Eagles Analysis: Ten takeaways from Week 5 vs. Saints


Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles absolutely destroyed the New Orleans Saints yesterday, winning 39-17 and it could have been even more. That second half was so much fun to watch, the Eagles were just very good all around. It was the best performance by the Eagles this season by a distance. Lets hope for more of that next week against the Giants. Here are my main takeaways from yesterday:

1) The offensive line was great 

We’ll get to the running game specifically later but the offensive line were superb pretty much all game. They opened up some huge holes in the running game and gave Bradford a clean pocket consistently. I don’t know how much of that is because the Saints have a terrible defense but I’m hoping that the offensive line turned a corner yesterday. It’s hard to point to individuals without seeing the all22 but it looked like Jason Kelce and Jason Peters had great games. If they play that well for the majority of the season, Eagles could go far this year.

2) Sam Bradford is still confusing me 

Who knows what to think about Bradford? Bradford moved the offense up and down the field all game and had his way with a bad Saints defense. For the most part he made good decisions and got the ball out quickly and led a number of scoring drives. But the two interceptions were just brutal, the first one was a bad decision and an awful throw. The second one was just an awful throw that shouldn’t happen, especially as his ball placement was so perfect in preseason. He can’t keep doing that, let’s hope he keeps growing in confidence and eliminates those mistakes.

3) Fletcher Cox is a monster 

Honestly, how good was Cox today? He was just outrageous, 3-4 defensive ends aren’t supposed to take over games like that unless they are called JJ Watt. 6 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Unbelievable. He was dominant against the run all game too. The athleticism he showed to get up that quick and recover the fumble after he sacked Brees and forced the fumble was remarkable for a man his size. Pay the man Chip, I want this guy here until he retires.

4) Malcolm Jenkins is a stud 

I didn’t like the Malcolm Jenkins signing two years ago because he missed a lot of tackles and that bothered me. I was so wrong, he’s one of my favorite Eagles already without a doubt. I don’t know how, but his tackling technique is absolutely flawless right now. He seems to blow up so many short passes by powering through his block and making a brilliant tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He is turning into one of the best safetys in the league without a doubt. I thought last year down the stretch he regressed a little last year but he’s showed no signs of regression this year, he’s been awesome.

5) Eagles were aggressive when winning 

I’ve been calling for this for ages. When the Eagles were winning, they didn’t slow the tempo down much and play ultra conservative. That approach doesn’t suit this team. They were aggressive because they knew they were better than the Saints and they were rewarded for their aggression with 39 points. Hopefully the Eagles continue to play aggressive when they are winning games in the future and this wasn’t just a one off.

6) The running game was excellent  

As I mentioned earlier on, the offensive line opened up huge holes in the running game and both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews took advantage. I don’t think Murray looked fully healthy because he wasn’t moving well on some carries. He did show some juice on other carries though so who knows, I’m not concerned with him at all right now. Rather than debate who should get more carries out of Murray and Mathews, let’s just be happy that we have them both Eagles fans. Having both of them will hopefully keep them both fresh throughout the season.

7) Defense continues to impress 

I’ve already mentioned both Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins but there are other players who deserve a mention because this was a great defensive performance. Bennie Logan looked great as he always does. Jordan Hicks made a couple of great plays, what a steal he was in the third round. Walter Thurmond had another interception, taking his total to 3 on the season. Lastly, he gets a lot of criticism because he isn’t very good anymore but it was nice to see DeMeco Ryans force a fumble out there.

8) Nice to see Josh Huff step up 

I’ve never been Josh Huff’s biggest fan, I never predicted him to breakout and he still might not. However, I was really impressed with him today. He really is a receiver built like a running back, this is not a knock of Nelson Agholor but Huff looks twice the size. The Eagles need to continue to get the ball in his hands and let him run with it. He isn’t really a deep threat but he can certainly get yards if you get the ball in his hands.

9) Good to see two tight end sets more

I’ve wanted to see more of Zach Ertz and Brent Celek on the field together for a while and we got to see that today. I don’t know how much we ran two tight end sets but it was definitely more than normal. Zach Ertz is just really good, his stats might not be great but he will breakout one day. He’s too talented to not breakout at some point. I thought both Ertz and Celek blocked well too and it was good to see Celek catch a touchdown again.

10) Eagles are in a good situation in the NFC East 

Last week I said the season isn’t over. This week the playoff dream is well and truly alive! The Eagles, Redskins and Cowboys are all now 2-3. The Giants are 3-2 but they only just beat a bad 49ers team at home because of a great final drive. The Eagles play the Giants at home next week in a huge game. If the Eagles win next week, they will definitely be the favorites for the NFC East. I’m excited for next week already, let’s hope the Eagles we saw today weren’t a one off.

Next: Eagles-Saints Recap: Cox Feasts, Philly Dominates

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