By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Eagles went on the road to play a tough game at Lambeau Field against an undefeated Packers team on a short week riddled with injuries.
They were coming off of a home loss to the lowly Lions, which certainly does not instill confidence in the team.
The Birds proved everyone wrong, however, by advancing Doug Pederson’s record on Thursday Night Football to 5-0 and earning the team’s second win in a critical situation.
Nate Sudfeld seems to be over his injury, but was still left inactive for this game. It appears that the Eagles may be more inclined to have Josh McCown remain their second quarterback despite his short time with the team.
Rasul Douglas and Craig James, your starting Eagles corners. Hopefully that’s not the case, but Sidney Jones left the game with a soft-tissue injury at halftime and Andrew Sendejo wailed Avonte Maddox and the corner was stretchered off the field. Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien received increased roles in the fallout of those injuries.
Fletcher Cox left for a play, but it would seem that he faked the injury to get the Eagles time to challenge a “completed” pass that was picked up off the ground by a Packers receiver.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside was sidelined for much of the game as a backup, just as Pederson said, but the team had Nelson Agholor out there for nearly every snap. Agholor had one target and no catches in the game.
Jordan Howard received the edge in carries this week, but Miles Sanders also got quite a few touches. Both looked to be thriving in these roles.
Buy: Alex Ellis
Ellis has not been used in the passing game, but his presence on the team has been huge. In two weeks with the team, Ellis has had three big blocks for the Eagles, two resulting in easy touchdown runs for Jordan Howard.
While Ellis made the block from the fullback position in the Lions game, he made it coming across the formation against the Packers.
Of the two in the Packers game, one was a great pickup to prevent the Packers defender getting Jordan Howard in the backfield and the play is instead an easy TD run. pic.twitter.com/LzpbxDrk8C
— Paul Bowman (@PhillyBallPaul) September 27, 2019
Sell: Zach Brown
Brown ended the game with five tackles, but probably should have had a lot more. Too many times Brown failed to wrap up and bring the runner down. There was one drive toward the end of the game where Brown both missed tackles and committed a personal foul for no apparent reason after the whistle blew.
Brown was supposed to be a huge addition for this team and they really need him to step up and not make stupid mistakes going forward.
Buy: Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders would have had a strong game last week if it weren’t for his pair of fumbles. The week, with no fumbles, Sanders shined. He ran 72 yards on 11 carries for a 6.5 yards per carry average. He almost added a touchdown, but was just tripped up by a shoelace. He added 77 yards on kick returns, including a 67-yard return early on in the game to breath life into a game that looked to be getting away from the Eagles early. It seems he might have permanently taken the return duties from Corey Clement.
Sell: Avonte Maddox
Maddox left the end of the game on a stretcher, but before that he did not look good. The corner we saw in throughout the regular and post season in 2018 was nowhere to be found as Maddox was beat nearly every time he was targeted. That, or he committed pass interference that sometimes went uncalled, but certainly could have been.
First the team needs to hope Maddox heals quickly and has no permanent damage, then the team needs to hope he can look like the promising defensive back they saw in 2018 rather than a regressed version.
Buy: Jordan Howard
15 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns (5.8 yards per carry) and an additional three receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown, Howard has been the power back they thought they were getting when they traded for him. Perhaps even more, however is the improvement the team has seen from him in the passing game as well as picking up blocks like he did Thursday night. At this point, the Eagles might be wise to keep the Howard-Sanders duo around for a couple seasons.
Another nice pickup I saw last night was Jordan Howard on this play, though the play was an unsuccessful third-down conversion. pic.twitter.com/h2rzwrZaKb
— Paul Bowman (@PhillyBallPaul) September 27, 2019
Sell: Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery had a touchdown and his presence on the field opened up Zach Ertz a lot more, but he caught just three passes for 38 yards. He also had three passes bounce off of him. Whether a corner is there or not, Jeffery is expected to make tough catches and he just didn’t in this game. He even dropped a two-point conversion that could have had the Eagles up by nine at the end of the game. Let’s hope he just wasn’t 100% back from his injury and that’s why he wasn’t so dominant this week.
Buy: Brandon Graham
Graham came away with no sacks, but was in the backfield pressuring Aaron Rodgers all night. He forced a few throw-aways and was composed enough to scoop up the fumble that got the defense it’s first turnover since Atlanta. He just needs to get home a bit more, but this week was an excellent step in the correct direction.
- The Eagles corners are decimated, but there is still some hope that at least one of Avonte Maddox or Sidney Jones could return to pair with Rasul Douglas. The team could also re-sign Orlando Scandrick or Josh Hawkins. Either way, the team now has 10 days to re-integrate “new” faces into this defense or allow their current defenders to heal. Jalen Ramsey is also still out there.
- The Eagles won on an interception – the first time Aaron Rodgers has been intercepted inside the three-yard line in his career.
- Maybe all it takes is good competition? Playing arguably the best offensive line of the season, the Eagles defensive front four got more pressure than they have all season. the issue is that they routinely lost contain and allowed Rodgers a way out of trouble. This is evidenced by Rodgers being the Packers leading rusher and the Eagles having just one sack on the night. It will be a concern with other quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Dak Prescott, so it needs to be addressed.
- The offensive line was dominant in this game, opening huge holes in the run and holding what has been one of the league’s top pass-rushes to little success and no sacks. This is the line we expected coming into the season and if it keeps playing like this, the offense should be in great shape.
- After what looked to be a scary injury, Avonte Maddox was reportedly joking with teammates while being stretchered off the field. The team has since provided an update that he was released from the hospital and returned to Philadelphia for further testing.
Injury update: Avonte Maddox was evaluated at the hospital last night and diagnosed with a concussion and a neck injury. Doctors determined he was safe to travel with the team to undergo further testing.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 27, 2019
The Eagles have 10 days to rest and prepare for the New York Jets, who will come to Philadelphia next Sunday.