Good morning, Eagles fans! Happy Victory Monday to all! The Eagles defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-13 at New Era Field on Sunday for their fourth win of the season. The team not only battled the grueling weather conditions (blustery winds and rain), but also shut down the 5-1 Bills on the road. After a week of noise and distractions from the outside, the Eagles responded in the best way possible, with a W! In this edition of Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft, we will cover all the action from the victory that got the Eagles back to .500. Head coach Doug Pederson speaks at noon and we will stream that live on PhiladelphiaEagles.com and our social media channels. Until then, let's get to the best of the best!
1. Game Recap: Eagles rout Bills 31-13 to get back to .500
The Eagles bounced back with a win against the Buffalo Bills to get to 4-4 at the midpoint of the season. Chris McPherson provides in-depth analysis of the most notable plays from the team's victory in this edition of Game Recap. Head coach Doug Pederson highlighted the Eagles' ability to cancel out the noise and play their game. Click here for the full recap and more from Pederson.
"I credit the offensive line, the tight ends. Jordan Howard had a big game," Pederson said. "I think coming into this game, it's a good defense, a good front. Let me tell you that right at the beginning here. The conditions kind of warranted more of a running game. Our offensive line is a very prideful group. They'd run the ball the whole game if you could, but they just did a great job up front. Jordan ran extremely hard. I'm pleased with how we handled that today."
2. Thunder and Lightning ground game leads way in huge road win at Buffalo
With the weather having a mind of its own Sunday afternoon, the Eagles were able to harness the elements and get back in the win column. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro went around the locker room post game to get the team's thoughts on a much-deserved victory in Buffalo. Players discussed the dominant run game as well as the mindset moving forward. For the full reactions, click here.
"Jordan (Howard) made a perfect block and I followed him. It was wide open. I didn't feel anybody around me and no way was I gonna get caught heading for the end zone," said Miles Sanders, who rushed for 74 yards on three carries and added 44 yards on three receptions, including a 25-yard catch-and-run screen play to set up a Jake Elliott field goal before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. "It was just an exciting time for me. The play popped and it was wide open for me."
Sanders broke the game open on a 65-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. The score was the seventh-longest rushing touchdown by a rookie in team history.
3. Carson Wentz reflects on the win and the confidence it will give the 4-4 Eagles
The franchise quarterback finished the game 17-for-24 with one touchdown, 172 yards passing, and 35 yards rushing. This was his 11th consecutive game with a passing touchdown. That is tied with Seattle's Russell Wilson for the longest active streak in the NFL. Wentz's performance mirrored the tone that the rest of the team had produced and his aggressiveness on the ground proved to be helpful late in the game. On a critical 14-play, 83-yard drive that ate up 8:17 of the clock and resulted in a 3-yard Jordan Howard touchdown in the fourth quarter, a series that Coach Pederson called the best of the season, Wentz converted two third downs with his legs (including a third-and-10 and another with a beautiful 18-yard pass to tight end Zach Ertz.
"This win was huge for us, obviously," Wentz said. "This is our third straight road game. That's tough. To do what we did today, to stay together throughout everything, and to come out and get a big win against a really good football team, that was huge for us. It is going to give us a lot of confidence going forward."
Along with his recognition of the whole team, Wentz specifically singled out running back Miles Sanders' play against the Bills. Sanders ran for 74 yards on the ground, including a 65-yard touchdown, the first rushing score of his career.
"He's been awesome. He's been an incredible rookie, the way he's come in and wanted to learn and wanted to work.," Wentz said. "He's always been that big-play threat and to get a big one this afternoon was huge for us."
4. Brandon Graham comes up with a signature play to turn game around
The Eagles trailed 7-3 late in the first half. Buffalo had the football, and on a third-and-2 play, defensive end Brandon Graham expected Buffalo to keep it simple and let quarterback Josh Allen take matters into his own legs and run the football. The Bills did just that and called a QB Power to the right side of the formation. Graham, though, was better on this day. He penetrated the line of scrimmage, forced an Allen fumble, and then pounced on it at the Buffalo 24-yard line with just under two minutes remaining in the half. Check out what the team had to say about this standout play, here.
"It was nice to get a turnover and get off the field," said Graham, who led the way as the Eagles held Buffalo to 253 total net yards, sacked quarterback Josh Allen four times, and had two critical takeaways. "I knew it was a power because they checked to it on the back end. I trusted myself, played across, threw my arm at the ball, and when I saw it come out – they always tell you to get off the ground – I just went and got it."
5. Ronald Darby returns to the lineup to help beat his former team
The feeling, cornerback Ronald Darby said after the Eagles' 31-13 win over Buffalo on Sunday, was almost indescribable.
His hamstring injury healed, Darby returned to the starting lineup in the defense for the first time since Week 3 against Detroit and contributed two tackles and a pass defensed as the Eagles clamped down on the Bills in every way.
For Darby, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last November (November 11 at Dallas, to be exact), the impact was more than just the numbers. He and Jalen Mills started together for the first time at cornerback since the Eagles played Jacksonville in London – Mills exited that game with a foot injury that kept him out for nearly a full year – and added stability to a group that has been significantly impacted by injury again this season.
"I feel like it's a blessing to be back out there after trying to come back and straining my hamstring. It was tough, you feel me?," Darby said. "I wasn't feeling like myself out there. I just kept pushing, stayed in there (rehabbing) and I know who I am as a player. My time is starting to come again.
"It's hard, especially seeing us lose. I missed being out there trying to help the team win instead of being on the sideline. I knew that once I got back, I was going to give it everything I've got."
Having Mills and Darby on the field is a big positive as the Eagles begin the second half of this season against Chicago on Sunday. With Avonte Maddox – out since being hurt late in the win at Green Bay – ramping up his conditioning work last week and Cre'Von LeBlanc eligible to play now after spending the first eight weeks of the season on Injured Reserve, the Eagles are close to getting the gang back together in the defensive secondary.
"It's a week-by-week thing," Darby said. "This was a big win for us. We needed it. Now we're back home and we have some more football to play. It's hard. We've had so many guys in and out of the lineup. Having everyone back on the field is going to be a big deal for us."
6. In case you missed it ...
• Philadelphia scored 30-plus points for the fourth time this season. The last time the Eagles registered four 30-plus-point performances through eight games was during the first half of the 2017 season.
• Sunday's 31-13 victory marked the second time Philadelphia has won by 18-plus points against a team with a winning record on the road under head coach Doug Pederson. The last time that happened was on November 9, 2017 in a 37-9 divisional win against Dallas at AT&T Stadium.
• Miles Sanders' six catches of 25-plus yards this season are the most by an NFL running back through eight games since Tiki Barber in 2004 (also 6).
• Following a Buffalo touchdown that made it a 17-13 score in the third quarter, defensive end Derek Barnett blocked the PAT attempt by Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka. It was the second blocked PAT attempt of Barnett's career. Overall, it was Barnett's third career blocked kick (also blocked a field goal in 2017 vs. San Francisco).
• Graham's five sacks (all of which have come on third down) are tied for his most QB takedowns ever through 8 games (2017, when he finished the season with a career-high 9.5 sacks).
• Including playoffs, Pederson has led the Eagles to a 10-4 (.714) record against the AFC. Since 2016, only two NFL teams have produced higher winning percentages in interconference games: New England (.786, 11-3) and the Los Angeles Rams (.786, 11-3).
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' tilt with the Bills in Week 8.