Hello all. Your resident pessimistic Eagles fan here (I prefer the term realistic but hey, beggars can’t be choosers). For those who don’t know, the Eagles beat the Texans on Thursday night, so let’s discuss what just went down.
As to save myself from some undo hate, I’ll start off with a positive: the Eagles are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. That’s a pretty cool stat. What else is cool? Jalen Hurts has now extended his franchise best regular season win streak to 11 games. There you go, two major accomplishments in what’s been an impressive start to the Eagles season. And hey, the Eagles beat the Texans on a short week–there’s a lot to be happy about in the Eagles’ camp right now.
Now here’s where I’ll deviate from the naive nature of the Eagles fanbase: this team has not played up to their record. Sure, the team has looked very good, particularly on offense, and has dominated most every game this season. Yet, as was seen in the first half of the Texan’s game, the team has yet to truly play four quarters of good ball.
The First Half Wasn’t an Outlier
In a game most thought would be an Eagles blowout, the teams entered intermission at a 14-14 tie. The league’s last undefeated team couldn’t separate itself from a team with only one win in the first half. How? It’s not like the Texans were outplaying Philadelphia–I’d argue that the Eagles looked like the far superior team despite the score line. So how did the game stay so close for so long?
Truthfully, I think the Eagles just needed a wakeup call, one that’s been brewing for quite some time. Despite playing an inferior Jacksonville team close, letting the Arizona Cardinals stick around, and letting a Cooper Rush-led Cowboys team come back from 17 down, the team has still looked a bit too lax at times. A blowout against the Steelers certainly looked to have righted the ship, but in the first half against the Texans, that looked to be a product of the bye week more than anything.
The Eagles are a very good football team, and they’ve proven that time and time again, but what they’ve also shown is weaknesses, the greatest of which being a habit of playing down to their opponents. While games against the Commanders and Steelers may have shown how dominant the Eagles can be, games against the Jaguars and Texans have proven that the team isn’t always going to dominate games. That’s what separates Philadelphia from teams like the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs at this moment. That’s what, if anything, will keep the Eagles from reaching their full potential.
Yet Still, The Eagles Beat the Texans
Now back to the positives: the Eagles still managed to win the game. Despite the ugly first half, the Eagles beat the Texans by two scores, holding Houston to just three second half points. This is a great sign–although it was just the Texans, the Eagles were able to handedly win a game where they played unlike themselves.
Although this can’t become a habit, it clearly shows the Eagles resolve. When times are tough, they continuously find ways to finish. Being in a dogfight with the Texans isn’t a spot where a supposedly great team should be, but putting the game away with authority certainly is.
With a guy like Hurts at quarterback and a defense which always seems to stiffen at the right time, the Eagles will continue to put teams away in close games. That’s what has separated the Eagles from, outside of Buffalo and Kansas City, the other 29 teams in the league. It’s what has Philadelphia sitting in the NFC’s driver’s seat while a team like Baltimore is fighting for a home playoff game. Despite the Eagles miscues, the team always finds a way to, quoting Nick Sirianni, finish.
The Eagles Keep Marching, But Reflection is Still Necessary
In summary, no, a win is not a win. It’s one of my least favorite phrases in sports. To believe that is to ignore many critical weaknesses, weaknesses which can and will be exposed down the line if not taken care of now. 8-0 is amazing, but an ugly win is not something to be satisfied with–there is much to correct if Philadelphia wants to win a world championship.
I’ll end my rant with this: as fans, we can be happy with our team’s accomplishment, but don’t stop looking through a critical lens. Holding the team to a higher standard is not a bad thing–as fans, we don’t get to play the games, but we can still keep our team honest. Winning is the ultimate goal, but how you win can be the difference between short-term success and a championship.
As for Thursday night’s game, yeah, the Eagles played down to their opponent’s level. We can be happy about the win, but ugly wins can’t become a trend. The ultimate goal is the Lombardi Trophy, and the Eagles have more than enough talent to get there, but it all depends on whether or not the Eagles make the necessary corrections now.
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Hi, Kyle. I know exactly what you mean. I live the Birds but their lack of intensity scares me. Also, their tackling is suspect and the run defense virtually non-existent. Can they get it together? I hope so.
BTW, what do you think about Gannon?
Thanks for your comment Alvirta. I’m unsure if you’ll be able to see this but I’ll respond here anyways because I think it’s a good question. I do think they can get it together, but it will all depend on Jordan Davis’s health. Despite his lack of pass rushing productivity, Davis was hugely important in our ability to stop the run up to this point. His absence was sorely felt last night with guys like Marvin Wilson and Marlon Tuipulotu getting consistently pushed around. As for tackling, I can’t even think of the last time the Eagles have been a truly good tackling team. I can’t guarantee that gets better which is definitely a problem to watch down the line.
Jonathan Gannon is a smart guy, but he gets bit to stuck in his ways at times and it shows in our lack of adjustment. There were too many times last night where, with Pierce running all over us, we had six true guys in the box with four down and two backers. Playing a team without much of a pass threat, there’s no need to commit that much to the big play anyways, so it didn’t make much sense. I think he’s a bright mind and will probably get a bigger opportunity sooner rather than later, but he has to learn to adjust the game plan. That’s what separates him from the great defensive minds currently in the league.
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