Philadelphia Eagles News

Morning Roundup: Avonte Maddox delivers knockout blow in return to Detroit

Tight end Dallas Goedert
Tight end Dallas Goedert

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This Dallas Goedert 15-yard reception was the end result of a trick play. Quarterback Jalen Hurts tossed the ball to running back Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield. Gainwell ran left, then turned and threw the ball back to Hurts. After making a one-handed grab, Hurts quickly threw it to a sliding Goedert for the completion. The drive ended with a Jordan Howard touchdown to make it 17-0 in the second quarter.

1. 'A great homecoming' for Avonte Maddox

After Darius Slay returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown against his former team, fellow cornerback Avonte Maddox asked for the ball. It was, after all, Maddox who punched the ball out from running back D'Andre Swift which provided the opportunity for Slay to score.

"That was pretty nice. Detroit on Detroit right there," Maddox said.

Maddox didn't play for the Lions, but he wears his pride for his hometown on his arm with a tattoo that he got back in high school. In addition to family and friends in attendance on Sunday, Maddox purchased tickets so that Detroit's Martin Luther King High School's football program – his alma mater – could be in attendance.

Slay handed over the ball and Maddox ran toward the section where his family was seated. He pointed up to his dad and tossed him the ball.

"He'd been there every game since the beginning," Maddox said, "since I started playing any type of sport. He pushed me to do a lot with it. He was always tough on me with it. He never really gets to come out to the away games because he works, so it was pretty cool to get him back at home and this is his first game this year.

"I was happy to give it to my dad. He just gave me that big smile he always do."

Like father, like son. Maddox is tough and scrappy on the field, but is extremely personable and always affable off of it.

The defense held the Lions to a fourth-quarter touchdown when most of the starters were done for the day. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 222 yards and the Lions' running backs amassed just 57 on the ground.

As Maddox put it, it was "a great homecoming" to get the decisive win.

"We go out and control what we could control," Maddox said of the defense's effort. "We're going to keep trying to dominate and get better at whatever we have to get better at, our little details, not beat ourselves, and make sure we execute on whatever is called. We're going to stick together in there and that's the biggest thing, it's going to turn around for us as we keep playing hard, it will."

2. Opportunity knocks and Jordan Howard, Boston Scott answer for the run game

Boston Scott didn't have a carry in the first six games of the season. Jordan Howard didn't suit up for any of the first seven games of the year.

But when the Eagles needed them on Sunday in Detroit, they answered the bell.

Howard (57 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Scott (60 rushing yards, two touchdowns) helped the team gain a season-high 236 rushing yards in the win over Detroit.

"Whenever that opportunity knocks, that's when you got to step up and you got to go out there and produce," Scott said. "Me and Jordan have been motivating each other during the time leading up to this moment. I think we did a good job – things to correct, things to improve on, but overall, we're just committed to helping the team. That's all we want to do."

Head Coach Nick Sirianni said after the game that he wanted to establish the rushing attack early even with Miles Sanders out with ankle and foot injuries. Philadelphia lost starting right guard Jack Driscoll to a hand injury early. Nate Herbig went in and the offensive line kept churning out yards on the ground. The Eagles ran the ball seven times on their first scoring drive which ended with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by Scott.

Sunday marked the first time that the Eagles totaled over 225 yards and the ground while scoring four rushing touchdowns on the road in a single game since 1980.

"We had an excellent run game today," tackle Lane Johnson said. "As an offensive line, that's a lot of fun. Getting to do that and getting to fire off the ball."

No tricks, just treats. Check out these photos from Week 8 in Detroit.

3. Jalen Hurts: 'We all challenged each other'

Looking to use Sunday's game in Detroit as a springboard, quarterback Jalen Hurts said that players and coaches "all challenged each other to come together and raise the standard, the standard of what we want. When you have to overcome adversity, you find out who you really are."

The response: A 44-6 win over the Lions in a game where all phases contributed to the win.

Hurts threw for only 103 yards, but rushed for a game-high 71 – sometimes turning Lions pass rush opportunities into big gains on the ground – in the victory. Most importantly, he wasn't sacked and he didn't turn the ball over in his three quarters of action. The Eagles didn't commit a penalty on offense. After an opening drive that resulted in a punt, the Eagles scored on their final seven drives, excluding a one-play kneeldown to end the first half.

"I'm OK with winning," Hurts said. "You can't really be result-orientated. You got to focus on the process and focus on what it takes to get there."

4. T.J. Edwards takes advantage of expanded role

The Eagles started T.J. Edwards as the primary linebacker on Sunday, playing the most snaps of anyone at the position with 41.

Edwards responded with a career-high and team-best 13 tackles, two for loss, as the defense kept the Lions off the scoreboard until the game was well out of hand.

Edwards credited Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon with effectively mixing in blitzes to complement an outstanding performance by the defensive line (six sacks) as the Lions were unable to get their offense on track.

"I think we just did a good job of showing the same similar coverages and then bringing pressure from those looks," Edwards said. "We've had things schemed up like this, but just hadn't had the down and distance to get us in those spots."

After the Eagles took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Edwards made back-to-back tackles on first and second down to set up a third down where defensive end Josh Sweat beat the tackle and the tight end on the way to sacking Goff.

