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Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith wins the 50/50 battle against former college teammate Patrick Surtain II for the game's first touchdown, a 36-yard strike from quarterback Jalen Hurts. Read more about Smith's big day below.
DeVonta Smith celebrates his birthday with 2 touchdowns and – more importantly – a win
Wide receiver DeVonta Smith started his "Jordan" year on a high note. Smith celebrated his 23rd birthday in winning fashion, as he recorded four catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. The rookie didn't want any gifts from his teammates. He said getting the win was all he wanted.
"I wouldn't say my birthday played a big part. It was just going out, executing, and doing things that we do practice," Smith said.
Smith was there when his quarterback needed him the most. On the Eagles' second possession, quarterback Jalen Hurts finished the nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Smith, who jumped up and used his lengthy arms to beat former college teammate and fellow first-round pick cornerback Patrick Surtain II and bring in the ball to score to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. It marked the longest receiving touchdown by an Eagles rookie since Mack Hollins' 64-yard touchdown in 2017.
"The quarterback just trusts me to give me a chance to make a play. As we always talk about having trust in each other, he trusted me," Smith said of the first touchdown pass from Hurts.
"DeVonta made a spectacular catch on the ball, got down, maintained position on the ball, and we got a touchdown. So it was a big start and a big spark for us," Hurts said.
In the second quarter, Smith caught his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard pass from Hurts. Smith became the first Eagles rookie to have multiple receiving touchdowns in a single game since Jordan Matthews in 2014. Smith says he's just showing what he does in practice.
"I get more comfortable every week. It all comes down to preparation. I go to practice, I practice hard," he explained. "The way I practice and the way the team practices, that's why we are successful in games. When you practice the way that we practice, you get the good outcome that you want."
Head Coach Nick Sirianni raved about the Eagles' leading receiver after the game. Sirianni simply put it as, "He's just a good football player."
"He's got long arms and he's just a good football player. He just went up and got it," Sirianni said. "Jalen gave him an opportunity to make a play, put it on the right spot, and he just went up and made a play. He ran some really good routes today and some under routes and things like that. He showed it both ways today. It was a good game by DeVonta and he played his tail off."
– Jillian Oddo
Eagles Insider's Recap: Inside the most impressive win of the season
This one unfolded in a perfectly coordinated three-phase effort just as Head Coach Nick Sirianni always talks about. The Eagles rode a powerful 214-yard running game and a superb performance from quarterback Jalen Hurts. The defense limited Denver to 309 total net yards, 89 on the ground, and one touchdown in five trips to the red zone, and added a game-changing takeaway on an 83-yard scoop-and-score play from cornerback Darius Slay. And the special teams chipped in with a blocked field goal and three Jake Elliott three-pointers in a complete-performance 30-13 win over the Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.
Wow, what a game it was!
"That was a great team win. All three phases stepped up," Slay said after his second scoop-and-score touchdown of the season (Detroit was his first). "We all believe in ourselves."
Once again, the Eagles – wearing the white jerseys with black pants at the urging of Hurts to Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie – established the line of scrimmage and dominated with the run game against the NFL's sixth-best run defense. It was an equal-opportunity effort from an offense that lost tight end Dallas Goedert to a head injury early on. Jordan Howard had 83 yards on 12 carries. Boston Scott was elusive with a career-high 81 yards on 11 rushes and Hurts added his own brand of, um, hurt, with 53 yards on 14 carries. In the pocket, Hurts was calm, cool, and accurate against an array of Denver blitzes as he completed 16 of 23 passes for 178 yards including a beauty of a throw that wide receiver DeVonta Smith went up, up, up, and caught in the right pylon of the end zone against fellow No. 1 draft pick cornerback Patrick Surtain II for a 36-yard score that put the Eagles up 10-0 in a nearly perfect first quarter.
That twosome connected again in the second quarter to put an exclamation point on a 12-play, 75-yard drive as Hurts went to Smith in the back of the end zone to give the Eagles, after Elliott's PAT, a 17-10 advantage. It was 20-10 at the half, with the defense limiting Denver to just 127 total net yards and eight first downs in the first half.
"It's just Jalen trusting me like I trust him," Smith said about the leaping grab over Surtain. "He gave me a chance to make the catch. That's all you can ask for. I went up and got it."
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News and notes
• Jalen Hurts has recorded 50+ rushing yards in four consecutive games, marking the first time an Eagles QB has done so since Michael Vick in 2011.
• Jake Elliott, who improved to 2-of-2 from 50+ yards this season (58 yards in Week 5 at Carolina), has produced the second-most FGs of 50+ yards (14) in franchise history (including playoffs), trailing only David Akers (16, 1999-2010) in that category.
• Darius Slay became just the fourth player in franchise history to record 2 fumble recovery TDs in a single season, joining Juqua Parker (2011), Kevin Curtis (2007, after completed passes), and Seth Joyner (1991).
• K'Von Wallace kept Denver off the board following their first possession of the third quarter when he blocked a 22-yard FG attempt by Broncos kicker Brandon McManus. He became the first Eagle to register a blocked FG since Derek Barnett at Cleveland in 2020. The 22-yard FG was the shortest attempt blocked by the Eagles since 1974 at San Diego.
• With their 30-13 win, the Eagles now own a 9-5 record against the Broncos all time and have won 8 of their last 12 games facing Denver.
A winning bundle of photos, presented by GEICO.