The Philadelphia Eagles secured their third consecutive victory on Sunday, knocking off the defending NFC East champion Washington Redskins by a 24-16 score. The Eagles climbed out to a 24-0 lead, then held off a furious effort by Robert Griffin III and Co. to preserve Philly’s first home win in 14 months.
Chip Kelly has his Birds at 6-5 and in sole possession of first place in the division. The Eagles have a bye week to prepare for a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals that will likely be flexed to Sunday Night Football. Considering the way both the Eagles’ offense and defense are playing, there has to be a good chance Philadelphia comes away victorious, not only in the game but as division champions.
Sunday’s performance was supported largely by another stellar performance by second-year quarterback Nick Foles, who continues to make his case to start in 2014. But Foles was helped by a core group of talented offensive players, a defense that is getting better with every week, and a special teams unit that came up huge when it was most needed. It was a team win, although the following performances really stood out.
The Philadelphia Eagles may have really found a quarterback of the future in Nick Foles. He continues to play outstanding football nearly every week. Foles is tall, accurate, more mobile than one would think, and a tremendous leader. He runs the offense very efficiently, and he’s now 5-1 this year in games in which he’s seen significant action.
Foles’ most impressive attribute is that he doesn’t turn the football over often. While he didn’t throw a touchdown pass Sunday, Foles engineered three impressive scoring drives, leading the Eagles to 24 points. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes, averaged 11.46 yards per attempt, and posted a 104.3 passer rating. He rushed nine times for 47 yards (both career highs) and a touchdown.
Over the last three weeks, Foles is 3-0 as a starter. In every game, he’s completed at least 65 percent of his passes, averaged at least 11 yards per attempt, and posted a 100-plus passer rating. And he didn’t throw any interceptions.
Peyton Manning has never done that. Neither has Tom Brady.
There have been seven instances this season in which a QB has thrown the ball at least 15 times without an interception while averaging 11.5-plus yards per attempt. Foles has three of those occurrences, and he’s made just five starts. The rest of the NFL has done it four times in over 300 opportunities.
And the fact that Foles is running the ball efficiently suggests he can run Kelly’s offense. It’s difficult to envision it being run much better than what Foles is doing right now.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ halfback turned in another spectacular performance, even coming back from what looked like a scary mid-game injury.
LeSean McCoy rushed the ball 20 times for 76 times and two touchdowns. The Eagles are now 15-2 all-time when McCoy rushes the football at least 20 times. McCoy added four receptions for 73 yards out of the backfield, giving him 149 total yards from scrimmage on 24 touches.
McCoy pulled off his usual Barry Sanders plays. He was stopped for big losses twice in a span of three carries at one point, both times losing six yards in an attempt to break a big run. But his impact on the offense can’t be understated. He averaged six yards every time he touched the football, and he has that big-play ability that cannot be taught.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense is the surprise of the season for this team, and defensive coordinator Billy Davis deserves an incredible amount of credit for that.
He came to Philly without much of a resume to support his hire—he had coached as a defensive coordinator for four seasons previously, and his defenses finished 32nd, 26th, 20th and 29th in total defense. And the Eagles gave up an average of 34.5 points in the first four contests.
Since then, the defense has allowed 21 or fewer points for seven straight games. The unit is really clocking, despite its propensity to give up a high total of yards. The game got scary Sunday, as the Washington Redskins scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to make it a close contest.
But don’t forget that the Eagles had pitched a shutout for the first 48 minutes of the game, and a 16-point output from the defense is a win for Davis. Fletcher Cox had some nice plays, Brandon Boykin sealed it with a terrific interception, and the secondary really shut down RG3 for the first three quarters.
Davis has a solid group of young players performing at a high level, notably Cox, Boykin, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton, and Mychal Kendricks.
It’s not often that a punter is even remembered for his performance during a game, and if he is, it may not be for a good reason. But Donnie Jones was absolutely tremendous Sunday, and he came up huge when the Philadelphia Eagles needed him the most.
With the Eagles desperately trying to pin the Washington Redskins deep in their own territory in the fourth quarter, Jones boomed a 70-yard punt that landed four yards from the end zone. That marked the longest punt by an Eagle since Randall Cunningham nailed an 80-yarder in 1994.
Jones’ single-game net punting average of 50.7 is a pretty nice achievement as well.
Donnie Jones' 50.7 net punting average is highest in Eagles history.Sean Landeta averaged 49.0 in a game vs the Seahawks in 2001.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) November 17, 2013