In the first quarter, it’s a good play.
In overtime? It’s a great play.
And it’s one that shows just how far Jordan Davis has come during his short time in the NFL.
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“You see JD do that all the time at practice,” DeVonta Smith said. “Chasing after the quarterback and things like that. Defense does a good job of getting to the ball, everybody runs to the ball. I expect nothing less.”
On the Bills’ second-to-last offensive snap in overtime, it was the 336-pound Davis who was chasing Josh Allen and altered his route enough to hold Allen to a 4-yard gain before the Bills eventually settled for a field goal. The Eagles answered with a touchdown to earn a 37-34 victory in overtime.
Not only did Davis reach nearly 17 mph on that play, but he did it on his 62nd and final defensive snap of the game. His previous career-high in snaps was 44.
At the end of the play, Davis was slow to get up. He was injured but was seen walking through the locker room later. It stands to reason that he was probably exhausted too after playing 18 more snaps on Sunday than he had in any of his previous 26 NFL games.
“That’s a big man,” Smith said. “Hard fall. I know that hurt.”
Davis, 23, really left it all out there in a game where the Eagles desperately needed him to.
From the time the Eagles used the No. 13 pick in last year’s draft on Davis, one of the biggest topics of conversation surrounding the big defensive tackle has been about his weight and his conditioning.
That’s why it was so notable that in a game where he played more snaps than any other in his NFL career, Davis’s last play was so impressive.
“He's worked really hard,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “We've been on him about his weight and conditioning, and he's been on himself about his weight and conditioning.
“I think before I say that, Jordan wants to please people, right? He's a great teammate. He wants to please his teammates and coaches because that's the type of person he is. That's a good quality to have.
“So, he knows how much we need him in the best shape of his life, so he's worked really hard at that. He has worked really hard at getting his weight of what it needs to be, his body fat of what it needs to be, his conditioning of what it needs to be, and he's always a work in progress, but he's really worked his butt off.”
The Eagles entered Sunday’s game against the Bills without Milton Williams, who was out with a concussion he suffered against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. And then in the first half, Fletcher Cox suffered a groin injury and even though he tried to come back in the second half, he wasn’t able to.
That meant a whole lot of snaps for Davis, Jalen Carter and even Marlon Tuipulotu down the stretch. This ended up being a game where the Eagles played a ridiculous 95 snaps on defense; their most since 2018 when they played the Cowboys into overtime.
While Davis played a career high, so did Carter, whose 76 snaps are the most since Cox in that aforementioned OT game against the Cowboys in 2018.
Sunday offered a glimpse into the future, where the Eagles hope Carter and Davis are mainstays of the defensive line for the next decade. The two college teammates played together extremely well at Georgia and they’re now doing it at the NFL level.
Davis had a somewhat disappointing rookie season in 2022 that was hindered by a high ankle sprain. He’s been much better in 2023. We’ve seen that all season.
And on Sunday, when the Eagles needed him late in the game, he had enough left in the tank to get it done. Davis deserves a lot of credit for that.
“He stepped up and had a nice game and played a lot plays,” Sirianni said. “That's a product of how hard he's worked, and he's had to work really hard at maintaining his shape and we'll continue to expect him to do so, and I know he'll continue to do so because he doesn't want to let his teammates down. That's one of Jordan's best qualities.”