Jason Kelce extended his streak of consecutive starts to 127 regular-season games on Sunday in the win over the Arizona Cardinals, tying Eagles Hall of Famer Jerry Sisemore for the third-longest mark in franchise history.
But it was not certain that he would finish after leaving the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Rookie Cam Jurgens came off the bench for the first three offensive snaps of his career. But as the Eagles emerged from the tunnel for the start of the second half, Kelce was on the sideline with his helmet on, ready for action.
"We all know he's a soldier," quarterback Jalen Hurts said after the 20-17 win. "And that's something that we can't take for granted. It's something I sure don't take for granted. I admire his leadership. I admire the way he plays the game. His toughness. He's relentless. He's everything I admire and a competitor.
"He's one of the greatest to play the position."
"That just wants to make you fight even more for your guys when you see guys get hurt and come back in knowing that they're still hurting," said defensive end Brandon Graham. "It makes you want to fight harder for them because you know they're in there, they're hurting, and they are still giving you everything that they got and so, what am I complaining about? I gotta go give everything too."
In addition to Kelce, left guard Landon Dickerson battled through a lower-leg injury, while right guard Isaac Seumalo played every snap despite missing some practice time with an ankle injury.
"I'm really happy for those guys because they're warriors. That offensive line is (a bunch of) warriors," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said.
The Eagles were without left tackle Jordan Mailata due to a shoulder injury and Jack Driscoll played every snap.
"I can't say enough about him," Sirianni said of Driscoll. "He just keeps stepping into scenarios. There's naturally going to be bumps and bruises along the way on the offensive line. It's just so physical in there and Jack Driscoll just continues to come in and play big time, but in big moments. I'm so happy Jack Driscoll is on this football team and he played a heck of a game."
"It's a great example of accountability and being ready when their number's called," Hurts said. "They're coached by the greatest to ever do it, Coach Stout."
2. Jalen Hurts doesn't want to hear about the team's record
On the stat sheet, quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 26-of-36 attempts for 239 yards for an 89.9 passer rating, while also rushing for a game-high 61 yards with two touchdowns, both on QB sneaks.
It was his seventh career game with multiple rushing TDs, tied for the second most ever by a QB, trailing only Cam Newton (10) for most all time. Hurts surpassed Newton for the most rushing touchdowns by a QB in NFL history (19) in their first 25 career starts.
But after the win, Hurts was hungry for more – far from satisfied despite the end result. He wanted to put the ball in the end zone on the final offensive drive – a 17-play journey that milked 7:58 off the clock – and put the defense in a better situation.
"As a competitor, when you got the ball in your hands at the end of the game, you want to take advantage of it and not give the opposition the opportunity to win the game, tie the game, whatever it is," Hurts said. "And I don't look at anybody else but myself. I look in the mirror and I look at myself and I asked myself, what could have I done more to not put the team in this position towards the end of the game?"
Hurts credited the Cardinals' defense for limiting the Eagles to a pair of field goals in the second half, reminding the reporters of his Wednesday press conference where he had to offer a statement about how good that unit is despite not being asked any questions.
The Eagles emerged victorious and remain the league's lone undefeated team. Since 1970, Sunday's matchup was the eighth time (including playoffs) that the last undefeated team squared off against the last such team from the previous season. The Eagles avoided the trap as the undefeated team lost its first game in five of those seven games.
The Eagles know that they have a bull's-eye on their back, but Hurts insists that the mindset of the team won't change.
"We're going to get everybody's best. We're going to play a lot of good football teams this year and we have to be ready for the challenges ahead," Hurts said. "I personally, honest, hate hearing 5-0. I don't like to hear it because nobody wanted to mention the record when we were 2-5. Nobody wanted to talk about that. I don't want to hear it now. I don't want to hear it now. Can we come in here and control the things we can, attack every day, and just grow and climb? That's what matters. The process."
3. Go off, Goedert!
Dallas Goedert had his most productive performance of the season on Sunday – when the ball continued to come his way, he made certain to capitalize. He had eight receptions for 95 yards to show for it, marking his season best. On the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, Goedert converted a third-and-12 in Arizona territory when he caught the ball 5 yards shy of the first-down marker, broke a tackle, and finished with a 16-yard gain.
"As soon as coach was calling up plays to give me the ball, I took advantage of it," he said after the game.
According to Pro Football Focus, Goedert has 285 yards after the catch this season, which is the second most among ALL players in the entire league. He's in his fifth season, but it's his first full year as the team's starting tight end after trading now-Cardinal Zach Ertz in October 2021. Sunday was a display of his growing dominance in the position.
His effort was an integral part of the team's three-point win, but still, the Eagles' offense's collective mindset remains selfless.
"Just like any other week, it doesn't really matter who's getting the ball," Goedert said. "We all got to play as a team and fight and hopefully come out on top like today."
State Farm Stadium is 2,395 miles away from Lincoln Financial Field. That's a 36-hour drive or a 4.5+ hour flight. Nonetheless, fans decked in green showed up to the desert – and they did so in a big way. According to Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro, more than 30,000 fans filled the stands in Glendale, Arizona – taking up nearly half of the arena's capacity.
The Eagles proved their reputation of traveling well and taking over enemy territory yet again, and this week, their presence was far from unnoticed.
"What a great time to be a Philly sports fan, right?" exclaimed Head Coach Nick Sirianni, who wore a Phillies Mike Schmidt T-shirt celebrating their win over the Cardinals to advance to the NLDS. "These fans. These fans! I tried to go to as many as I possibly could and said thank you because it felt like Washington, right? It felt like Washington.
"Kyler Murray, who's a great player, I got a lot of respect for him, and I could see him struggling sometimes to make calls. We're in Arizona, man. Goodness gracious. We've got a five-hour flight back!"
Newly signed kicker Cameron Dicker got his first taste of Eagles fans' fervor for football in his NFL debut that ended with the game-winning 23-yard field goal.
"That was wild. I didn't realize how well they travel. They were telling me, but I didn't think it'd be that well. It was pretty cool," the rookie said. "Makes life a lot easier when half the stadium is Eagles fans!"