The 2022-2023 NFL season for the Philadelphia Eagles has officially begun. On Sunday, September 11, the Eagles played their Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions, winning 38-35.
Starting the season with a healthy mix of youth and experience, the team got off to a slow start, luckily finding their footing fairly quickly. Now 1-0, and high hopes to secure the NFC East (and, maybe more), what can the Eagles learn before they head into their first home game?
GO BIRDS.@UnibetUS | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/oxs9C2oH6h
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 11, 2022
THINGS THAT WENT WELL
Jalen Hurts has improved
There’s no denying that Hurts had a rough start. On the Eagles’ first drive, the quarterback went 0-and-5, but he kicked things into gear as the game continued. He finished with 18 of 32 attempts, throwing for 243 yards. Hurts also landed among the highest-graded quarterbacks in Week 1 so far with an 80.8, according to Pro Football Focus.
His legs were unstoppable last season, and the same can be said this year too. Hurts completed 90 yards for one touchdown. He became the first Eagles’ quarterback in 60+ years to earn those stats without having a turnover.
He, along with Patrick Mahomes were also the only players in Week 1 to have 300+ yards of total offense without a single turnover.
Despite Philadelphia’s win, the game wasn’t good enough for Hurts. Following his victory, he stated, “It didn’t meet my standards today. It didn’t. I’ll just say that. There’s always more out there. We’re going to go to work. We’re going to work our tails off to continue to take a step, make progress, grow.”
The Eagles still have a successful run game
Last season the Eagles finished as the No. 1 rushing team in the league. With 2,715 yards, averaging 159.7 yards per game, there were high hopes they would find success again in 2022. And, they did.
During their Week 1 game, Philadelphia finished with 216 rushing yards, with four different running backs completing a touchdown. The last time this happened in the same game was in 1961, in a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
A huge part of the rush game was thanks to Miles Sanders. The running back, who is now in the final year of his rookie contract, had a rough 2021 season. With zero touchdowns, he put up his lowest-career rushing yards. But, this season, he has something to prove. Yesterday, Sanders finished with 96 receiving yards and his first touchdown since 2020. His performance made me forget he had a hamstring injury just a week ago.
A.J. Brown was worth the trade
Brown showed everyone why he is worth his ridiculously high contract yesterday. He was fast and agile, and though he was unable to land any touchdowns, he still remained successful. Brown was targeted by Hurts 13 times, completing ten receptions for 155 receiving yards.
His 155 yards was the most ever by any Eagles’ player in the first game in franchise history. The record was previously set by Donte’ Stallworth, who had 141 yards in 2006.
Luckily Brown was on the ball (pun intended). His fellow two receiver teammates, only finished with a total of 38 yards.
THINGS THAT DIDN’T GO WELL
Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles had a total of 14 penalties during their Week 1 game. This year — ten. Though the team decreased the number, they still managed to give up 61 yards which would have been useful.
Among the penalties were two false starts, two delayed games, too many men on field (twice), pass interference, holding, and neutral zone infractions. Both the offense and the defense had trouble, and both need to shape up before heading into next week.
The lack of DeVonta Smith
Week 1 wasn’t the week for DeVonta Smith. His stats were goose eggs through and through — receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
Smith was targeted just four times, dropping his first one of the game. Was it the game plan? Was he not open? Was it just not his time? Fans don’t know, but I don’t think there’s room for concern just yet.
In the locker room, Hurts passed Smith and stated, “That’s a dub! You gon’ get yours too.”
The Eagles’ defense has a lot to work on before they head into Week 2. As a top-10 defense in the NFL, Philadelphia still managed to give up 35 points and 386 yards (181 rushing) to Detroit. And, maybe the saddest part is that they could have allowed for much more, if the Lions didn’t drop three of Goff’s passes.
The defense didn’t generate enough pressure, and had only one sack on a quarterback they sacked six times least season.
One positive is when James Bradberry intercepted and returned 27 yards for a touchdown. However, without it, the Eagles would have lost the game.
Brandon Graham stated, “We should have kept that 17-point lead. But, at the end of the day, like Coach said, when you mess stuff up on the details, that’s when stuff starts slipping away.”
The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday, September 19. Kick-off will begin at 8:30 PM.