"I think playing good defense is staying ahead of the sticks at all times," Edwards said. "When the team is really good on first and second down, it's going to be a longer day. When you're not stopping the run, when you're not stopping those checkdowns down quick, again, it just makes it tougher for the defense as a whole. I thought we just did a good job of rallying the tackles, making sure that those yards aren't bleeding, and getting to him on third downs."

5. Dallas Goedert provides chunk plays in pass game

For the second game in a row, tight end Dallas Goedert was the go-to weapon in the pass game, catching six of his seven targets for a team-high 72 yards in the win over Detroit.

Goedert said the effective run game was key in providing him opportunities. Up 10-0 in the second quarter, the Eagles' use of play-action passing freed up Goedert for consecutive catches of 15 and 13 yards, respectively, to set up running back Jordan Howard's first touchdown of the afternoon to extend the lead to 17-0.

"The running backs did a helluva job today," Goedert said. "It didn't matter if they're getting hit in the backfield, they were still falling forward for 5 (yards). Being able to run the ball like that, we were able to get play-action, be able to find some soft spots in the zone, getting a linebacker to step up because we were able to run the ball so well."

Goedert played 44 snaps in the first three quarters before the majority of starters rested in the final 15 minutes. He was not surprised by the team's success after seeing how Head Coach Nick Sirianni rallied the team this week.

"It really started on Wednesday. Coach Sirianni had a great team meeting and shoot it was some of our best three practices of the year," Goedert said. "Everybody was locked in and paying attention to the details. I think that's what showed, just how hard we worked in practice. And then coming into the game, it really showed how detailed we were able to do a lot of things.

"Execution fuels emotion and that's kind of what we did today. We were executing the plays and people were stepping up on third downs (Eagles were 5-of-10) and was scrambling for first downs. People were just making plays when we needed them."

6. Defensive line roars against Lions offensive line

Defensive end Josh Sweat helped set the tone early with two first-quarter sacks, becoming the first Eagle to accomplish the feat since Connor Barwin against New England in 2015.

Sweat's first sack came as he beat right tackle Matt Nelson off the edge and was able to chase down quarterback Jared Goff. The 5-yard loss helped push back kicker Austin Seibert's field goal attempt two plays later that went wide left.

On the second sack, tight end T.J. Hockenson didn't offer much help in terms of a chip and Nelson came out of his stance unbalanced as Sweat was able to bullrush the tackle on the way to Goff. For Sweat, it was his second career multi-sack performance (2020 vs. Saints) and he now has 3.5 on the year.

But Sweat wasn't alone in the sack party. The Eagles tallied six on the day as Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway, and Milton Williams all got to the quarterback. It was the first career sacks for rookies Jackson and Williams.

"Obviously Josh Sweat had a great game and Derek Barnett had a phenomenal game," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "They just continued and then when you're getting push up the middle with Fletch (Cox) and with (Javon) Hargrave, you're just able to tighten up coverage and have more guys back there (in the secondary on pass defense)."

Pro Football Focus credited the Eagles with 11 total QB hurries to go along with the six sacks. Four players had multiple hurries – Cox, Hargrave, Ryan Kerrigan, and Williams. Sirianni applauded some of the tweaks that were made by Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon to add some extra pressure.

"It was relying on those guys there to win up front initially and then just tighten it up in the coverage with a little more man-to-man and a little bit more zone match when they give us a couple of different looks to be able to still match even if we were in zone coverages."

ICYMI No. 1: Lane Johnson opens up candidly about his battle with anxiety disorder

"I didn't know my 'why' for a while."

To hear those words from a man who is one of the most accomplished players at his position is stunning. But that's what Lane Johnson told FOX Sports' Jay Glazer in a one-on-one interview that aired Sunday afternoon just before the Eagles-Lions game.

Johnson has been named to the Pro Bowl three times. He was a first-team All-Pro when he helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history. All of these accomplishments came after Johnson was selected fourth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. Accolades very few players can put on their résumé.

If you polled the players in the locker room and asked who is the funniest Eagle, Johnson would receive several votes – if not the most. Johnson has always been engaging with the media, starting his own podcast during the pandemic.

But the popularity and success don't make up for a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder that was unearthed when Johnson was at Kilgore College, a junior college in Texas, in 2008. For 13 years, Johnson has battled something more relentless than any pass rusher lining up across from him on Sundays.

"I was living in hell for a long time," Johnson said.

Click here to read the entire feature.

ICYMI No. 2: Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's 7 takeaways from the win

On this given Sunday, Nick Sirianni's Philadelphia Eagles had the kind of game when everything – every part of the football operation – worked as imagined in a 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions. It was a brilliant performance from start to finish featuring an offense that punished Detroit with a running game that totaled 236 rushing yards, a defense that smothered quarterback Jared Goff with six sacks, and added a scoop and fumble return for a touchdown and three field goals and five PATs to highlight a fine special teams performance.

"Today was Round 8 (game eight) for us," Sirianni said, using a boxing analogy. "My message to them was, 'Hey, sometimes it just takes a round when you cut somebody, when you win a round, to build some momentum. But, there was no secret as to why we performed well today. It happened every day in practice. What happened on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – the intensity was so high, the detail was so high, that was our message – to continue to grow. The only way to continue to grow is if you're going to have intensity in practice and you're going to have detail.

"I think the guys locked into that and practiced well all week."

Click here to enjoy the entire column.

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