The book on Denver's defense going into Sunday's game was that, well, you just have to be patient. You couldn't run on Denver. The "No-Fly Zone" secondary was stingy. Manage the game, don't turn the football over and win a low-scoring game.
Forget about that. The Eagles went out and pounded Denver, 51-23 and the offense gained 419 yards as quarterback Carson Wentz sat the entire fourth quarter.
That run defense? Shredded by the Eagles, who blistered Denver for a total of 197 rushing yards, including 89 in the first half. Buoyed by the addition of running back Jay Ajayi, acquired in a trade from Miami on Tuesday, the Eagles ran all over the Broncos, established the line of scrimmage and eliminated superstar pass rusher Von Miller.
Ajayi made an immediate impact, establishing himself in a key second-quarter drive that put the game, dominated by the Eagles, out of reach. Taking over at their 25 after Denver narrowed the gap to 24-9, the Eagles showed just how versatile and devastating the offense can be – against any defense.
On first and 10 from the 25-yard line, Carson Wentz completed an eight-yard pass to wide receiver Mack Hollins. Nice start. Ajayi gained two yards up the middle to move the chains, and after a Denver offsides penalty, Ajayi gained 14 hard-charging yards over the left side to move the ball to the Denver 46-yard line.
Then Ajayi took a handoff on the next snap and got free down the left sideline and dove into the end zone, just inside the left pylon, for the touchdown.
And the Lincoln Financial Field crowd went crazy.
"Offensive line, man, those guys created the seam and it's just about hitting it hard and making sure I got into the end zone," said Ajayi, who had 77 yards and the touchdown on eight carries. "It was electric, great football town. It was great to see it for myself. Everyone has kind of spoken about it over the week and it was kind of exciting to see it with my own eyes for the first time."
Leading 31-9 at the half, the Eagles put two more touchdowns on the board in the third quarter and it all just kind of settled in.
A blowout win. A dominating offensive performance to go along with three takeaways from the defense. And a running game that, already fifth in the league in yards per game, felt an energy boost from Ajayi.
"It was special," Ajayi said of reaching the end zone. "First off, it's my first touchdown of the season and it's exciting for it to have been in Philly and in my first game as an Eagle. I don't think it could have been written any better than that."
Ajayi thinks big things are to come as he becomes more familiar with the offense. The pieces are in place, including a strong offensive line, to have an impact each week.
"Special offensive line. I definitely believe we can do a lot of special things here. Great running back room and I'm glad to be a part of the dynamic that we have in there," Ajayi said. "I mean, look, that's a great defense that we just ran on. We put 200 yards on that team over there. You have to tip your hat to all of us that ran the ball today. I think we all did some special things out there."