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Morning Roundup: 10 observations from Sunday's win over the Jaguars

Fletcher Cox
Fletcher Cox

The Eagles remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, but the Jaguars didn't make it easy. The Eagles overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit with 29 consecutive points thanks to 210 yards on the ground and five takeaways by the defense. Here's everything you need to know about the win and more in our Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings.

1. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro: Team passes test vs. adversity

In the first three games of this 2022 season, the Eagles jumped out to big leads and blew the doors off defenses with a big-play attack and, yes, those games opened eyes and provided proof that the Eagles are a team to be reckoned with. At some point, we knew they would find themselves in a hole and find a way to dig out.

Sunday was that day.

On a miserable weather day with driving rain and gusting winds at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles took a shot to the jaw. They were down 14 points in the first quarter with two key players, cornerback Darius Slay and offensive tackle Jordan Mailata, out of the game with injuries.

Well, the Eagles answered in a resounding way, scoring 29 straight points on the way to a 29-21 win to move to 4-0 and remain the NFL's only undefeated team.

Read the entire column here, featuring six key takeaways.

2. The most impressive win of the season?

Was Sunday's win the most impressive of the young season? According to the Eagles, yes it was.

"Yeah, because of the conditions. (The Jaguars) are a good football team. They were playing good football, and we both had to go through (the weather conditions). But, we needed to face adversity," said wide receiver A.J. Brown, who led the game with five catches for 95 yards. "You don't want to be riding high and nothing has challenged you yet. Everybody can say that they're doing it, or they're coming along when stuff is going (well). We want to be tested. We want to see how it is when your back is against the wall."

The common refrain following the game was that no one flinched when the Jaguars jumped out to the early lead.

"We've talked about adversity. Have we faced a lot of adversity? Not really," said Head Coach Nick Sirianni. "In three games, we probably haven't. We had a battle up there in Detroit, but have we faced a lot of adversity? Not really. So, it was a great opportunity to say, 'Hey, we've talked about this. We have discussed this. You players, the reason you are here is because you are built to be able to handle adversity. Not every game is going to be pretty. It's going to be muddy sometimes.' And it was muddy right there.

"Our guys buckled down. Defense I thought was playing well. They let up a long drive, but it was 14-0 because we spotted them seven – they made a good play (on Jaguars safety Andre Cisco's pick-six). I don't want to say we spotted them seven. They made a really good play. They got a good pressure on. They made a good play there and finished it for a touchdown.

"Being down 14-0, it's a long game just like it's a long season. What a good example there of, OK we are 4-0 right now, we just have to play the next play and the next game. You have to do that same thing in the midst of a game, not just week to week."

3. Miles Sanders' career day

Despite the early 14-0 deficit, the Eagles leaned heavy on the rushing attack – and it delivered against a Jaguars defense that ranked No. 1 through three weeks in stopping the run, allowing just 55 yards per game.

The Eagles totaled 210 yards on the ground, led by Miles Sanders' best performance with career highs in both carries (27) and rushing yards (134) and his fourth-career multi-touchdown game.

"Whenever they call my number, I'm going to be ready, regardless," said Sanders. "With the weather being the way it was, we leaned on our offensive line, and our offensive line had a heck of a game."

Said center Jason Kelce of Sanders' performance, "There were a lot of ugly runs in there that he (Sanders) made positive yards out of. That's what you want out of a running back. When we block it up well, you're gonna get some good yards but when running backs can make something where there really ain't much there, that's when you know you got a good one. Miles was doing a lot of that today. He turned a lot of potentially negative or just kind of bad runs into at least OK runs."

Sanders wasn't alone, though. Kenneth Gainwell scored on the ground. Trey Sermon had two carries for 19 yards in his Eagles debut, subbing in for an injured Boston Scott. Quarterback Jalen Hurts had 38 ground yards and a touchdown.

4. Player of the game? You might be surprised by this vote

There are plenty of deserving nominees for the Toyota Player of the Week, but center Jason Kelce cast a write-in vote – tackle Jack Driscoll.

Starting left tackle Jordan Mailata left the game after the opening drive with a shoulder injury and the third-year lineman was thrust into action. Driscoll has been a valuable reserve in his first two seasons, with eight career starts at right guard and five at right tackle. The Eagles have produced 400+ total yards (401 today) of offense in each of their first four games this season. It's only the fifth time in franchise history that the Eagles have accumulated 400+ yards in at least four straight games.

"I don't remember the last time he's played left tackle. It's a good front. He was one-on-one for much of the day, moved guys in the run game. In my opinion, the player of the game," Kelce said. "That's who I'd vote for. For him to come in there and the offense still be able to function and still do things well."

The Eagles also lost guard Isaac Seumalo in the second half and he was replaced by Sua Opeta. Head Coach Nick Sirianni will meet the media later this afternoon at 2:45 PM to provide an update.

5. James Bradberry's interception could not have come at a better time

James Bradberry notched his second interception of the season to thwart a potential Jaguars scoring drive late in the third quarter. As the Eagles held a 20-14 lead, the Jaguars had the ball at the Eagles' 16-yard line.

