Don’t listen to the haters. “Ugly wins” are better than “beautiful losses,” and the Philadelphia Eagles are 9-1. In a frustrating nailbiter, they came away with a 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts, gaining games on the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
Let’s look at the best and worst performers of week 11. AKA: The hungry dog and Bird in the Doghouse. I’ll also predict the best and worst performers in the Eagles’ upcoming matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
Week 11 – Hungry Dog, Eagles @ Colts
I completely understand the frustration of a Jonathan Gannon defensive scheme, but he’s one of my picks for the hungry dog this week. On the Colts’ first offensive drive, it appeared there could be some truth to the “blueprint argument.”
Matt Ryan and the offense would engineer a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took up a little over 5 minutes. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 48 yards on that drive alone.
- Gannon didn’t panic after that drive, and the Colts offense wouldn’t engineer a drive over 5 minutes for the rest of the game.
- They scored only 3 points in the 2nd quarter and 6 points in the second half.
- The Eagles’ new defensive tackles, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, made a difference in the run defense and pass rush, and Jonathan Taylor would only rush for 36 yards after the game’s first drive.
- Matt Ryan was pressured more in the second half, showing Gannon’s adjustments. He didn’t have a touchdown pass and was held to a 53.2 QBR.
The Eagles’ defense hung in there despite a stagnant offense and sealed the win with a crucial stop after the Eagles scored the game-winning touchdown.
Jalen Hurts deserves to share the hungry dog award. He never gives up in the face of adversity, and today he put the team on his back to seal the comeback victory.
- Down 13-3 to begin the 4th quarter, Hurts led a quick 5-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that took only 2 minutes.
- He scrambled for 25 yards on this drive and threw a perfect strike to Quez Watkins for a 22-yard touchdown to bring the Eagles within 3.
It felt like the Eagles weren’t going to complete the comeback once AJ Brown fumbled on a first-down completion in Indianapolis territory.
- The defense managed to hold the Colts to a field goal, and Hurts took over again.
- On a key 3rd and 2 in their territory, Hurts threw a ball deep to Miles Sanders.
- Zaire Franklin tackled Sanders too early, resulting in pass interference to Colts’ 28.
- Hurts converted a key 4th and two from the Indianapolis 9 and rushed for a 7-yard touchdown on 3rd and goal, giving the Eagles the lead.
This comeback was a great test of his leadership and character. He ended the day with 86 rushing yards in total.
Week 11 – Bird In The Doghouse, Eagles @ Colts
Shane Steichen, what on earth were you doing today on offense?
Where was the creativity? Steichen is my bird in the doghouse this week. The Eagles’ offense looked lost, the play-calling was terrible, and they scored their lowest point total of the season. There was a lack of aggression, and he called plays as if he feared the Colts’ defense.
It can be argued that he tries to force the offense through AJ Brown a little too much. What was also with the multiple rushing attempts to Boston Scott late in the game? The clock management was also a factor, as the Eagles refused to wait until the 2-minute warning to run a play, and Scott going out of bounds gave the Colts too much time after the go-ahead touchdown.
Those mistakes could have cost the Eagles the game. Steichen’s seat will get warmer if the Eagles’ offense doesn’t come alive against the Packers next week.
Nick Sirianni also deserves a mention, as the team was incredibly disciplined early on.
- The Eagles were heavily penalized on their first two drives for nearly 50 yards.
- They made it into Colts territory on both but didn’t score due to multiple holding penalties, one ineligible downfield pass penalty, and one offensive pass interference penalty.
- No question the Eagles put at least 10 points on the board early if these penalties don’t happen.
Week 12 – Hungry Dog Prediction, Packers @ Eagles
The Green Bay Packers are bottom 7 in the league offensively. They’ve had a rough go of it, only scoring 18 points per game and 222 passing yards per game with Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback is nothing to write home about.
Despite having studs at running back in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, they’re a middle-of-the-pack rushing team, as they do not consistently commit to the running game. Aaron Rodgers’s season isn’t up to his usual standard, with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions through 11 games.
My hungry dog prediction is the Eagles’ defense.
- They’ll build off their performance in Indianapolis, and Suh and Joseph will be more settled in.
- They are capable of holding Aaron Jones to less than 100 rushing yards.
- The Packers have talent at wide receiver and tight end, but no one truly dominating that gives a consistent “100 yards per game” performance.
- Blitz, Gannon! This isn’t the same Rodgers!
Week 12 – Bird In The Doghouse Prediction, Packers @ Eagles
My bird in the doghouse prediction is Shane Steichen. He has to prove himself. The Eagles have had two straight games of offensive ineptitude, turning the ball over uncharacteristically, and haven’t committed to the run consistently.
- The Eagles offense will be facing a Green Bay Packers defense that allows 20 points per game in 11 games played and allows less than 200 passing yards per game.
- Their weakness is their run defense which allows 135 yards a game, and if Steichen doesn’t exploit that, we could see a lot of quick Eagles drives that end in disaster.
- This offense has to get back to the unit that can score at will, and a great offensive game would put fans and media at ease.
How Did I Do?
Who would be your hungry dog and bird in the doghouse picks for the Eagles’ game against the Colts?
Who would you pick going into the week 12 matchup against the Packers?