Eagles rushing attack shines, other takeaways from win versus Packers

Miles Sanders #26, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Miles Sanders #26, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Green Bay Packers 40-33 on Sunday Night Football. It was a night in which Jalen Hurts and the running game shined. The dominating win improves Philly’s record to 10-1, which remains the best in the NFL.

The team and fans can enjoy the win, but the Eagles need to prepare for another tough football team next week, the Tennessee Titans. Before the rest of us move on as well, let’s take another look at Week 12’s performance and highlight a handful of things that stood out from the game.

1. The Eagles ran their way to victory.

The Philadelphia Eagles are at their best when they run the football. This was evident on Sunday night. In total, they rushed the ball 49 times for 363 yards (7.4 yards per carry). That was their highest single-game total since 1948.

Dual-threat quarterback, Jalen Hurts, led the way with 157 rushing yards. Running back Miles Sanders notched 21 carries for 143 yards rushing plus two touchdowns. Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott also got some touches.

Philadelphia’s running game has been effective most of the year. They moved to fourth in the league in rushing yards (1,788). Miles Sanders has 900 yards on the season and should easily break 1,000 for the first time in his career. He did not have a single rushing touchdown in 2021 but has eight this year. In addition, Jalen Hurts is at nearly 600 rushing yards in 2022 and has a chance to eclipse his 784 rushing yard number from a year ago.

2. Interceptions were the key to beating Aaron Rodgers.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was having a down year entering the game. He has played with a broken thumb recently and has struggled to build rapport with his new wide receivers. Nevertheless, he moved the ball effectively versus the Eagles, especially in the first half. Despite the Packers facing an early 13-0 deficit, Rodgers kept his team alive.

The Eagles had a few answers. They added two takeaways to their season total. On Green Bay’s first drive of the game, a third and four pass by Rodgers was tipped and intercepted by Josiah Scott. This set up a short field for the Eagles to get an early two-score advantage.

The Eagles were hanging onto a 20-14 lead in the second quarter when Aaron Rodgers led the Packers into Eagles territory. On a first and ten, safety Reed Blankenship read Rodgers’ pass to record his first career interception. Blankenship was filling on for C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who left the game with a rib injury.

3. The Eagles’ defense was not as bad as it seemed.

The Green Bay Packers finished the game with 33 points. Usually, that’s a cause for concern; however, Philadelphia’s defense was forced into short fields due to turnovers and special teams errors. Still, from the perspective of yards given up, the Eagles did ok.

Aaron Rodgers completed 11 of 16 passes for 140 yards. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. Backup Jordan Love came in later in the game after Rodgers exited with an injury of his own, and he played well.

Love finished 6/9 for 113 yards and a touchdown. Combining the two passers’ numbers show that Philadelphia allowed 236 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Eagles also gave up 106 yards on the ground, including a rushing touchdown.

Ignore the Packers’ three big returns, the A.J. Brown fumble, and the Eagles’ failure to convert a fourth and one attempt in their own territory, and the Packers probably wouldn’t have scored 33 points. We know that’s impossible to ignore, but it should provide perspective. Overall, the Eagles defense played well despite facing short fields multiple times.

4. The special teams unit continues to let the team down

Aside from kicker Jake Elliott, there isn’t much to love about Philly’s special teams unit. They have been lackluster in 2022. They allowed several big kickoff returns on Sunday Night. After opening the game with a 13-0 lead, the Eagles’ special teams allowed a 38-yard kickoff return. This created a short field where Green Bay needed just four plays to get on the board.

During the opening kickoff in the third quarter, the Eagles allowed a 52-yard return. Fortunately, the defense forced a three-and-out, but there were more issues late. Late in the fourth quarter, as the Eagles were trying to put the game away, they allowed another 53-yard kickoff return. Credit the defense for forcing the Packers into a field goal. Otherwise, this one could have been very stressful late in the fourth.

Overall, Philadelphia allowed five kickoff returns for 172 yards and an average of 34.4 yards per return. That isn’t going to cut it. This has to be addressed and fixed. Otherwise, this will cost the Birds a win. Hopefully, it won’t be in the postseason.

5. The Eagles’ passing game needs a solution without Dallas Goedert.

Philadelphia was smart to lean on the running game versus the Packers. It worked very effectively, but it surprisingly did not open up the passing game. This could be a result of tight end Dallas Goedert’s absence.

Receivers are not getting open and are not getting the yards after the catch. DeVonta Smith led the Eagles’ receivers with 50 yards.

Jalen Hurts finished the game with 16 completions on 28 attempts (a 57% completion percentage). That resulted in 153 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t make any critical mistakes in passing the ball but you’d like to see him improve the completion percentage as it’s now low compared to what it was earlier in the year.

The last time he notched 300-yard passing game was in September. Hopefully, the offense can figure it out, but if they can continue to run the ball as they did on Sunday, that will help the air attack.

What was your biggest takeaway from the game? We’d love to know what you’re thinking.

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