HomeTop StoriesEagles-Patriots takeaways: Jalen hurts, offense disappointing in opener

Eagles-Patriots takeaways: Jalen hurts, offense disappointing in opener

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles left Gillette Stadium with a 25-20 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday during the season opener.

Like last year’s season opener against the Detroit Lions, it wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day the Eagles are 1-0 going into Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night. .

Here are three takeaways from the win:

The Eagles offense looked nothing like 2022

The explosive Eagles offense that ranked in the top three in the NFL last season did not set foot on the field Sunday in Foxborough. They missed big plays, were out of rhythm and didn’t distribute the ball enough to their best playmakers.

The Eagles finished the game with 252 yards of total offense. Their lowest yard total in 2022 was against the Washington Commanders in Week 10 with 264, so Sunday would have been the worst offensive game of the 2022 season.

See also  2023 Made in America festival in Philadelphia canceled

Just by looking at Hurts’ stats: 22 for 32, 170 yards, one touchdown, an 89.2 passer rating and 37 rushing yards and a fumble recovery – they’re not the worst. But Hurts and the Eagles’ offense was never in sync on Sunday, and his fumble nearly cost them the game.

Hurts missed several pass catchers as he went through his progression, most notably Dallas Goedert on a play when he fired a ball deep to AJ Brown in double coverage.


NFL Next Gen Stats

First-year offensive coordinator Brian Johnson’s play-calling was suspect, to say the least. The weather may have played a role, but there were too conservative. The majority of Hurts’ passes did not travel further than twenty yards upfield.

As evidenced last year, the Eagles’ offense works best when Hurts attacks downfield on his top three pass catchers: Goedert, Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown and Smith finished the game with 10 goals each, but Goedert was not involved.

Goedert only had one goal and that was only in the second half. That must never happen again.

The Eagles got a defensive touchdown and a short field on their only offensive touchdown to take a 16–0 lead in the first quarter, but never found the end zone again.

Here’s how the Eagles’ possessions went after Smith’s first-quarter touchdown:

  • Point
  • Point
  • Point
  • Point
  • End of half (1 game)
  • Field goal
  • Field goal
  • Field goal
  • Awkward

The Eagles were clearly rusty, and head coach Nick Sirianni said after the game that he would reevaluate playing starters in the preseason next year — the starters didn’t play last month.

Additionally, the running back usage was strange. Rashaad Penny, who was signed by the Eagles in free agency, was a healthy scratch. D’Andre Swift barely got any touches. He finished the game with one carry for 3 yards and one reception.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Christian Gonzalez #6 of the New England Patriots tackles Kenneth Gainwell #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

How the running back rotation played out in the regular season was a storyline to watch and it was clearly Kenneth Gainwell’s show. He had almost 20 touches: 14 receives and four receptions.

But the Eagles should get Swift and Penny more involved as the season progresses.

Center of defense exposed

Heading into the 2023 season, the Eagles’ linebackers and safeties were the biggest question marks on defense. Both position groups were exposed to the Patriots.

New England continued to attack the middle of the Eagles’ defense with tight end Hunter Henry.

In his first start with the green spot at linebacker, Nakobe Dean left the game with a foot injury. Dean had seven tackles in the win, but it wasn’t an ideal start for the Georgia product. He’ll need a quick turnaround if he hopes to play Thursday night in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.

If Dean can’t go, Christian Elliss would likely get the start in his place next to Zach Cunningham.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 10: Nakobe Dean #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles JuJu Smith-Schuster #7 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

/ Getty Images

At safety, Reed Blankenship had a solid afternoon, finishing with 12 total tackles and two pass deflections. But Justin Evans was disappointing in his start alongside Blankenship.

We might see rookie Sydney Brown or veteran Terrell Edmunds start next to Blankenship in Week 2.

The middle of the Eagles defense will be tested again against the Vikings with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and TJ Hockenson.

Carter, Davis, bright spots for Eagles

For most of the game, the Eagles’ pass rush was nowhere to be seen. It was surprising considering the Patriots were down several starters on their offensive line.

But some of the bright spots in this ugly win were the young Georgia products: defensive tackles Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis.

According to NFL Next Gen StatsJalen Carter recorded six pressures, which is the most among all rookie defensive tackles over the past five seasons.

Carter recorded the first sack of his NFL career and it came at a huge moment with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter with the Patriots threatening to take the lead and ultimately win the game. He was in the pocket the entire game and almost had multiple sacks in the game.

Davis recorded half a sack along with six tackles and one quarterback hit. He also forced a fumble on Ezekiel Elliott. The fumble was recovered by Cunningham, which led to a Smith touchdown a few plays later.

With the Eagles’ veterans defensive line like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham a year older, it’s crucial that younger players like Carter and Davis make an impact this season.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Jalen Carter #98 of the Philadelphia Eagles sacks Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments