EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It's a Sunday night dose of the Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings, following the historic 48-22 win over the New York Giants.
• Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro explained in his postgame column how the opening 22 minutes set the tone and proved to be just too much for the Giants to handle.
• Sage Hurley looks at how the Eagles are the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season and what they need to do in order to secure the NFC East and home-field advantage. It won't be easy, as the entire NFC East would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
• How did the game unfold in real time? Here's Chris McPherson's game recap story.
Here's everything else you need to know as the Eagles improved to 12-1 for just the second time (2004) in franchise history.
Miles-tones at the Meadowlands
In one 8-play, 63-yard drive that lasted 3 minutes and 59 seconds, three different Eagles reached personal milestones.
It was like dominoes, play after play, as the offense rewrote records while pushing toward the end zone in the third quarter.
With a 9-yard reception, wide receiver A.J. Brown surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the third time in his four-year tenure in the NFL. By the end of the game, he reached 1,020 total on the season. With 10 touchdowns as an Eagle in tow, Brown is on the fast track to eclipse his personal high of 1,075. When asked about the achievement, Brown shifted his focus toward bigger goals.
"There's still more work to do. I'll leave it at that," he said.
Next up was running back Miles Sanders, who burst past 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career. He's the first Eagle at his position to do so since LeSean McCoy in 2014. He finished the game with 17 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, which brought his season total to 11.
When asked whether he favored all the yards or touchdowns, Sanders shared a very similar sentiment to Brown, but in just two words.
"Super Bowl," Sanders said.
To cap the drive, Jalen Hurts rushed 10 yards into the end zone for his 10th score of the season. That makes him the first quarterback in NFL history to post 10+ rushing touchdowns in consecutive years; he's only the third player at any position in Eagles history to achieve that same feat. With 10, he tied his own franchise quarterback record, which he'll more than likely beat with four games remaining in the season.
The drive will stand to be a memorable one for the Eagles' offense; it was one of many scores that contributed to the team's highest point total against the Giants on the road in franchise history.
It wasn't just the offense.
Linebacker Haason Reddick boosted his sack total to 10, making 2022 his third straight season with double-digit sacks on three different teams. This time, he did it as an Eagle, representing the area he grew up in, and he admits this season has been better than he could have imagined.
"I would be lying to you if I would have told you that we would be here at this point right now," Reddick said. "At first, my intentions were just to come home and play for the hometown team and try to be great for the hometown team. But man, our team! I love these guys. Balling out on all phases. Playing some really, really elite football right now. God-willing, we just stay healthy and continue to hone in and play the level of football we've been playing." – Sage Hurley
A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith feast on aggressive Giants secondary
The numbers, of course, speak for themselves: Eagles wide receivers A.J. Brown (65 receptions, 1,020 yards, 10 touchdowns) and DeVonta Smith (66-775-5) have combined for 131 receptions, 1,795 yards, and 15 touchdowns this season and are every bit as dominating as the team expected them to be. On Sunday, in the 48-22 win over the New York Giants, both players were too much for the Giants to handle as the Eagles rolled to the victory and the offense did as it wanted to do against New York.
On back-to-back offensive plays, Smith and Brown respectively broke the game wide open. First, Smith, working against one-on-one coverage, caught a beautifully thrown Jalen Hurts pass to defeat a New York blitz on a fourth-and-7 play from the Giants' 41-yard line in the second quarter and trotted into the end zone to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead and then, after the Giants' offense went three-and-out and botched a punt to give the Eagles possession at the New York 33-yard line, Hurts went to Brown, who ran a perfect inside-then-outside route to work himself wide open for a touchdown catch and run and the Eagles had themselves a 21-0 advantage.
"We can strike fast," Brown said. "And we are doing it in a lot of ways, so that keeps defenses off balance."
Smith's catch was, literally, snatching a touchdown out of the jaws of an interception – safety Julian Love, helping in coverage over the top, reached out with the intention of making the play for the Giants, only to come up grabbing air – and it capped a 12-play, 91-yard touchdown drive.
