Are people finally ready to admit it? This Eagles team just might be really good. I know it’s hard for some to believe, but it just might be true. In a horrible NFC EAST division that probably saw the closest competition take a major blow yesterday, when the injunction that had previously blocked Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott’s six game suspension was lifted. With the Cowboys now becoming less of a factor, who’s left to challenge the Eagles for supremacy in the NFC East? The 0-5 Giants? The wishy-washy, very sometimey, Washington Redskins? I doubt it. There is no real competition in the division for the Eagles. But forget all of that for a minute. Last night’s victory over a very tough Carolina Panthers team (in Carolina) has to make you wonder if the Eagles are now one of the best teams in the NFC period.
Coming off of a blowout game against the Arizona Cardinals last week, I was not feeling real good about this game going in. A huge win the previous week + a short week + a tough team + a road game, usually = a disappointing loss for the Eagles. The Birds were having none of it last night though.
The Eagles started off the scoring when the offense drove down the field and set kicker Jake Elliott up to attempt a 50 yard field goal, that he nailed as usual. Putting the Birds up 3-0 about midway through the 1st quarter. On a side-note, Elliott’s new name should be good money, because he’s pretty much automatic from anywhere on the field. I already forgot the name of our starting kicker who got hurt in the 2nd game of the season. He definitely won’t be getting his job back.(In my opinion) Anyway, Carolina went down the field and added a field goal of their own to tie the game up at 3 apiece. With 2:17 left in quarter number one, it was becoming apparent that this was going to be a low scoring game that the defenses of both teams were going to dominate. Points were going to be very hard to come by all night. (That’s what I thought) The Panthers went up 10-3 on a 16 yard run by Cam Newton early in the 2nd quarter. The way that both defenses were playing at the time made me think that the one touchdown lead may be enough for Carolina to win the game with, but I was wrong. The Eagles tied the game up when Carson Wentz hit TE Zach Ertz with a 17 yard pass. After a penalty against the Panthers on the extra point attempt moved the ball to the 1-yard line, the Eagles decided to go for two. LaGarrette Blount punched it in from 1-yard out to give the Eagles an 18-10 lead early in the third quarter. Carolina added another field goal to cut the Birds lead to five at 18-13. Jake Elliott connected on his second field goal of the night to put the Eagles back up eight, midway through the 3rd quarter. This time a 48-yarder that made the score 21-13 Eagles. The Panthers added yet another field goal with 3:23 left in the third quarter to make the score 21-16. The Eagles put together a drive that ate up the rest of the quarter. They capitalized on the drive when Carson Wentz hit Nelson Aghalor on a 24-yard catch and run to the end zone. The score put the Eagles up 28-16 very early in the final quarter. I felt good about a 12 point lead early in the 4th quarter, but not great. I had a feeling it was just a matter of time before Carolina started connecting on some of those plays they had been missing all game, and I was right. With some major help from the refs, who had been making some very sketchy calls all night, the Panthers drove down the field and scored when Cam Newton hit rookie RB Christian McCaffrey from a yard out, cutting the Eagles lead to five at 28-23 with a little more than half of the quarter left to play. The Panthers never scored again. (neither did the Eagles, but that’s not the point) An Eagles secondary that had been questioned all season long, did their part. The secondary came up with big stops when the team needed it, and came up with a big interception that should have easily been a game ender.
The defensive line put pressure on Cam Newton all night with only four pass rushers, allowing the Eagles to drop seven DB’s into the secondary for most of the game. This made it hard on Newton and the Panthers all night as Cam was constantly under pressure and the receivers were pretty much double teamed all night. The offense was excellent once again. Carson Wentz went 16-30 for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns. A more meaningful number than those were the amount of interceptions the second year quarterback threw against a good Panther defense. Zero(0). Wentz spread the ball around again as he hit eight different receivers on the night. LeGarrette Blount put on another solid rushing performance adding 67 yards on 14 carries. This Eagles team is solid from top to bottom. Eagle haters will still find a way to take away from the victory last night. Going into the game most were saying “tonight is going to be the night that the Eagles see that they’re not good when they face a good team.” By the time the game was over, that statement changed to “the Panthers aren’t really that good, that’s why the Eagles beat them.” I know it’s very hard for some of you folks who cheer for the other garbage bags in the NFC East to believe but, THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE 5-1 AND REALLY THAT GOOD THIS YEAR!