The defense blitzed with linebacker T.J. Edwards and cornerback Josiah Scott, and Bradberry anticipated the throw toward wide receiver Christian Kirk. Bradberry broke on the ball and made a diving catch. It was one of five takeaways on the day for the Eagles and his second of the season, the other being a pick-six in the season-opening win over the Lions.

Bradberry leads all NFL players in pass breakups since the 2018 campaign and this season grades out as the fifth-best coverage corner in the league (among players with 150+ coverage snaps). Acquired after the draft in May, Bradberry has been a valuable addition, especially on a day when the other two starting cornerbacks – Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox – were sidelined.

As a team, the Eagles are tied for first with Baltimore with 10 takeaways and lead the NFL with a +8 turnover differential.

6. Inside the 5 takeaways

The Turnover T-shirt maker is going to be busy this week. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro explained each of the five takeaways which led to 22 points in the win.

7. Will the Player of the Week streak continue?

The Eagles have had an NFC Player of the Week following each of the first three games this season – Zech McPhearson on special teams vs. Detroit, Darius Slay on defense vs. Minnesota, and Brandon Graham on defense vs. Washington. That doesn't even factor in Jalen Hurts' NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors.

Could the weekly honor streak continue? Well, linebacker Haason Reddick is going to have a strong case.

He had two strip-sacks, two fumble recoveries, and a tackle for loss against the Jaguars.

"You know what's great about Haason, and Howie (Roseman) was just talking to me about this. He's a guy that has been able to force a lot of fumbles. Not only get to the quarterback, but force a lot of fumbles," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said.

"We talk so much about creating turnovers and how you create turnovers. There are definitely things we can do as coaches to take it to another level. Make no mistake about it, it's about the players creating the turnovers, and good players know how to create turnovers.

"Haason, man, I said to him and Shaun Bradley and Kyzir White after the game, 'Hey, there is nothing like winning in Philly.' Because they know about that. They know about – especially Haason and Shaun playing here at Temple. They're quick to tell me at Temple they had College Game Day here. There is nothing like winning in Philly, and I'm glad we got some Philly guys here that we're winning with."

8. Zech McPhearson explains the moment his mindset shifted

Cornerback Darius Slay exited Sunday's win early with a forearm injury and for the second time this season Zech McPhearson was unexpectedly on the field for an extended period of action, playing 44 of 47 snaps on defense.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week, was held to just 174 passing yards.

"It's just the nature of the game. You always got to be ready and that's my role right now," McPhearson said. "I just take it upon myself during the week to get my mental reps in while watching the ones (the starters) or get my extra film in. It ain't easy. When your name is called, you can't have any excuses. You got to be ready."

How did he develop that mindset?

"I'd say last year during the Jets game (when he came off the bench to play 33 snaps on defense), that's when I told myself, 'Listen, the position you in, you ain't gonna make no excuses about it. It is what it is. My time will come one day, but I got to know what I got to know so that when my time comes I got to be ready for it because this league is a production business. Do what you're coached to do and make something happen."

9. A first for Fletcher Cox

Fletcher Cox is in his 11th season as an Eagle. He's one of the most accomplished defensive players in franchise history. Sunday marked a milestone for the All-Decade standout – this is the first Eagles team that is 4-0 to open a season in his career.

Well, it is the first time since 2004 that any Eagles team started 4-0. The approach doesn't change for Cox.

"We just got to keep chipping away. We just got to keep playing Eagles football, keep getting better each day in practice, in every game," said Cox, who recovered a Trevor Lawrence fumble that led to the Eagles' first points of the day. "I think that's all we can control right now. We're 4-0 for a season. We just got to keep the same demeanor that we have right now. Just keep going.

10. Jalen Hurts: 'We found a way'

Jalen Hurts has won his last seven regular-season starts dating back to last year, the longest active streak among NFL QBs. And the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September has done so in a multitude of ways.

With torrential rain and driving wind, it was a run-heavy, ball-control effort as Hurts threw for 204 yards and rushed for 38 and a touchdown. The Eagles overcame the 14-0 deficit with 29 straight points. The Eagles have scored at least 24 points in four consecutive games for the first time since 2017.

"That makes me think about how we've played in the second half in the first quarter of this season. And my answer to the lack of points in the second half has always been (we) just have to execute," Hurts said.

"We just have to do our job, control what we can, execute and do our job. That's the mentality that we have as a football team regardless of the circumstance. (Being) down 14-0, you control what you can, do your job, execute, dominate your box individually and you tend to do good things. I think today this team didn't flinch. We found a way, we didn't flinch, we persevered. We were unwavering with how we played, nothing was able to deny us.

"I'm so proud of how this team played, how we handled the conditions outside – you have crosswinds going 20-30 miles per hour – it's in the 50s and it's raining sideways. (But) we were pretty efficient in everything that we did. That's a great team win."

Twenty of those 29 points came in the second quarter. The Eagles are averaging a league-best 21.3 points per game in the second quarter of games this season. The Los Angeles Chargers are second with 12 points per game in that quarter.

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