After the Eagles’ final offensive play fell incomplete through the hands of Jalen Reagor on Sunday, DeVonta Smith let his frustration boil over.
The Eagles’ rookie stomped his feet and once he got to the sideline, tossed his helmet.
“That just shows that I care about the game. I love the game,” Smith said on Friday. “I love going out there and competing. Like I said, you want to win every game that you can. Losing that way, I mean, it’s rough.”
While the game is now well in the rearview, Friday was the first opportunity reporters had to talk to Smith since the end of the game and that final play.
The Eagles didn’t lose to the Giants because of that one play but since it happened last, it’s a play that has been dissected numerous times since the game ended with a 13-7 loss. And it has spurred plenty of debate, especially because Smith was calling for the ball mid-play.
So was he open?
“My quarterback seen what he seen,” Smith said. “I’m not mad at the decision he made. He made the decision that was the best for the team.”
Earlier in the week, head coach Nick Sirianni pointed out the lack of route discipline on that play, which was a mesh concept between Smith and Quez Watkins running crossers. That route discipline was off and Hurts didn’t like what he saw in front of him, so he didn’t deliver a pass to Smith, who was supposed to be his top option on the play.
On Friday, Smith took some of the blame.
“Yeah, I could have won better at the line of scrimmage,” Smith said. “If I had won better at the line of scrimmage, it would have left no doubt about where the ball was supposed to be or what he seen. That’s on me. Win at the line of scrimmage and we probably wouldn’t be in this situation.”
In the game, Smith was targeted just 4 times and had just 2 catches for 22 yards. So it’s likely that his frustration had been building throughout the game on Sunday.
But Smith didn’t blame Hurts.
“Quarterback has to make his reads. I’m not a quarterback, I can’t tell him what to read,” Smith said. “He seen what he seen and he made the right reads. The ball went to who it was supposed to go to.”
Jason Kelce this week said it’s a great sign that Smith wants the ball in his hands at crucial moments, but said Smith knows that’s not always the way things go.
“I think the No. 1 thing, he has the ultimate belief and confidence in himself and what he can do and what he’s able to do,” Hurts said. “And I do as well. I’ve always known that about him. The ultimate competitor.”
Through 12 games this season, Smith has 48 catches for 686 yards and 4 touchdowns and is still on pace to break the Eagles’ single season rookie receiving record.
But he also knows teams are going to work to take him away. In the last game, the Giants held Smith and Dallas Goedert to a combined seven targets. Those two are clearly the Eagles’ top two receiving options.
“Teams throw all different things at you and you just have to adjust to it,” Smith said. “Every team is different. Every team has their way.”
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