Monday Review: Battered Eagles never seem to quit

For the third straight week, it was all unfolding the same way for the Eagles. A slow start in the first quarter, a double-digit deficit, injuries continuing to pile up in the places where they could ill afford them.

It has not mattered to the Eagles. They have battled through all of the adversity and started the season 3-0. It is the first time they have opened the season with three straight wins since 2004.

Sunday’s 37-34 win over the Redskins wasn’t pretty. But it was gritty. It represented the resilience that this team seems capable of every week. They don’t get rattled. They let the game come to them.

There are still things to improve on. There may always be. But these Eagles will week-in and week-out provide a show and take you on a ride.

In six days, the Eagles have won two games by six combined points. That will raise your heart rate for sure.

Sunday’s win was very different from last Monday’s win over the Colts. The shoe was on the other foot. The offense was much more on point. The defense had a disastrous afternoon.

Much like the Eagles early-season wins last season, they did it with offense. Nick Foles finally started to show his comfort level in the pocket. He was patient. He let plays develop. And his receivers bailed him out.

Jeremy Maclin was a different receiver on Sunday, as he powered the Eagles receivers. Sunday may also be remembered as the game where rookie Jordan Matthews broke out. Matthews was certainly not overshadowed by Maclin’s big day, scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter that helped put the Eagles in the lead.

I think the least of the Eagles problems is the running game. This was a classic case of what teams will do to LeSean McCoy. They will focus on him and try to take everything away. And with four of the five starting offensive linemen missing for a time in this game, it’s hard to hold the pressure off.

McCoy will get it going at some point. Darren Sproles does need to be utilized more when he can’t.

In the receiving game, it was also baffling to see the tight ends so limited. The offensive potential was so much higher than 37 points against Washington. Eventually, that will all come to form.

Defensively, the Eagles were sloppy. The secondary was again subject to big plays. For a change, it was the Redskins, not the Eagles, spreading the field. It helped that Kirk Cousins was on point with almost all of his passes.

The run defense played a solid game, limiting Alfred Morris to 77 yards rushing.

The defense in general continued to make the big plays when they had to down the stretch.

It’s a performance from the offense that displays the patience needed against all teams. Drives don’t have to be one big play and a scoring play. They can develop over a series. Foles proved capable of doing that while taking a beating from the Redskins.

Defensively, this kind of performance will not cut it next week in San Francisco. The Eagles have to tighten up to create problems for the passing game.

All of this said, the Eagles continue to deal with the problems while winning. Winning can certainly make problems disappear. One day, probably soon, the Eagles will lose a game due to their flaws.

What we learned on Sunday is simple. Without question, the Eagles are still above the rest of the NFC East. A playoff berth should not be a thought. It will be a reality much sooner than the last week of the season.

In between, there will be games that challenge that thought. Next week could very well be one of them. As it was against the Colts, the Eagles will have to pass another test. There are plenty of them left before they become a team people could see making a run toward the Super Bowl.

But for now, the Eagles have the same numbers of wins as they did halfway through last season and are off to their first 3-0 start since the last time they made such a run. That is a pretty awesome feeling.

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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