"That's what it's all about; when people play you one-on-one, you have to execute, and you have to win your one-on-one," Smith said. "It was a great check by the quarterback, seeing something he liked, checking it to that play and executing it. Jalen made a great throw and just gave me a chance to make a play." – Dave Spadaro
Darius Slay glad James Bradberry is an Eagle
The Meadowlands has been the site of miracle come-from-behind wins, walk-off punt returns, and even playoff thrillers. For the Eagles, a divisional matchup against the Giants holds decades of memorable moments – but for cornerback James Bradberry, playing in East Rutherford meant a trip back to his former home stadium.
Sunday was the first time Bradberry faced the Giants since he was released by the team as a by-product of salary-cap limitations following the 2021 season. Though Bradberry remained even-keeled about the return in the days leading up to it, Darius Slay was not shy to express his feelings about the game. In the team meeting on Saturday night, Slay stood up in front of the entire roster and shared that he wanted to beat the Giants for Bradberry, who he fondly calls JB.
"It rings throughout the whole locker room. We have a close, tight group here," Bradberry said.
"I kind of figured he was gonna bring me up in the speech toward the end because that's my guy, you know. And I appreciate him."
Bradberry signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in May, and since he's been an Eagle, he's recorded three interceptions, one touchdown, and 14 passes defensed.
On Sunday against the Giants, Bradberry was only targeted twice, allowing just one completion for 7 yards. Through Week 14, Slay has quickly grown to know and love what Bradberry's skills bring to the team's secondary, and he doesn't miss a chance to talk about it. He says Bradberry was his main fuel against the Giants' offense.
"We whooped them pretty good for JB," said Slay. "Whoever called JB and told him that he was cut, I saw their face on a Giant's helmet, and I was just trying to get them."
While Bradberry was slow to speak on his former team, Slay assured he took care of it for him.
"He doesn't need to. I've got all the emotions going. That's what brothers do," Slay added. "I just had all the emotions for him on the sidelines like, damn, they really let JB go."
The Eagles now lead the NFC East by two-plus games, winning three of their four divisional matchups so far – they have two left, against the Cowboys and Giants, respectively. Any division win is big late in the season, and the Eagles proved their dominance in their commanding 48-22 performance. – Sage Hurley
From returner to holder, Britain Covey has quite a story to tell
If his life goes according to the master plan, Britain Covey will someday get into the world of football coaching and he will work in a story to his players about the day he was called upon in a real, extremely important NFL game to hold in the kicking game for the first time since he was in seventh grade.
"It's funny that for the last six years, I've been the backup holder in college and now in the NFL and the situation has never come up," Covey said on Sunday after he was pressed into duty following an Arryn Siposs ankle injury that knocked him out of the game. Placekicker Jake Elliott stepped in as the emergency punter and had a 35-yard punt (no return, fair catch) and Covey took over the holding duties for two Elliott field goals and three Elliott PAT kicks, all of which were good. "But man, when it does come up, you're grateful for all the work you put in preparing for the moment. I'd like to get into coaching at some point in my life and I sure will tell my players this story, because it means so much."
Covey prides himself on being prepared – he knows all three wide receiver positions, every position on special teams from gunner to returner to blocker, and backup quarterback – so the phrase Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance is very true.
"I was ready for it. I'm sorry it happened because of an injury, but you have to step up," Covey said. "I knew I would catch the ball, and then it's a matter of getting everybody set up, putting the ball down where Jake likes it at the right tilt, and then Jake does the rest. He made it easy for me."
And the laces? Laces out?
"We got laces not at me all the time," Elliott said, laughing, "and that's the main concern. "We were able to put the ball through the goalposts and he did a great job. We tried out a lot of guys (in practice during the season) and he was the best guy and today he stepped in and we got the job done." – Dave Spadaro