Last week, the Eagles played a bad run defense so they ran the ball. This week, they played a bad pass defense so they passed the ball.
Pretty simple, right?
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Because there just aren’t many teams that are as multi-dimensional as the 2022 Eagles. There are plenty of teams who would have tried the same approach against the Packers and the Titans but not many that would have been able to pull it off with such dominance.
“I think it’s very dangerous,” DeVonta Smith said. “Teams can’t just pick out what you’re going to do that day. You just have to go out there and execute. But it all just comes down to us.”
After rushing for 363 yards against the Packers in Week 12, the Eagles threw for 386 yards against the Titans in a dominant 35-10 win in Week 13.
Two dominant offensive performances. Two very different ways about it.
The Eagles have now had back-to-back games with 450+ yards of offense in consecutive games for the second time this season. But it’s the way they did it over the last two weeks that’s so remarkable.
They became the first NFL team to throw for 350+ yards after rushing for 350+ yards the previous week since the 1987 Los Angeles Raiders.
“You never really know how the game’s going to go,” said Miles Sanders who had 24 rushing yards on Sunday after a career game a week ago.
“You can key in on certain things but they can do something totally different. At the end of the day, the other team’s watching film all week too. But that’s a good thing about being able to do anything we can. If we have to pound the ball, we’re going to do it. If we have to throw the ball, we’re going to do that too at a high level like we did today.”
There are a few keys to all this:
1. Jalen Hurts is dynamic on the ground and through the air. There just aren’t many players capable of doing what he does. He ran for 157 yards last week and passed for 380 this week. That’s unique.
2. The offensive line is just very good. Like most O-lines, they really like to run the football but they’re good enough in pass protection to give Hurts time. Even with all their penalties on Sunday, they held up on those 41 drop-backs.
3. The Eagles have good skill position players to run the ball and to catch it. And those guys are unselfish enough to understand that this offense will do whatever it takes to win.
It really starts with Hurts. And the 24-year-old quarterback always says he doesn’t care what it takes to win. Whatever it takes, they’ll do it.
After last week’s win over the Packers, when he had 17 rushing attempts for 157 yards, Hurts explained it using one of his favorite metaphors.
“I feel like for us as a football team, as an offense, it’s like your favorite steakhouse, your favorite restaurant – 5-star, boujee restaurant you like to go to,” Hurts said after the win over Green Bay. “You have your steak of the day, your selection of the day. For us, we can kind of do it all as you know.
“We do everything at a pretty consistent basis, that’s what we strive for, and I think we’ve done that in moments this year, and I think that’s our standard. I feel like there will be games where I have a day like this or an impact in the game on the ground. There’s a day where A.J. has three touchdowns in the first half. There’s a game where Smitty has 150 in the first half. It’s a ton of different scenarios in ways this thing can go as an offense. I think that has helped us a lot, being able to be diverse. At the end of the day, I’ve made myself clear that the most important thing is winning.”
The special on Sunday was the passing offense. A.J. Brown had 8 catches for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns. DeVonta Smith had 5 for 102 and a score of his own. Jack Stoll, Quez Watkins and other chipped in too.
And before the game was over, Hurts completed a pass to a total of nine different Eagles in the blowout win.
Maybe we’ll see more of that next week against the Giants. Or maybe they’ll run it.
We’ll find out next week.
“If the pass game gets hot, then the pass game gets hot, we’ll keep going with that. If the run game gets hot, we'll ride that,” head coach Nick Sirianni said.
“Shane [Steichen] did a great job calling it, offensive coaches did a good job putting the guys in position, and then obviously the most important thing, the guys went out and executed it.”
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