INDIANAPOLIS — It wasn’t pretty but the Eagles avoided a disaster.
They eventually did enough to earn a 17-16 win over the Colts to improve to 9-1 on the season.
A win’s a win and all that, but there are plenty of things that desperately need to be corrected moving forward. And the Eagles know that. So the Eagles will enjoy the ugly win because this league isn’t a cakewalk but they need to fix a lot.
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The grades reflect that:
Jalen Hurts: 18/25, 190 yards, 1 TD; 16 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
This wasn’t Hurts’ best game but he did enough. He ran into a couple sacks and made some bad decisions. There were some questionable choices on read-option and RPO plays and there was a lack of situational awareness a few times, like when he took a sack on fourth down. But he hit some big throws. And there’s also something to be said for getting it done on that final drive and willing the Eagles to a victory. I don’t care that he did it with his legs. Whatever it takes.
Miles Sanders: 13 carries for 47 yards
The Colts have a very good defensive line, especially the interior of their defensive line. So it was tough sledding out there. Sanders averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, Boston Scott averaged 2.7 and Gainwell didn’t gain a yard on his only rushing attempt. The running backs didn’t do much in the pass game but Sanders did draw a 39-yard DPI on a long wheel route that helped set up the game-winner.
DeVonta Smith: 6 catches on 9 targets for 78 yards
A.J. Brown got off to a great start in this game. He had 3 for 46 at halftime, but finished with 5 for 60 after going silent for a couple long stretches and had a costly fumble. But credit Stephon Gilmore, who played well. Smith led the way for the receivers and Quez Watkins grabbed his second touchdown catch of the season, a nice moment of redemption after last week’s fumble.
Jack Stoll: 1 catch for 7 yards
The Eagles really missed Dallas Goedert in this game. We knew losing Goedert (shoulder) for at least four games would be a big deal and we saw that immediately. Stoll caught the only pass for the tight end group but all three ended up with penalties in this game. Stoll was hit with a false start on a punt, Grant Calcaterra with a hold and Tyree Jackson with an OPI.
We already mentioned that the Colts’ defensive line is very good and they were in this game. The Eagles really struggled to run the ball between the tackles with anyone other than Hurts. And that bad snap from Jason Kelce could have been very costly. But they held up fine in pass protection. Hurts was sacked three times but you can probably blame him for some of that. He ran into a couple sacks.
Milton Williams: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 2 TFLs
After arriving during the week, give a ton of credit to Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, who played a lot more than expected in this game and will grade out very well. Jonathan Taylor had 7 carries for 49 yards on the first drive but had just 15 carries for 35 yards the rest of the way. The Eagles sacked Matt Ryan four times, including a couple in crucial situations from Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham.
T.J. Edwards, 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FR
Edwards was playing an aggressive downhill style in this game and made few big plays for TFLs and also showed some impressive burst as a blitzer. Kyzir White added six tackles.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson: 11 tackles, 1 TFL
Matt Ryan ended up throwing for 213 yards and hit some big completions on third downs. But it’s hard to argue with the end result. The Eagles did miss Avonte Maddox in this game. Josiah Scott filled in and had trouble with Colts slot receiver Parris Campbell who caught a few big passes, including a 31-yarder in the fourth quarter to give the Colts the ball at the 5-yard line before the Eagles’ defense held them.
Jake Elliott: 1/1 on FGs, 2/2 on PATs
Elliott hit his only field goal. Arryn Siposs averaged 41.8 yards per punt with a long of 49. And Britain Covey had a nice 13-yard return. That stuff was good. But there was the one series in the second quarter when Stoll was called for a false start and then the punt team gave up a 17-yard return that set up the 51-yard field goal.
Really tough to grade the coaching staff in this one because Jonathan Gannon made some huge adjustments after that first drive and the defense played great the rest of the way. Even on short fields, they didn’t allow more than field goals.
But some of the decisions on the offensive side of the ball were downright puzzling. Why use heavy-tight ends in a game without Goedert? Why run the ball with Boston Scott three times late in the game? Why ask Sanders to block Yannick Ngokue. I really didn’t like much of what the Eagles did on offense. I also didn’t like Nick Sirianni’s decision to go for it on 4th-and-10 early in the third quarter from the Colts’ 39-yard line. That was too desperate. And then the whole sequence before the game-winning score was baffling. The Eagles had 7 penalties for 55 yards. All that said, they won a tough game and they stayed mentally strong even when they were down two scores entering the fourth quarter. That counts for something.
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