Lincoln Financial Field was indiscernible from Gotham City on Sunday
Philadelphia has warmly embraced Darius Slay's knighting of the wide receivers as their respective Batmans – but the new leg of Eagles fandom reached its pinnacle on Halloween eve as the team deflated its intrastate rival.
SWOOP darted onto the field, donning a Batman costume.
Fans flocked to the stands in homemade Batman/Eagles-themed get-ups.
Swole Batman himself, A.J. Brown, was a nightmare for the Steelers' defense, blocking any chances of Pittsburgh earning its first win at Lincoln Financial Field with career highs in receiving yards (156) and touchdowns (3).
To cap it off, Jason Kelce made good on his claim as "Fat Batman," wandering the field with a mask that materialized on the sideline after he played his final snaps of the game.
"Kelce's always part of Batman! He runs the ship on offense, everything starts with him. To see him in that is funny, I'm glad, we're just out there having fun," Skinny Batman DeVonta Smith said.
Don't be alarmed if there's a surplus of trick-or-treaters wearing some combination of an Eagles jersey, cape, and a Batman mask – you can thank Slay for that!
For more about Brown's career day in the 35-13 win over the Steelers, read Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's column.
Javon Hargrave feasts against his former team
"Today, I just woke up really, really ready to go. I just woke up smiling just ready to come to work today," said defensive tackle Javon Hargrave after posting eight tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
He woke up knowing that he was going against his former team after spending the first four years of his career in black and gold. This wasn't his first time going against the Steelers since he signed with the Eagles as a big-ticket addition in 2020, but it was sweet after coming up short the last time these two teams squared off in that same year.
"We won one for Grave today," said defensive end Brandon Graham.
"He was really good. He came out and he attacked the day," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "He was probably extra amped up to play Pittsburgh. The last time we went to them, I don't think it sat very well with him and it didn't sit very well with any of us. We keep stuff like that in the back of our heads. Guys flew around, he flew around and had a big game and made some plays. I'm excited for him."
Hargrave ended the first half with a sack of rookie Kenny Pickett. Later in the fourth quarter, Hargrave not only sacked Pickett, but knocked the ball loose and it was recovered by cornerback Avonte Maddox. Two plays later, the Eagles sealed the win with a touchdown run by Pittsburgh native Miles Sanders.
"I won some rushes early and got a beat on things and that really opened me up," Hargrave said.
Hargrave added that he felt fresh from the bye week and ready to attack the second half of the season. And he's not the only one who feels that way after the Eagles' 7-0 start.
"The crazy thing about it is I feel like we can be a lot better," Hargrave said. "We just got a good group of guys who come to work every day."
Check out the action as the Eagles host the Steelers in a battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles have never lost at home to the Steelers in the Super Bowl era. Will the streak continue?
Zach Pascal's dirty work is rewarded with a trip to the end zone
During the bye week, the coaches went through the self-scout process and unveiled several new wrinkles in the win over the Steelers.
One of them freed up wide receiver Zach Pascal for his first touchdown as an Eagle.
"When people see me, they think screen, so I was able to fake screen and go up the sideline," Pascal said of his 34-yard touchdown that made it 28-10 in the third quarter. "I was wide open, so I was just trying to make a play on it."
Signed as a free agent this offseason from the Colts, Pascal is embraced by his teammates for his selflessness, toughness, physicality, and versatility. He can line up at any of the wide receiver spots. He'll block to open things up for his teammates. He is a core member of the special teams unit. He's known for introducing dawg mentality to Nick Sirianni when the two were together in Indianapolis, so it's no surprise that the head coach is thrilled what Pascal adds both on and off the field.
"I love Zach Pascal. Zach Pascal for the five years or four years I've been with him, has always done the dirty work. Always.
"It's great when you can reward a guy that does the dirty work who might not have the stats. It's awesome to be able to reward him for that. That's what happens sometimes when a guy is doing dirty work. Everyone is focused on the other guys when he is doing the dirty work that he ends up wide open for touchdowns.
"Zach doing all the little things that are important to a football team, that's sweet, right? I love to see that because I love the guy. You aren't around a guy for that long and not have a good relationship with him."
