The Eagles’ offensive line is so talented that finding flaws isn’t easy.
At the start of the crucial second half against the Texans, left tackle Jordan Mailata was badly beaten on two of three plays by 34-year-old Jerry Hughes, resulting in sacks, a three-and-out and a punt.
The score was tied 14-14 and the Eagles were hoping to establish dominance against their 1-5-1 opponents. This possession change could have swung momentum to Houston.
Hughes is 6-foot-2 and 254 pounds. Mailata is 25, 6-8 and 368 pounds. Mismatch? Except that Hughes used his quickness to duck around Mailata — going down under, you could say — recording two of the Texans’ four sacks.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni tried to take the blame for the sacks and not blame his player, who normally dominates opponents.
- “I’m going to take full responsibility for both of those in the sense of we weren’t synced up with our protection and our route concepts, and that’s 100 percent on me and nobody else,” Sirianni said.
- “What ended up happening is we got caught with the ball in our hand and we had to hold it a little bit, and Jordan was just taking the set we told him to, and that’s going to happen, and I screwed him up on both of those.
- “Jordan is beating himself up about it, but I should be beating myself up about it more, and I am. Full responsibility on both of those sacks is on me.”
HARGRAVE USES KOBE FOR INSPIRATION
Javon Hargrave was a terror in Thursday night’s 29-17 win over the Texans. He bull-rushed from the middle of the defensive line directly into Houston quarterback Davis Mills’ kitchen. There wasn’t much stopping him.
The defensive tackle had three sacks, which the Eagles needed as Houston kept the game nervously close. He was rewarded with the only player game ball given by Sirianni.
“First time it ever happened [three sacks in an NFL game], and it feels good,” Hargrave said. “I used to do it in college. It’s way, way, way different [in the NFL].”
Hargrave was lined up at nose tackle more than normal with rookie Jordan Davis on injured reserve.
- “I was lined up in different places and just doing my normal rushes,” Hargrave said. “I think it’s pretty fun playing different positions. You get different looks. It was just working today.
- “You get a shorter space so you can win pretty quick at nose than being on the outside.”
Hargrave credits the bye week for his resurgence. Against the Steelers two weeks ago, he had two sacks. He leads the Eagles with six sacks.
- “I got healthy. I got my rest,” Hargrave said. “Really, just get my mind off football. Just come back and refocus. I was feeling a little nicked up, dealing with my toe … I think that bye just helped me kinda really get over it.”
The toe injury happened in training camp. “No excuse, it’s something that’s been nagging during the season,” Hargrave said.
Hargrave is a big Kobe Bryant fan.
- “That’s my dog,” said Hargrave, who came to the Eagles as a free agent in 2020 after four seasons in Pittsburgh.
- “I look at Kobe every day, every game just to get me going [right before the game]. During the week, when I’m down, just kinda look at Kobe to keep me working, and keeping my mind right.
- “I probably got crazy clips in my phone that I watch every day. The Kobe documentary, ‘The Mamba Mentality.’ That’s the stuff I get into.”
WHERE ARE THE ROOKIES?
With Jordan Davis on the IR, non-special teams snaps for Eagles rookies are almost non-existent.
Against the Texans, four rookies saw playing time — Cam Jurgens (1 snap), Grant Calcaterra (7 snaps), Nakobe Dean (1 snap) and Britain Covey (1 snap).
Special teams snaps: Jurgens, 4; Dean, 17; Calcaterra, 8; Covey, 8; Josh Jobe, 12; Reed Blankenship, 11.
From all accounts, Davis has been a good draft pick — a run-stopper and space eater in the middle of the defensive line.
The most puzzling rookie usage is Dean. Ahead of him at middle linebacker is T.J. Edwards, who has played 96 percent of the snaps and is having an outstanding season. Edwards has 74 tackles, tied for eighth in the league.
Dean, “the steal of the draft,” has taken four non-special teams snaps. The Eagles have played with the lead enough that you’d think Dean would get some snaps at linebacker.
Calcaterra has been getting snaps behind tight ends Dallas Goedert and Jack Still. Tight end is a position of strength for the Eagles.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has become the favorite to win the NFL MVP award, according to the latest odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Hurts is plus-250, ahead of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (plus-275) and Bills quarterback Josh Allen (plus-300).
Sounds about right …
The Eagles are 10.5-point favorites for Monday night’s game against the Commanders, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. This is the third consecutive week the Eagles have been double-digit favorites.
Sounds a bit high …