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Spadaro: 12 takeaways from a wild overtime win vs. Bills

Defensive celebration
Defensive celebration

In a driving rain on a day when Kelly Green returned to Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles did what they've done all season: They played with resilience, heart, poise, and when it came time to make the big plays and win an important game, they did just that, defeating the Buffalo Bills 37-34 to improve to 10-1 in this amazing season.

The stars? There were plenty in this total team win – quarterback Jalen Hurts, running back D'Andre Swift, the wide receiver corps, an offensive line that overcame the absence of right tackle Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham's record-setting moment, a terrific special teams performance, and, oh boy, the list goes on and on.

Some takeaways from another big one, another heart-stopper, another classic at Lincoln Financial Field ...

1. Let's begin with quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is scrutinized for every step he takes. His first half was not one to remember – 33 passing yards, the offense unable to convert on four third downs, just 99 total net yards and 73 of them on one drive. He looked completely at ease sitting on the bench when the defense was on the field, just sitting there in the pouring rain. Like he was meditating. Like he knew what was about to come. Hurts got things going for sure in the second half and overtime with 14 completions on 20 attempts for 167 yards and 3 touchdown passes. He also ran 12 times for 43 yards and the quarterback draw that he had late in overtime for 12 yards and the winning points. He set a new career high with five total touchdowns. The guy just gets it done in the most supernatural way. He has now won 14 straight games against teams with winning records.

"Once we held them to a field goal in overtime and our offense took the field, we knew Jalen would find a way to put the ball in the end zone," safety Kevin Byard said. "No doubt at all."

2. Wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus had just one reception, but it was amazing. He caught a 29-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to give the Eagles a lead in the fourth quarter, 28-24 after Jake Elliott's PAT, and he said it was just a matter of staying alive.

"I saw Jalen scramble and he was looking for someone to get open," Zaccheaus said, "so I was able to slide away from my man and create an opening and Jalen put it right there. It was a great ball and I went up and got it. Felt great to help us win."

3. OK, so let's talk about Jake Elliott and yet another big-time late-game kick from way, way out there. His 59-yarder made him 6-of-7 from 50-plus yards this season and he's 25-of-36 from 50-plus yards in his career. Elliott has nailed 19 of 21 field goals this season and the one he had on Sunday was not easy – the rain was constant throughout the late afternoon and evening and there was a bit of a left-to-right wind on his kick.

"I wanted to make solid contact, like always," he said. "Great snap, great hold, and I hit it well and got it in there. The wind wasn't really too bad; I knew what to expect. I felt totally confident. I've said this before that I want it to come down to me. I love those moments."

4. The Eagles ran for 185 yards after gaining 69 in the first half and D'Andre Swift continues to be a great piece in this offense. His 16-yard gain to set up the Hurts game-winning touchdown was a thing of beauty – he was patient, he showed great vision, and he was elusive and decisive. Just a great run and Swift has been outstanding. Just like Monday night when he had a jet sweep run for 31 yards to jar the offense into shape, he gained 36 yards on the first play of a third-quarter drive that ended with a Hurts to A.J. Brown touchdown pass and the offense was off and flying.

5. Just to chronicle the offensive turnaround, the Eagles took possession of the ball with 10:22 remaining in the third quarter trailing 17-7. Their next possessions: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, punt, field goal, touchdown.

6. Buffalo entered the game averaging 6.6 penalties per game, tying for 22nd in the NFL. A late first-quarter flurry of penalties helped the Eagles get on the board first. Buffalo committed a facemask penalty on its second punt and the Eagles moved from the 12-yard line to the 27 to open their second offensive possession. Then Buffalo committed three penalties on the drive – a holding penalty, an encroachment call, and an illegal hands to the face infraction – as Philadelphia moved 73 yards on 10 plays, the big one a 23-yard Kenneth Gainwell run up the middle plus the 2 yards gained on a penalty, to put the ball at the 1-yard line. Earlier in the drive, the Eagles gained 14 yards on a Hurts completion to DeVonta Smith and another 16 yards on a Hurts run. Buffalo committed 11 penalties for 80 lost yards and the Eagles were whistled for 4 penalties for 30 lost yards.

7. Turning the ball over against a team like Buffalo comes back to haunt you and it did for the Eagles in the second quarter. A Hurts pass intended for tight end Jack Stoll was knocked into the air by defensive end Leonard Floyd – who was tough to handle the entire game – and intercepted by Terrel Bernard and Buffalo had the football at the Eagles' 29-yard line. Four plays later, the Bills put the ball in the end zone, added the PAT, and led 10-7 halfway through the quarter. Buffalo entered the game leading the NFL with 65 points off of 19 takeaways and added to that the first time it had the opportunity. It also happened at the end of the first half with the Eagles trailing, 10-7. Jalen Carter had just blocked a field goal and the hope was that the Eagles would use that to reverse momentum. Instead, Hurts attempted to hand off to Gainwell and the ball squirted loose and was recovered by Buffalo at the Philadelphia 36-yard line. Five plays later, the Bills were in the end zone again. Two takeaways, 14 points, and a 17-7 halftime lead for Buffalo.

8. Halftime numbers that jumped off the page: Hurts was 4 for 11 for 33 yards, averaging just 2.5 yards per pass attempt, with one interception. Receivers DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, a combined 4 receptions for 33 yards. The offense, which led the NFL in third-down conversion rate at 48.2 entering the game, was 0 for 4 on third downs. Buffalo led in total offensive net yards, 276 to 99. And then came the second half and overtime ...

The Buffalo Bills are in South Philadelphia to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, November 26 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles are celebrating the past by wearing their Kelly Green throwback jerseys and hope to improve upon their league-best 9-1 record. The Bills, meanwhile, have been a staple of the AFC playoff picture in recent seasons, but currently sit on the outside looking in.

9. Where do you win games? In the red zone, of course. The Eagles blocked a Buffalo field goal in the red zone, saving three points, and, of course, the game went into overtime. Philadelphia scored touchdowns on all four possessions in the red zone and have scored touchdowns in their last 12 red zone possessions dating back to the Washington game.

10. How about that Brandon Graham? He celebrated his franchise-record 189th regular-season game with a big quarterback sack early in the fourth quarter with the Eagles leading 28-24 and had two hustle tackles and a huge smile on his face after the game, giving an E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES chant on the field when it was all over. Graham is playing good football for a defensive line that was stretched thin on Sunday.

11. Think about the players the Eagles missed on Sunday. On offense, tight end Dallas Goedert was out, right tackle Lane Johnson was inactive. On defense, the Eagles didn't have tackle Milton Williams for the game, and then tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Zach Cunningham were injured in the game. And the Eagles just went out and won a game that was, again, incredible.

12. The Eagles, at 10-1, have a two-game lead in the NFC playoff picture and that's just so important because what matters the most, more than anything, is getting that No. 1 seed and securing home-field advantage in the conference playoffs. Lincoln Financial Field has been amazingly loud and very difficult this year for opposing teams – the Eagles are 5-0 in South Philadelphia this season.

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