"It felt good, man. It felt even better because my teammates, they've been supporting me and everybody was excited, not just me, but everybody was excited to see me get in the end zone," Pascal said. "It just makes it more like a family when a brother is succeeding or somebody's doing something good, everybody loves it and praises. I'm glad we got the win. Now, we're getting ready for Thursday."
Offense keeps pedal to the metal in the second half
The Eagles' offensive exploits in the second quarter of games was well known before Sunday with an NFL-record 112 points in the first six games. Meanwhile, the Steelers only scored 107 total points entering the matchup.
The Eagles added another 14 points to the tally with a pair of touchdowns from Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown to complete the first-half hat trick and give the Eagles a 21-10 lead at halftime.
But the Eagles didn't let up, outscoring the Steelers 14-3 in the second half to squash any thought of a comeback. After allowing double-digit leads to slim down in wins over the Cardinals and Cowboys, the Eagles emphasized finishing teams off during the bye week and the players heeded the coaches' message.
"There's a lot that goes into that. When you have a lead, you start trying to manage the clock a little bit more and today we said we were going to be aggressive," said tight end Dallas Goedert, who had six catches for 64 yards.
The Eagles scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions of the second half, including a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts to Zach Pascal to open the third quarter.
"We've been emphasizing that for a couple of weeks now, especially coming off the bye. We didn't want to have a lackadaisical game," said Pascal, who scored his first touchdown as an Eagle. "Everybody came out here prepared, ready. We were able to get the dub."
"Coming out of the second half and having a good third quarter was obviously a point of emphasis," center Jason Kelce said. "And coming out of halftime, that was something we obviously talked about. I think that was an emphasis and it was good we were able to do it."
Defensively, the Eagles allowed just one field goal and forced two turnovers, both coming in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think we even played our best ball yet, but it's just been cool how we tighten up in moments where we need to," defensive end Brandon Graham said.
"It ain't perfect by no means, but we just keep getting better every week. And people do believe in that. People are actually putting in that work every day to try to make sure that they don't get complacent with what they did last game because it's a week-to-week game. And this game will humble you if you start to feel yourself, so I think coach does a great job of just keeping us regular and don't even look at the record. It's all about who the next team up is and what we got to do to beat them."
Jordan Davis exits game due to ankle injury
With just over three minutes left in the second quarter, rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis rushed quarterback Kenny Pickett from his nose tackle position and while locked up with center Mason Cole was blindsided by right guard James Daniels who knocked him to the ground. Davis fought to get back up while battling with Cole, but in the process, suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for the rest of the game.
"He's a big part of what we're doing up front, especially in certain packages. I hope it's not too serious because I know we're going to need him down the line," said defensive end Brandon Graham.
The length of his absence is unknown, but fellow defensive tackles Marlon Tuipulotu and Milton Williams stepped up to help finish off the Steelers. The two combined for three tackles and two sacks in 66 defensive snaps.
"Me and Marlon put in a lot of work. To finally get some results from it, it's a big payoff. It felt good, but we got to keep the job going, keep everything going, so we can be productive," Williams said. "My message to the guys every week is that there's no drop-off when we get in the game. It's the same when Fletch and Grave are in there, you know they're vets, but when we come in, no drop-off, be productive, hold up in the run, and rush the passer."
Davis, the team's first-round pick – 13th overall, averaged 22.5 snaps in his first six games and already played 19 in the first half before the injury.
Zech McPhearson explains the art of the downed punt
The Eagles had 57 snaps on offense, 76 on defense, and another 27 on special teams. One play that doesn't end up as a touchdown or a big turnover can easily get lost.
Cornerback Zech McPhearson delivered one of those plays when he downed a punt at the Steelers' 1-yard line with just under two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Eagles had the ball at the Steelers' 47-yard line on fourth-and-10 and sent out Arryn Siposs to punt. McPhearson raced down the field and realized that it wasn't going to be caught by the returner Steven Sims, who was waiving people out of the area. The ball bounced at the 10 and again one more time before heading to the goal line. McPhearson dove, hit the ball back into the field of play with both hands. Gunner Olszewski picked up the ball at the 1 and tried to return it, but the play was over at that point.
