While going to town on leftover turkey and sweet potatoes, there was a lot of football to occupy Eagles fans' times over the weekend. Despite not playing until tonight, the events around the NFL can give a greater perspective on this Eagles team overall. Here are my takeaways from Week 12:
1. Passing is the best way to find sustained success in the NFL. The history of the NFL is a history of quarterbacks. I always want the Eagles to be among the leaders in early down passing and pass-to-run ratio, but the Titans and Browns showcased the power of a great feature back.
Derrick Henry bulldozed the Colts for 178 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns in a 45-26 win. Those numbers would've been even greater if the Titans didn't build a three-touchdown lead at the end of the first half. Cleveland's Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 206 rushing yards on 7.1 yards per rush in a victory over the Jaguars.
Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill has been among the league's most efficient passers the last two seasons, but Baker Mayfield has been almost as erratic as Carson Wentz in 2020. When a quarterback is struggling, especially as mightily as Wentz has been, lean on the ground game. It's not a permanent solution to a regressing signal-caller, but it can lead a team to short-term success.
Miles Sanders' fumble issues are evident, but he's averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. Seattle's defense is more susceptible to the pass than the run, but it's something worth considering going forward if Wentz's play shows no signs of improvement.
2. Add Carolina's Jeremy Chinn to the "coulda-shoulda-woulda" list of players Eagles fans wish the team drafted.
With a clear need at safety, the Eagles opted to draft Jalen Hurts with the 52nd-overall pick. Chinn, out of Southern Illinois, went 12 spots later. Well, Chinn had two defensive touchdowns yesterday as part of his Defensive Rookie of the Year-worthy season. Those two touchdowns are more than all four skill position players (Jalen Reagor, Hurts, John Hightower, Quez Watkins) the Birds drafted in April have this season combined. Yikes.
Oh, by the way, Justin Jefferson continues to look like one of the best receivers in the NFL, rookie or not. He's up to 918 receiving yards and six touchdowns so far this year. Welp.
3. Without their entire quarterback room due to COVID violations, the Broncos turned to practice squad receiver Kendall Hinton as their emergency quarterback at home against the Saints. New Orleans just so happened to be using the multi-positional Taysom Hill as QB1 in the absence of an injured Drew Brees too.
In watching this slopfest passing performance (the two quarterbacks combined for 91 yards through the air), I got angry with how the Eagles have used Hurts this season. Neither of these dudes are real quarterbacks, but Hurts is. He was a Heisman runner-up. He threw for 32 touchdowns in his last year at Oklahoma. Having him as a suped-up gadget player running read option after read option accomplishes nothing.
If you're going to use Hurts, and it looks like the Birds will be doing so more than ever tonight, have him throw the ball. He has two passes all season, both with Wentz on the field. Howie Roseman drafted a quarterback in the second round. Either have him throw the ball or don't use him at all.