After two straight close wins that came down to the final drive, the Eagles decided they didn’t want this game to be close. Eagles trounced the Cardinals in a 34-7 game, that they dominated from the get-go. Eagles scored on their first three possessions, with Carson Wentz throwing 3 touchdowns to three different players. Trey Burton got the first, then Zach Ertz got one, and Torrey Smith got a 59-yard touchdown after that. This was easily the best the Eagles have played on both sides of the ball all season. How did it all go down? Let’s break it down.
- Wentz has his best game yet- 304 yards and 4 TDs while completing 21 of 30 passes. Wentz was perfect except for an interception at the end of the first half. It was easily the best game for him of the season so far. This came in a week where many expected him to struggle. The Cardinals pass defense has mostly been stout this year, but Wentz shredded them in the first quarter. He helped give his defense a lead, and the defense never gave that lead-up.
- Running game continues to roll- This game makes 3 straight where the Eagles as a team have rushed for 100+ yards. The team finished with 122 rushing yards on 33 carries. Once again, they run the ball more than they pass it, though that may be because they got out to such a fast start, that it only made sense to run the ball. Even with Wendell Smallwood on the shelf, the team still produced on the ground. Once again, LeGarrette Blount was the main contributor. He gained 74 yards on 14 carries, good for over 5 yards a carry. This, against a Cardinals defense that many thought would be stout against the run. The Eagles were the first team to rush for 100 yards against the Cardinals this season, and the concerns about the running game after the first two weeks seem like a distant memory.
- Rush defense smothers the Cardinals– Eagles didn’t only run the ball well, but they played the run well. The Cardinals gained only 31 yards on the ground. Granted after going down early, the Cardinals didn’t get many chances to run, but even when they did run, they averaged only 2 yards a carry. Coming into the game, opponents averaged about 70 yards a game on the ground. They played the pass well also. They allowed less than 250 yards and less than 5 yards per attempt. Cardinals were only above to move the ball on a couple drives. Eagles defense has been playing well for most of the year, and this was their best performance yet.
- More injuries- Lane Johnson left the game with what is being called a head injury. This, with a short week coming up as they have to play the Panthers on Thursday night. Players like Ronald Darby. Fletcher Cox, Wendell Smallwood, and more were already injured coming into the game. The good news, all these players will eventually be back. If they are playing this well with the injuries, imagine what they will look like when healthy.
- Doug Pederson coaches well– Doug coached a damn fine game. I suppose it is easy to coach well when you are up by 21, but it was his gameplan, that got them so far ahead. People said they would not be able to throw against Arizona like they did, but Doug didn’t doubt his QB or his offense. He came out throwing, and it worked. The gameplay got everyone involved, and he put Wentz in a good position to succeed. I am sure the most vocal Doug haters will find something to complain about, but Dougie P has now coached 3 good games in a row.
- Smith finally produces- Not too much to say here except that Wentz and Smith finally hooked up. It seems every week, Smith has had a couple chances for a deep touchdown, but couldn’t make it work. Either Wentz would overthrow him, or Smith would drop it. But today Wentz hit Smith for a 59-yard score. A good sign for fans hopeful the two can find some chemistry.
- Not the best start for my picks- Going into the 4pm games, I am 3-6 so far. To be fair, if it wasn’t for Nick Folk shocking multiple times, I could be 4-5. But I doubted the Panthers, Jaguars, and Jets, and it cost me. Once again, I will have to rely on my late picks coming through to save my week.