Eagles Flip Script, Air Out Ball In Beatdown Of Titans

Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles, as the lone 10-win team in the league entering week 13, entered their matchup with the Titans on Sunday.

The 7-4 Titans had a three-win lead over every other team in the AFC South and would appear to be playoff bound. That isn’t a surprise and it was part of the reason that even before the season many fans were looking at the back-to-back games against Green Bay and Tennessee as a difficult stretch on the schedule.

The Eagles offense came out and overcame several penalties and the need to burn a timeout on their first drive of the game to give the Birds the lead right out of the gate.

Meanwhile, the defense contained Derrick Henry well to force a three and out, but the offense followed up with their own after Jalen Hurts underthrew a wide-open receiver to end the drive. That was promptly followed by an impressive defensive effort that should have gotten the ball back, but instead Fletcher Cox and TJ Edwards allowed the slowest quarterback they’ve played to scramble for the first down with poor contain and awful lines/speed. That led directly to the Titans being able to tie the game up.

The Eagles offense ended the first quarter with a drive that once again advanced down the field despite numerous penalties (hold, false start, illegal formation that was irrelevant to the play). It put the Birds back in the driver seat and a quick stop by the defense put them in position to control the game.

The offense continued to shoot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties on that drive and it finally caught up to them. It put themselves behind the chains on a play with poor pass rush protection that lead to a fumble (recovered by the Eagles) that ended their drive just out of field goal range. The result was a punt followed by a Titans field goal. In the final minutes of the first half, the Eagles added another touchdown before shutting down the Titans offense.

A quick strike after a stop by the defense put the Eagles up by three scores at the start of the third quarter. Following a pair of three and outs by the Eagles defense, the Eagles put together a drive that milked nearly 10 minutes off the clock and scored a touchdown to make the game 35-10.

The Titans took a last gasp after that, going three and out again, and that’s when the Eagles, with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, benched most of their starters. The Titans did the same, conceding the victory and allowing the Eagles to advance to 11-1.

It was yet another game were they were able to get some young defenders and linemen some additional snaps and work to try and build some depth and experience after the win was already sealed.

Offensive MVP: Jalen Hurts

There’s certainly a case to be made for both DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown, but the MVP of the offense this week has to go to the air traffic control who aired the ball out to the pair. A week after setting a franchise record in rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, Hurts registered 380 yards and three touchdowns on 29/39 passing. It was an impressive passing attack and there were a few incompletions in there that probably should have been made by the receivers that would have made his stats even more impressive.

Defensive MVP: Josh Sweat

Sweat was the most explosive of the Eagles pass rushers this week, recording four tackles and two sack. He was in on at least three separate sacks and brought consistent pressure for the Eagles defense.

Game Notes

  • Marcus Epps wound up with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Treylon Burks that saw him lay on the field for some time on the Titan’s first quarter touchdown. It was an impressive play that he held onto the ball, though the helmet-to-helmet portion of the hit did not seem to be intentional as Burks fell backward into Epps’ lunging body.
  • AJ Brown missed out on a 40-yard touchdown with a great grab because his right foot landed sideways and was out of bounds. The Eagles managed to do the same thing to the opposite side of the field on the next play for Brown to get the score against his former team.
  • The offense as a whole was very poor with their pre-snap execution. While a few holds per game could be expected, the numerous fouls for false starts and pre-snap movements are unacceptable at this point in the season. For the results on those drives, many of those penalties didn’t matter, but that doesn’t make them any less egregious. In fact, by the second quarter, the offensive line had committed more false starts in this game than they had in the entire first 11 games of the season combined.
  • It should be noted that several of the non-pre-snap penalties were unwarranted, although the Eagles also benefitted on an “unnecessary roughness” for grazing Hurts at one point where nothing happened.
  • Following a play in the second quarter where James Bradberry broke a bit too early (resulting in a PBU instead of a pick-six), the Titans garnered 50 yards on the next two plays to allow the Titans a field goal and make it just a four-point game, a likely 10-point swing.
  • On the first drive of the second half, the Eagles challenged a ruling of an incomplete pass by the Titans that would have resulted in a forced fumble by TJ Edwards and a subsequent Eagles recovery. It was an odd challenge, but in all fairness any normal person probably calls that a catch if it wasn’t an NFL game, it just didn’t really meet the rules requirements for “completing the process” of a catch. A great PBU by Edwards nonetheless.
  • The rushing game did not have a great day today. While Sanders and Hurts did have a rushing touchdown each, the total rushing today for the Birds was 63 yards on 23 attempts. The Titans are a good run-stopping team and so the Eagles focusing more on the air attack helped with that as many of the rushes wound up being sneaks or rushes meant only to spend clock.
  • On the opposite side of the ball, the Eagles defense did a fantastic job, holding Derrick Henry to just 30 yards on 11 rushes.
  • On special teams, the Eagles were solid and return man Britain Covey racked up 105 yards in the game. He averaged 17.5 yards per return in this game and had a long of 27, something that has been missing for this team all season long.

Injury Notes

  • Landon Dickerson once again left this game and Andre Dillard slotted into the line in his place. He did return later in the quarter.
  • Jordan Davis, returning from injury, limped off in this game but appeared to be fine later in the game.
  • Kyzir White went down with what appeared to be a leg injury in the third quarter which brought in draft pick Nakobe Dean.
  • In the fourth quarter, Quez Watkins came off the field and entered the locker room. He was replaced by Zach Pascal but would have been unlikely to return with the first-team offense sitting out most of the time after his exit anyway.

Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles – December 4, 2022

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