PHILADELPHIA – GOAT or no GOAT, the Green Bay Packers couldn’t match up with the now 10-1 Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
There were hiccups for Philadelphia during a 40-33 win and the occasional reminder that Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers but the struggling Packers’ defense was completely overwhelmed by a dominant Eagles running attack that amassed 363 yards rushing, including a career-highs from Jalen Hurts (157) and Miles Sanders (143).
“It is a lovely feeling. I am not going to lie,” Sanders said of getting the running game going. “To beat a good team like that as well with the run game means a lot, too. It shows how much hard work we do each week.
“I have to give credit not just to the O-line but Coach Stout (Eagles Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland) because he loves running the ball, too, and he has all the confidence in the O-line and running backs especially. That is what we feed off of.”
THE RUNNING GAME: It was like Packers defensive coordinator Jon Barry had never seen film of Hurts, who started 0-for-2 throwing on the night but quickly made up for it with a 24-yard run on the first third down. Five plays later it was 28 yards. The QB’s longest run was 42 yards en route to a career-high 157 yards, a franchise record for QBs and just 21 shy of Justin Fields’ NFL record.
Overall, the Eagles’ offense ran for 363 yards, 14 short of a team record set in 1948.
Sanders joined Hurts in the century club with his own career-high of 143 yards on 21 carries. He also reached career-highs in total yardage for a season with 900 and eight TDs rushing on the campaign.
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GOAT BALLS – Darius Slay joked during the week that he had intercepted Tom Brady and Drew Brees during his career and needed one more GOAT ball from Rodgers. Slay didn’t get it but came awfully close, deflecting a pass that Josiah Scott did pick off.
A second GOAT ball was then served up to undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship, who was in the game after Chauncey Gardner-Johnson left with a rib injury.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE – Nick Sirianni gives a game ball to the entire offensive line when the Eagles run for 200 or more. Make it a super game ball I guess or give Barry one as well.
KICKOFF RETURN COVERAGE – Keisean Nixon returned five for 172 yards, including a 53-yarder and a 52-yarder. The Eagles’ kickoff coverage isn’t the Green Bay run support but it isn’t far off either to the point people have to be questioning special teams coordinator Michael Clay pretty consistently.
A.J. BROWN BALL SECURITY – The Eagles’ star WR was too lax with the football again and old field Rudy Ford stripped him. Philadelphia turned it over only three times in its first eight games but has since given it away seven times over the past three games.
PASSING GAME – Philadelphia made some plays but it’s pretty clear that from a consistency standpoint the passing offense simply hasn’t been there since Dallas Goedert went down with his shoulder injury. Hurts did pass for two TDs – to Brown and Quez Watkins – but it’s clear run first is the way to go at least until Goedert does return.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Football 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen