Eagles won again. It was not always pretty, but in the end, Eagles topped the 49ers in a 33-10 game. Even in a game where the Eagles weren’t at their best, at least on offense, they managed a dominant win. They advance to 7-1, and now prepare to play the Broncos at home, and hope to go into the bye week 8-1. They remain the best team in the league, as the defense seems to only get better. Here are some positive, and negative, takeaways from the Eagles win over the 49ers.
+Run defense still stout
Once again, the Eagles held the opposing teams running backs to under 60 yards. QB CJ Beathard led the 49ers in rushing yards with 40, and that was because the Eagles pass rush was chasing him out of the pocket all day forcing him to run. Opposing running backs have had nothing to work with when playing the Eagles. Being able to stop the run, is the key to being an elite team. It forces the other team to throw and also helps control the clock. Eagles are arguably the best defense against the run.
+Wentz deep balls
Wentz did not have his best game, but he made a few beautiful passes when he had to. Among them, the deep touchdown to Alshon Jeffrey. Early in the season, there was some concern for his ability to throw the deep ball. He was overthrowing people open deep. No one has concerned anymore. Wentz has now thrown five 50 yard touchdowns on the season. And those aren’t short throws with yards after the catch. He is throwing the ball deep down the field, and hitting his WRs in stride. He has become one of the best deep throwers in the league. Every QB has games where they struggle, but good QBs will still make one or two great plays even in games where they struggle overall. Wentz did not have a good game, but he made several good plays.
+Pass Rush elite
The Eagles pass rush is relentless. You cannot contain them. Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Brandon Graham, they have an endless array of pass rushers. They added 4 sacks, but they were pressuring the QB all game long.
-O-line struggles without Jason Peters
The O-line did not play great this week. Wentz had to deal with pressure too much. It is to be expected that there will be some struggles at first after losing Jason Peters. However, this could be an issue if Big V continues to struggle.
+Alshon Jeffery shows up
Jeffrey was brought to Philly to win those 50-50 balls. He hadn’t done so so far this season. Against the 49ers, he not only made a great contested catch but then turned it upfield to score a TD. The Eagles do not need him to get 100 yards. But if he can start winning those 50-50 plays, he could make a big difference.
+Running game continues solid play
The Eagles rushed for over 100 yards again. None of these running backs are every down backs. None of them are pro bowl backs. But as a tandem, they work pretty well. With Wentz at QB, they only need the running backs to be good enough to keep the defense honest. They cant just drop the linebackers into coverage every play. Having decent runningbacks opens up the field for the Eagles passing game.
-Missed extra points
Not the biggest deal since they won by 23 points, but Jake Elliot did miss two extra points. For now, we can chalk it up to poor kicking conditions, and he was flawless kicking field goals, including another 50+ yard field goal.
-All of their major competition won as well
The Eagles don’t have a ton of breathing room at the top of the NFC. The Saints, Seahawks, and Vikings are on their neck, all have only two losses. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are still only two and a half games behind the Eagles. While that is a comfortable lead, for now, it would be great if they could pull further away. But all four of these teams won this weekend.
+Pass defense continue to improve
Sure it was against the 49ers with a rookie QB, but this secondary continues to impress. With all the injuries, they have really held down the fort. Patrick Robinson has been perfect in the slot. Mills, while not perfect, is tenacious on the outside. He is a great tackler and has great instincts. He has morphed into a good playmaker as well. Rasul Douglass has also played well for the most part. Once Ronald Darby gets back, and if Sidney Jones can play this year, Eagles secondary could be something special.
+Can make big plays when they need to
The Eagles offense wasn’t good this week. They struggled most of the game. But they showed up when they had to. Most notably, after an interception led to the 49ers first touchdown. The score was 20-7, and momentum was in the 49rs favor. But the Eagles came back and quickly marched down the field to score another touchdown and seal the win. Pressure does not seem to affect this team. They have risen to the occasion multiple times throughout the year. Against the Giants, they got into field position with less than 20 seconds on the clock. Against the Chargers they led a long scoring drive to wind down the clock and seal the game. Quite simply, they just get things done.