I was nervous about this game. Logic told me Eagles were the better team, but the fact the Chargers were 0-3, made me nervous. Thankfully, my nerves were misplaced. The Eagles won a close game. A game they put away, with a very impressive final drive to run out the clock. Here are my initial observations after watching the game.
- Running game is dominate again- The Eagles ran the ball 42 times for 214 yards, good for 5.1 yards per carry. LeGarrette Blount was responsible for 136 of those yards, including a career-long 68-yard run. Early in the season, they looked like one of the worst running teams in the league, but now 4 weeks in, they are at the top in rushing yards. Turns out, if you commit to the run, good things happen.
- Jake Elliot is a kicking god- Elliot followed his 61-yard game winning field goal, by going 4/4 this week, including a 53-yard attempt. He is now 8/10 on the season, and one of those misses was a 56-yard attempt that you cant knock him for missing. Not sure who hates this performance more. Caleb Sturgis, who will now have to find a new job once they cut him when he is healthy, or the Bengals. The Bengals drafted him the 5th round but then cut him, opting to keep Randy Bullock instead. Bullock has been solid for them, but he cant make the kicks Elliot has been making.
- No Turnovers- Eagles didn’t turn over the ball once in this game. It sounds cliche, but that is how you win games. They held onto the ball, and only had to punt, twice. Can’t really ask for better efficiency than that. They had to settle for field goals four times, but when they got the ball, more often than not, they were putting points on the board.
- Gave up too many big plays- Not everything was positive. The Eagles gave up two 50+ yard plays, both resulting in touchdowns. They also gave up some big plays last week, and in week 2 against the Chiefs. They can’t keep letting teams stretch the field. They have to find a way to avoid these big plays.
- Gave up a lot of points in the 4th quarter again- In week 2, they gave up 14 points to the Chiefs in the 4th quarter. Week 3, they gave up 24 points in the 4th quarter. This week, another 14 points in the fourth quarter. That is 52 points given up overall in the 4th quarter this year, they have up zero points to Washington in the final Quarter in week one. They have given up 40 points in the first 3 quarters over 4 games. Giving up an average of 10 points over the first 3 quarters is great. Giving up an average of 13 points in the 4th quarter, not so much.
- Time of possession- Once again, the Eagles dominated time of possession. They had the ball for a total of 39 minutes in this game, compared to the Chargers having it for a little under 21 minutes. Despite what Chip Kelly says, time of possession is important. It keeps your defense fresh and tires the other defense out. Eagles will remain the number one team in this stat.
- Cowboys and Giants lose- What is better than an Eagles win? An Eagles win while the Cowboys and Giants both lose. If Washington loses to the Chiefs tomorrow night, which seems likely, Eagles will take sole possession of first place in the division. Giants fall to 0-4 and their season is pretty much over. Them turning it around to make the playoffs would be historical at this point. Cowboys fall to 2-2 and continue to struggle against teams with winning records. Cowboys have to take on the Packers next week, while the Eagles head home to play the 2-2 Cardinals, who have only beaten the Colts and 49ers. Eagles are in the driver’s seat.
- I go 7-7 with my picks so far- After the early games, my picks were looking awful. I went into the 4 pm games 3-7, some of the teams I picked losing in embarrassing fashion. But I went 4-0 in the late games and salvaged my week. I will happily take my pick of the Cowboys winning as a loss. I was actually close to picking the right score with the Eagles. I predicted 26-20, and it went 26-24. My Titans pick was embarrassing though. Looks like I overrated the Titans, and underrated the Texans.
- LA experiment a failure for Chargers- When a team from the other side of the country can take over your stadium like that, something is wrong. Can we all agree the Chargers shouldn’t move to LA, and should go back to San Diego. Dean Spanos deserves this for his shady, and selfish dealings. He tried to shake the city of San Diego down. When they wouldn’t budge, he moved. And now it seems he has moved to a city who just doesn’t care about this team