The good news is the Eagles have an actual winning streak to their name.
The bad news is, they don’t get to face Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez every week.
But there were a lot of positives in the Eagles’ 28-13 win over the Redskins at the Linc Monday night, so let’s get right to it in tonight’s Roob’s 10 Instant Eagles Observations.
1. Nothing has come easy for these 2018 Eagles, but somehow, they’ve battled their way back to 6-6 with their first two-game winning streak of the season, and that means meaningful football in North Texas on Sunday afternoon. Considering where the Eagles were two weeks ago, coming out of New Orleans humiliated and two games under .500, that’s something. Now, let’s see what you’re made of. Go down to Dallas and beat the Cowboys and then we can start thinking playoffs. I give Doug Pederson credit for keeping the thing together when things were at their bleakest. This isn’t a great football team right now, but it does seem to be a resilient one, and that’s almost as important.
2. Allowing a 90-yard touchdown is about as embarrassing as it gets for a defense, and it’s a real test for a unit. How will they respond? And I liked what I saw. Granted, the Redskins were down to their third quarterback, Sanchez, a former Eagle, but the Eagles limited the Redskins to 69 yards and three points on seven drives after the 90-yard run, and that showed me something. This is a defensive unit that’s still trying to find itself, and they answered that embarrassing play with some pretty solid football. And Adrian Peterson? After the 90-yard? He ran five times for three yards and never did reach 100 yards. Good stuff.
3. The interception on 1st-and-goal from the Redskins’ 5-yard line was inexcusable — that’s a pass Carson Wentz can’t throw — but overall, I thought he looked more spry than he has all year. He made more plays on the run than he has since he came back, and that’s really encouraging. And he was sharp on third down. He did miss a few open guys in the mid-range game, but for a guy who tore up his knee a year ago tomorrow, I’ll definitely take this performance: 27 for 39, 306 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
4. I loved the way Wentz spread the ball around. Zach Ertz did his usual thing (9 for 83) but Golden Tate (7 for 85) also was huge and Nelson Agholor (4 for 56), Corey Clement (3 for 47) and Jordan Matthews (touchdown catch) were all also involved. This offense only functions when the ball is spread around like that, and for much of the season, it hasn’t been.
5. Jason Kelce’s work on that Darren Sproles touchdown run was as impressive as anything you’ll see from a center. Kelce got out in front of the play and engaged Redskins linebacker Mason Foster at the 14-yard line and simply held him at bay with his right hand all the way down the field while Sproles ran outside him along the sideline into the end zone. Kelce also managed to wipe out Ha Ha Clinton-Dix near the goal line. Incredible play. You saw Kelce’s athleticism and his power on that play, and it got the Eagles a touchdown.
6. I really like how the Eagles got the screen game going Monday night with Clement. He’s such a steady receiver and has a real feel for following his blocks and finding space through traffic. Clement has looked really good the last couple weeks after a nagging quad injury, and he netted 74 yards of offense Monday night — 5 for 27 rushing to go with those 47 receiving yards. It was hard to imagine his playoff run last year was a fluke, and he’s proving it wasn’t.
7. Was nice to see Tate really settle in and make plays. That 32-yard-yarder down the right sideline in the third quarter was really the first we’ve seen of his tackle-breaking big-play ability. Hard to ignore that Amari Cooper really came to life for the Cowboys in his fourth game. Tate did the exact same thing. Really encouraging performance.
8. I like Josh Adams. He’s going to be a player. He finished 20 for 85 Monday night, becoming the first Eagle since DeMarco Murray with back-to-back games with at least 80 yards. But one thing he’s not is a short-yardage back. At least not at this point in his career. He’s now had five chances on 3rd- or 4th-and-1 this year, and he hasn’t gained positive yards yet. He’s been stopped for no gain twice and lost one, two and three yards on the others. That’s 0 for 5. That’s why Pederson’s 4th-and-1 call at the goal-line in the second quarter — which resulted in a two-yard loss — was so ill-advised. Adams hasn’t shown that’s a situation where he can convert. He’s effective when he turns the corner and finds open space. But goal-line and short-yardage running is a different animal. Only one other back in the NFL is worse than 0 for 1 on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1, and that’s one-time Eagles training camp phenom Raheem Mostert, who was 0 for 2 for the 49ers before getting hurt several weeks ago. I didn’t mind going for it on 4th-and-1, but that play was doomed to failure before the ball was snapped.
9. That diving tackle Rasul Douglas made on Chris Thompson on that Sanchez pass to Jordan Reed and lateral to Thompson was incredible. I’ve been tough on Douglas, but he was really good Monday night. And that play saved at least a 30-yard gain and maybe a touchdown.
10. Amazing that Ertz broke Brian Westbrook’s single-season franchise record of 90 catches … with more than a quarter of the season to go! Ertz had another monster game with 9 for 83 and is now 93 for 978 with four games to go. He already has the 13th-most catches in a season by a tight end, and he needs just 19 catches to break Jason Witten’s NFL record of 111 catches, set in 2012. Just remarkable stuff.
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