Each week, in the race for the overreaction after the Eagles play, the post-game chatter lasts few a few days before attention turns to the following opponent. How much of what happens in November actually translates to games a few weeks later – quick, what happened in the win over Jacksonville in Week 4 that you think means something now?
I've always believed that the NFL is a week-to-week proposition. And that the only thing that matters is emerging with a victory.
Within that, coaches use teaching points to discuss with their players as they learn more and more about their team. A question asked of Head Coach Nick Sirianni at his day-after press conference was a poignant one, asking what he learned about the Eagles from the loss to Washington and the win at Indianapolis. His answer:
"Anytime you get a win on the road, or you have to scratch, claw, and fight, it's a great character-builder for your team. Anytime your back is against the wall, and you have to fight out of it, it's a great character-builder for your team," Sirianni said. "You feel like no matter – because now you've been in all these different spots, down early, down late, up big. Like you feel like, hey, we have been here before. Because mindset is such an important part of this thing, right? Mindset is a huge part of this thing that you feel like we're going to – it's next-play mentality, we are in the moment of where we are here because we've been in all these scenarios. We know how to win in all these scenarios.
"So that's what the – of course you want to win by double digits, and I think for a little bit we were up two scores in every game we played prior to the last game (Washington), which I'm not sure I've ever been a part of before in the first eight games of the year. But I think when you have to win like that and it's got to be grimy and gritty, that's who we are. We are nasty. We are physical. That's the type of team we are. We had to win that way – not that we haven't had to win that way with our style of play, but we had to win that way with our mentality yesterday (Sunday), which is only going to build character and build who you are as a football team."
It is a one-step-at-a-time 17-game season and the Eagles want to, as Sirianni said, build in the right direction, improve daily, and keep winning. Doesn't matter if it's a blowout or a nail-biter. A win is a win because, as we know, style points don't count in the NFL. It is interesting, and not the least bit surprising, that Sirianni emphasized "mindset" in his answer and he characterized the Eagles as "nasty" and "physical" and "grimy and gritty."
Philadelphia Eagles football. Nick Sirianni has himself that kind of team – one that is extremely talented, with a deep roster, and one that he has built a deep connection with – that corresponds to the "mindset" part of things.
"It's a long season and not everything is going to go your way. We understand that. That's the way the NFL works," offensive tackle Lane Johnson said. "You have to find a way to win. That's what it is. That's all that matters. Find a way to win. For us to be where we are speaks to the character we have here. We're going to fight you to the very end. That's what this team is all about."
Back to the start of this column, the idea of the weekly "overreaction." It happens for the media and for the fan base and that's part of the fun as everyone digests the result of the game and starts the long week of conversation before the next kickoff. Inside the NovaCare Complex and the other 31 NFL headquarters, there is a deep dive into what happened the day before, and then there is a rehash with the players and then corrections are made and the teaching continues as the next game plan is prepared and the challenge ahead is considered.
The Eagles have trailed at halftime of the last two games after leading in the first eight games after two quarters and in the loss to Washington, Philadelphia's mistakes were too much to overcome. In Indianapolis, the brilliance of Jalen Hurts led the offense and the defense came together to keep the team in the game before shutting the door to clinch the win. What will the Eagles ultimately take from that performance, from coming back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter for the first time since the 2010 season to win a game?
"All I know," defensive end Brandon Graham said while still in uniform after the 17-16 victory, "is that it was a huge win. And next week, we need to keep it going. That's all. There is no other choice."
Take an exclusive look at moments from Sunday's game in Indy through team photographer Kiel Leggere's lens.