By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia Eagles faced another familiar face today as Doug Pederson made his return to South Philadelphia with a young and dangerous Jacksonville Jaguars squad. The Jags were looking to get another statement victory at the expense of another powerhouse team early in the season. It was not to be today as the Eagles used their powerful rushing game to beat Jacksonville 29-to-21. With the victory the Eagles remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL. Philly is now four-and-zero for the first time since 2004.
The after-effects of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ian made it a very rainy and messy game for both teams. The Eagles could not connect with their receivers early on. An early mistake gave the Jaguars their first touchdown of the day. Jalen Hurts tried to fit a ball into a tight window, and it led to a 59-yard touchdown interception run by Jags Safety Andre Sisco. The early mistake put the Eagles in an early seven-to-nothing hole, and then Jacksonville went right down the field and scored again. It was not looking good for the Eagles and then their defense got a fumble recovery after the ball slipped out of Trevor Lawrence’s hand. That allowed the Eagles to finally get their struggling offense out of the mud. Jalen Hurts went right down the field and scored a touchdown that got the Eagles back in the game.
On adjusting to the tough conditions and a tough opponent, “We had to face adversity. We needed that. I’m so proud of this team,” said Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown.
The Eagles defense were able to slow the Jaguars offense down enough to keep Philly in the game. They recovered from allowing two early touchdowns. Got pressure on Lawrence that forced him into three more turnovers. That allowed the Eagles to use their rushing attack to get their fourth victory of the season. Miles Sanders was the beneficiary of this messy game as he had 27 carries for 134-yards and had two rushing touchdowns. He kept drives alive by refusing to go down. He was able to get a couple of back-breaking first downs that kept Jacksonville’s defense on the field. If Sanders can keep running like that the Eagles will have an even more deadly rushing attack than they had last year. The majority of the ground game last year was Jalen Hurts making things happened. However, throughout these four games Sanders has made his presence known in the ground game. If he keeps this up, he will force Philly to pay him during his contract year.
The Jaguars made it difficult for Philly throughout this game, but five costly turnovers were their undoing. They also had a chance early on to put the Eagles in a 21-to-nothing hole. However, Lawrence did not connect with his receiver and that proved to be a pivotal miss for the Jaguars. They are clearly a different team under Pederson, and they will definitely make some noise in the AFC South.
On what he learned about his team and what they can improve on, “This team didn’t flinch. Nothing was able to deny us. I was proud of this team. It was raining sideways. It was a great team win. We can be efficient in everything we do. That’s our goal. To be efficient in everything we do. We found out a lot about this team,” said Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The Eagles will now prepare for the Arizona Cardinals next week. That game should be less messy since Arizona plays in a dome environment. Defensively Kyler Murray presents a different challenge for the Eagles defense. He is the most mobile and athletic quarterback the Eagles have faced so far this season. They will need to be sure-handed when they get the opportunity to tackle him. If they expect to keep the Cardinals offense at bay and get their fifth win of the season.