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Passing Is Overrated: The Eagles Defeat The Jags With A Stellar Run Game

Photo Credits: Tim Nwachukwu - Getty Images

On the first October Sunday of the 2022 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by a final score of 29 to 21. Doug Pederson's new team gave the Eagles a tough time, arguably making them play the hardest they've had to play so far this season. However, Philly was still able to pull out the win and remain the league's only undefeated team. Below are three of my observations from this game.

Flexible On Offense: This Team Knows How To Take Advantage Of The Situation

Heading into the 2022 season, the Eagles wanted to become a heavy passing team. This was evident by their biggest off-season move in trading for A.J. Brown. The Eagles gave A.J. a brand new four-year contract that would make the elite receiver the focal point of the offense for several years to come. Combine this with the team's initial passing focus in 2021, and everyone knew that Philly wanted to be a pass-first team in 2022. And they were for the first three games of the season. Against Detroit, Minnesota, and Washington, Jalen Hurts had some of the best passing games of his career, and the rushing attack, besides the plays, Hurts made for himself on the ground, was largely ignored.

With Philadelphia experiencing heavy rains and wind, the elite passing offense the Eagles had been relying on seemingly became implausible for much of the day. So, the Eagles turned to the rushing attack which made them so successful last year. Despite Jacksonville having the number one rushing defense in the league heading into the game, Philly was able to rush the ball for a total of 210 yards. 134 of those yards came from running back Miles Sanders on 27 attempts. The Eagle's run offense was so good this game that all four of their touchdowns came on runs from Sanders, Hurts, and second-year running back, Kenneth Gainwell.

Why does Philly being able to effectively change its offensive identity in a short period of time matter? Because it means that this team can adapt to whatever opposing defenses or mother nature throws at it. You want to shut down Philly's passing? You'll get gouged on the ground. Want to take away Philly's running game? A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith will make you regret that choice. This offense is currently a big problem for opposing defenses and I'm willing to bet the "problem" will only become more exacerbated as the season continues.

A Clutch Defensive Performance For The Third Week In A Row:

The Eagles started this game trailing 14-0 after Jalen Hurts threw a pick-six and the team's defense folded under Doug Pederson's initial game script. However, that didn't stop this defense from rallying and making big plays that kept the team in the game.

For instance, with the Jags marching down the field at the end of the first quarter, it seemed all but guaranteed that they would extend their lead to 21-0. But, Fletcher Cox managed to sack Trevor Lawrence and force a fumble that killed Jackonsivelle's momentum. That fumble that Cox was able to recover resulted in a series of three scoring drives by Philly that gave them the lead heading into the second half.

In another crucial moment, James Bradberry saved a would-be touchdown by intercepting Lawrence in the third quarter. At a time when the Eagle's offense was beginning to sputter, this visibly gave the team new life.

All in all, Philly finished with four forced fumbles, one interception, and four sacks. They managed to do all of this while two of their starting corners, Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay, were sidelined with injuries. This defense has really stepped up these past few weeks and the Eagles will need them to keep it up as they get deeper into the season.

Is The Injury Bug Biting The Eagles?

In that last paragraph, I mentioned that two members of the Eagle's secondary were banged up and did not play most of the game. Well, they weren't the only ones. The Eagles starting left tackle, Jordan Mailata, and their starting right guard, Isaac Seumalo, had to leave the game with injuries. Even DeVonta Smith at one point had to leave the game with an apparent knee injury.

These injuries are significant for the obvious reason that it's never great to lose your starters. But even more so, this team has had historically awful luck with injuries. I can remember that in 2019 and 2020, the Eagles were banged up for the majority of those seasons. And at different points in 2020, the team had to start multiple practice squad guys in meaningful games. As someone that has been scarred by the injury bug before, I seriously hope this isn't going to become one of those seasons for this team.

Up Next:

Next week, the Eagles will face the Arizona Cardinals and hope to keep their status as the only undefeated team left in the league. The Cardinals don't look great this year, so I'm going to predict that Philly gets the win with a final score of 31 to 14.

The Birds are 4-0 and I'm feeling spicy. LET'S GO BIRDS!!!!!!!


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