The result was thanks to time spent after practice each day working on this exact scenario.
"We're taught you got to keep both of your feet in. As soon as one foot touches the end zone, you got to re-establish and get two feet in," McPhearson said.
"Running down, I saw that the ball was way ahead of me. I was like this is one I'm going to be one to dive on. I got to see where I'm at on the field, keep my two feet in. And when you dive, you always hit it with two hands because if you hit it with one, it (the ball) can roll over top or you won't get all the ball, so hitting it with two hands, not trying to get too pretty with it.
"As long as it's inside the 10(-yard line), it's a win for us."
It's not the first big play made this season by the second-year cornerback. His onsides kick recovery at Detroit earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
"I just embrace it. It's just like I love bringing some type of positive energy and momentum swings to the game to help our team," McPhearson said. "Whatever I can do to help bring some energy to this team."
Eagles waste no time getting ready for Houston
The locker room at Lincoln Financial Field was a makeshift recovery room following Sunday's win with massage tables, exercise bikes, leg compression machines, and various other devices utilized by the Eagles' sports medicine and performance team.
It was great to get the win over the Steelers, but the Eagles have a quick turnaround with a road trip Wednesday to Houston ahead of a Thursday night clash with the Texans. This will be Head Coach Nick Sirianni's first road trip for a Thursday night contest.
"It's all about recovery. Those guys are in there right now. Because we just have such an unbelievable training staff, strength staff, the trainers, and the doctors, they're in there getting massages right now, eating the right things," Sirianni said.
"That quick turnaround is what are we going to do to make sure our bodies are ready to go. Coaches have a short turnaround as well, so we have to make sure that we get the plan together for our guys on a short week and that our guys can go out and execute."
"You see the guys recovering now. I think that's the kind of focus right now is getting ready for Thursday. That's why I love this team," wide receiver Zach Pascal said.
The Eagles' comfortable second-half lead allowed the coaching staff to get some players out a little early.
"That's huge going into a short week, give your body time to get ready. It's definitely going to benefit us. That was another reason we wanted to stay aggressive, so we could get ahead and if everything went right, do what we were able to do not play the last nine minutes or whatever and we can be fresher on Thursday," said tight end Dallas Goedert.
Robert Quinn reflects on whirlwind first week with Eagles
Hours after Robert Quinn was traded from the Chicago Bears, he was on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex practicing with his new teammates.
Less than five days later, he lined up at defensive end wearing midnight green at Lincoln Financial Field, helping his new team extend the win streak to seven in his Eagles debut.
"It's been a crazy week," said Quinn, who had a QB hit against the Steelers. "It just feels good to get a win and feel the camaraderie in the locker room and even on the sideline, just the way guys bond together."
There's been no shortage of changes for Quinn as he navigates his transition from Chicago to Philadelphia – notably learning a new playbook in Week 8 of the season. But he admits that the atmosphere of the Eagles' locker room makes embracing the change a whole lot easier on him.
"I walked into a new place in the middle of the year, and didn't really get an opportunity to learn people during Training Camp. They made it a pretty easy transit; they welcomed me with open arms, just allowing me to be myself, everyone's being themselves. Really just making it fun," Quinn said.
"But the guys want to win, they want to play their best and really have fun, so a combination of all of those. New guy coming in and they bring you right on into the party – I'm just following their lead and making the most out of the moment."
Quinn's defensive linemates made a point to welcome him upon arrival at the practice facility on Thursday. Brandon Graham welcomed him with a smile, as Brandon Graham does.
But Fletcher Cox delivered this line: "We practice hard here."
"I respect the hell out of him," the defensive tackle said when asked about his introduction to Quinn.
"During practice, I said, 'Listen, we practice hard here,' and his words were, 'That's all I need to hear.' You know, I respect a guy like that so freaking much."
After the game, Quinn spoke with the media about his Eagles debut and his new defense that recorded six sacks on Sunday.
With a laugh, he said, "How many sacks did we have? That's a dang good day to me!"