Yes, the Eagles blew the lead and almost lost. Yes, there have been a lot of struggles this year. But the Eagles are 4-1 and are winning with a lot of backups in. This game showed a lot about the Eagles’ style of winning: It doesn’t matter how, just get the win. Here are ten important things to takeaway from the game on Sunday:
1. The special teams is for real
They now have a blocked punt return for a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Chris Maragos, a guy who the Eagles signed specifically for special teams in the offseason, had the TD return against the Rams. Trey Burton was in on the block too, a guy that was one of the bigger surprises to make the roster. Darren Sproles is also a crazy good returner still. The Eagles’ special teams hasn’t been this scary in a while.
2. The return of Lane Johnson definitely helped
It may not have seemed like it, but Johnson’s return helped the run game a lot. LeSean McCoy finished with 81 rushing yards, a season high. Sproles also had 51 yards on just seven carries. His run-blocking was a big part of the offense’s production on the ground and will continue to be that way.
3. Nick Foles needs to listen to Aaron Rodgers: relax
Some of his passes are heart attack-inducing, which was something I thought the Eagles got away from when they dropped Michael Vick. He’s not always getting the greatest blocking, but he needs to relax and throw it away if it’s not there, not chuck it into triple coverage. He has too many turnovers already.
4. The offensive line is still struggling overall
David Molk and Matt Tobin are not starting-caliber offensive lineman. They’re clearly struggling, and having them right next to each other in the middle of the line is bad. They’re running a bit better, but they need to improve. Or maybe bring in Wade Smith.
5. Jeremy Maclin is a WR1
I can’t even count the amount of times I heard people say Maclin was no better than a second WR and that the passing game would struggle without DeSean Jackson. Well, Maclin is 7th in the league in receiving yards and has 4 TDs. He’s a serious threat to defenses and hasn’t been credited enough for his contributions.
6. Cody Parkey has been very important
For those that didn’t hear, Alex Henery, the current (but maybe not for long) kicker of the Lions, missed all three of his field goals on Sunday, including a game-winning one. That could’ve been the Eagles. Parkey is 10/11 in field goals and has made all 18 of his extra points, tied for second in the league. Every field goal counts, especially considering he made both of his field goals Sunday and the Eagles won by 6.
7. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are bad
It wasn’t really a secret that both of these guys have been struggling recently. Last year it was the safeties that couldn’t play football for their lives, but this year it’s the corners. They let Brian Quick rack up 87 yards and two touchdowns…no offense to him, but he’s not exactly the best player in the league. I’m worried what’ll happen when they face Victor Cruz next week or Larry Fitzgerald after the bye week. Something needs to change here.
8. Missing Mychal Kendricks was a big loss
Casey Matthews is the worst player on the roster, and no Kendricks essentially means Matthews has to play a lot. That’s not good. Kendricks is one of the best players on this defense and is a leader already. He’s questionable for next week, but missing him for another game would be a huge loss
9. Eagles are in serious trouble if DeMeco Ryans is out
To make matters worse, Ryans got hurt and didn’t return to the game. Missing both starting ILBs would be a terrible loss to the team, allowing teams to run all over them. It would also mean Matthews and Emmanuel Acho would be the starting inside guys. I’m shivering just thinking of that possibility.
10. Eagles are tied for the best record in the NFL
Yes, the wins have been ugly, but everyone needs to calm down a bit. Having four wins already, and with the injuries and struggles they have, is going to be huge. If they were to go into their bye week with a 5-1 record, I couldn’t be happier. This team is not even close to their potential.