DENVER — Eagles first-round pick DeVonta Smith turned 23 on Sunday.
Did anyone get him anything?
“A win,” Smith said. “That’s all I wanted.”
But to call Sunday’s 30-13 win over the Broncos a gift would certainly be a stretch. Smith wasn’t handed anything against Denver; he went and took it. Like when he capped the Eagles’ second drive with a ridiculous 36-yard touchdown catch over his former Alabama teammate Patrick Surtain.
Surtain, by the way, had excellent coverage on the play. But Smith was just better. He went up and got the ball and then showed incredible body control to stay in bounds.
“Quarterback just trusted me, just giving me a chance to make a play,” Smith said. “That’s what we always talk about. Have trust in each other and he had trust in me.”
Jalen Hurts had a great first half and that throw to Smith was one of his best on Sunday. But it was the way Smith finished that made everyone open their eyes a little wider.
“DeVonta went up there and made a spectacular catch on the ball, got down, maintained position on the ball and got a touchdown,” Hurts said. “It was a big start and a big spark for us. Obviously, we want to come out the first drive and finish after a great opening drive like that, finishing in the red zone. That was just a great play by Smitty.”
Later in the first half, Smith caught a 5-yard touchdown to give him the first multi-TD game of his career. He became the first Eagles rookie to catch two touchdown passes in a game since Jordan Matthews back in 2014.
It had been even longer since an Eagle had multiple touchdowns on their birthday.
Smith finished the game with 4 catches on 6 targets for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s now on pace for 71 catches, 1,025 yards and 7 touchdowns. That would break the Eagles’ rookie record for receiving yards (912) set by DeSean Jackson in 2008.
But on Sunday, Smith was even making plays when he wasn’t catching the ball. In the second half, he turned into a defensive back on an underthrown ball from Hurts. Smith was able to come back and knock it down from Surtain to prevent an interception.
A few days after Smith boasted that he would shut down teammate Darius Slay in coverage, he made his point against the Broncos.
“That was some of the DB skills right there,” Smith said.
We’re 10 weeks into the season and Nick Sirianni has seemingly run out of ways to praise his Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver.
Really, it just comes down to this:
“He’s just a good … sometimes you just say he is just a good football player,” Sirianni said.
“He’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time. He just went up and Jalen gave him an opportunity to make the play by putting it in the right spot. He just went up and made a play. He ran some really good routes today just on some under routes and some things like that. He showed it both ways today. Jalen was able to get him the ball. It was a good game by DeVonta, and he played his tail off.”
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