define a football season and what the Eagles did on Sunday in a 23-14 win over the Rams felt like one of those games. With Eagles fans crushing it again on the road, this time at Sofi Stadium, another road game felt like a home game (thanks again, Eagles fans!!!!!) and Philadelphia played its best wall-to-wall 60 minutes of the season, running its record to 5-0, and dominating in every phase of the game.
The offense totaled 454 total net yards and winning every way, particularly on third down with 13 conversions on 18 attempts (72 percent). The defense pitched a shutout in the second half and iced things with a late-game pass-rush show of shows. And Jake Elliott was Jake Elliott with three more field goals, giving him 13 conversions on 14 attempts (93 percent) this season.
Here are some takeaways from a great, great road win ...
1. Maybe it's not so bad to start the game with the football, right? What a way to start a game! The Eagles took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 12 plays, consuming 6 minutes, 23 seconds off the clock. Tight end Dallas Goedert entered the game with 13 receptions for 88 yards in four games and then had four catches, 45 yards and scored on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Eagles gained 6 first downs on the drive, converted a third down for the touchdown, and included a 10-yard gain on a designed Hurts run. The story was Goedert, though, who had gains of 12 yards, 19 yards, and 8 yards before the scoring catch.
2. Goedert finished with 8 receptions for 117 yards on nine targets and he was just spectacular, catching the ball in the open, muscling for some receptions in traffic, and racking up the yards after the catch. When the Eagles can get him going early, it opens up everything for the offense.
"It was great to have some looks early, pop some pads, make some plays," Goedert said. "I knew going in I might see the ball early and the defense reacted the way we thought it would. It was fun out there."
3. Los Angeles wasted no time making sure wide receiver Cooper Kupp, making his season debut after missing the first four games with a hamstring injury, was into the offense. He was targeted 6 times on the opening drive. He had 5 catches for 56 yards, and continually ran in-cutting and crossing routes, mostly from the slot. The Eagles showed him a lot of looks, including Darius Slay following him and coverage from Mario Goodrich and Eli Ricks on a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Kupp finished with 8 catches for 118 yards on 12 targets, but he was quiet in the second half with just 25 yards on 2 catches. The Eagles slowed him down and, not so coincidentally, kept the Rams off the scoreboard in the second half, limiting the Rams to 66 total net yards.
"We want to start better than we did, but we got things right," Slay said. "We went back to basics in the second half and he only caught, what, two passes in the second half? Great team effort."
4. Bradley Roby, signed early in the week and elevated from the practice squad before the game, made his Eagles debut on the second defensive possession, taking over the nickel cornerback spot. He hadn't played since Week 18 of last season when he was with the Saints, who released him in late August. He was on a bit of a pitch count as the Eagles also rotated in Goodrich and Ricks throughout the game at nickel.
5. Four plays, 75 yards, and 32 seconds. The Eagles took possession late in the first half, trailing 14-10 and they needed something. They got everything. A 9-yard Hurts run followed by the big play of the drive, a 38-yard catch (one-handed) by A.J. Brown and a personal foul penalty for a horse-collar tackle put the offense at the Los Angeles 14-yard line and in scoring position. On the next play, Hurts threw for Brown in the left corner of the end zone and the Rams were penalized for pass interference, so the Eagles had the football placed at the 1-yard line with 2 seconds remaining on the clock. They went to the line of scrimmage and Los Angeles took a time out. On the final play of the half, Hurts and the Eagles executed the quarterback sneak – the Tush Push, The Brotherly Shove, whatever you want to call it – and Hurts scored and Jake Elliott kicked the PAT and the Eagles took a 17-14 advantage into the locker room after two quarters.
6. Brown was once again a beast with 6 catches for 127 yards on eight targets. He also drew those two big penalties. Brown has 24 receptions for 433 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games. Wowwowwow!
7. He has gotten better every week this season, and on Sunday, Hurts was just outstanding. He threw the one interception in the end zone, but give credit to cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon for making a terrific catch and getting both feet inbounds. Hurts completed 25 of 38 passes for 303 yards and the touchdown throw to Goedert. Hurts also ran 15 times for 72 yards, his season high and a game high, and he ran tough, broke tackles, and made big plays with gains of 17, 12, 10, 9, and 9 yards. The 17-yard gain was particularly great, with Hurts breaking a tackle, moving forward, and converting a third-and-7 play at the Philadelphia 38-yard line in the midst of a 17-play, 83-yard drive that led to three points.
8. Eagles offense in the first half: 204 total yards, including 144 passing yards, and 18:39 time of possession. The Eagles racked up 16 first downs and converted 7 of 9 third downs, and the Eagles scored touchdowns on two of three possessions in the red zone.
9. One of the big storylines coming into this game was how would the offensive line – with Sua Opeta starting at right guard for Cam Jurgens, who was placed on Injured Reserve with a foot injury – slow down All-World defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams moved Donald both inside (against both Opeta and Landon Dickerson) and on the outside, but the Eagles never allowed him to be a factor. He had four tackles, but no QB pressures, hits, or sacks.
10. The defense in the third quarter, um, was pretty outstanding: Los Angeles had two possessions, ran 12 plays, and gained a total of 30 net yards (with a Reed Blankenship personal foul penalty added on to that) with four first downs and zero points. And then in the fourth quarter? Are you kidding me? Los Angeles ran 12 plays, gained 20 yards, and picked up two first downs until they picked up some garbage yards in the final minute of play. And Haason Reddick closed out the Rams with back-to-back quarterback sacks of Matthew Stafford. Jalen Carter had the other two Eagles sacks as the defensive line played without Fletcher Cox and Marlon Tuipulotu.
11. Philadelphia punted one time on the way to 454 total net yards and check out some of these drives: 12 plays, 75 yards, touchdown; 15 plays, 56 yards, field goal; 4 plays, 75 yards, touchdown; 7 plays, 75 yards, touchdown; 17 plays, 83 yards, field goal; 10 plays, 72 yards, field goal. The Eagles had seven offensive possessions, scored five times, had one punt, and one giveaway. Anything to improve upon? Of course. Always. The red zone offense will be a point of emphasis during the week as the Eagles scored two touchdowns in seven trips inside the Los Angeles 20-yard line. Always something to work on, right?
12. Good discipline in this one: The Eagles were whistled for just 3 penalties, costing them 35 yards. That really helped against the Rams and it's a number the coaches harp on and talk about all the time. Really good stuff there.
13. Finally, the Tush Push (I prefer Brotherly Shove): The Eagles were successful on their first 4 attempts with Hurts sneaking it, missing only in the final minute, looking to milk the clock. It's a great short-yardage weapon that the Eagles run to near perfection. The rest of the league doesn't do it nearly as well and, hey, who cares what they think? We're from Philly and we don't care! The Eagles are 5-0!