Takeaways learned from Eagles first win as the focus shifts to the Minnesota Vikings

The Eagles' 25-20 victory over the Patriots provided a few areas of opportunity, areas we'd like to see fixed by Thursday's home opener.
Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles left Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts with a 25-20 season-opening win over the New England Patriots. It was a mixed bag and an up-and-down performance, but a win is a win. There were several bright spots, but unfortunately, there are also some injuries to report. James Bradberry and Nakobe Dean will both miss Week 2's game.

Lessons were learned. Adjustments have to be made, but before we move on to a quick turnaround and Philly hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football this week, let's recap some of the biggest lessons learned from Week 1's game that should be carried over into week two.

The Eagles defense came up with key takeaways.

Usually, two or three key plays can decide the difference between winning and losing a close game. Luckily for the Eagles, they won the turnover battle on Sunday.

In the first quarter, while enjoying a 3-0 lead, cornerback Darius Slay picked off a deflected pass and took it 70 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

On New England’s very next offensive snap, defensive tackle Jordan Davis forced an Ezekiel Elliott fumble, which was recovered by linebacker Zach Cunningham. This play set the Eagles up for their second touchdown of the game.

The Eagles went up 16-0 after the back-to-back takeaway sequence. This proved to be the difference in the game as even when New England got momentum, they were never able to take a lead.

Kicker Jake Elliot deserves an immense amount of credit.

Despite the Eagles’ special teams’ woes over the last couple of seasons, kicker Jake Elliott has been reliably consistent. On Sunday, he showed off his value even more.

In a rainy and sloppy game, he went four of four on field goal attempts. They were not easy attempts either as he connected from 48, 51, and 56 yards. He also made a 32-yarder on the opening drive and went one of two on extra-point attempts.

His performance makes him worthy of winning an NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor. We'll see if that happens.

It was great to see him help bail out the Eagles on multiple drives that sputtered. It could have been a completely different outcome with even one or two missed field goals.

The offense needs work, but it’s early in the season. They will improve.

Fans may be worried about the lack of production on offense, but it's only the first game of the year. Head coach Nick Sirianni hardly played the starters throughout the preseason, so there were some growing pains expected especially with new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. Not only were the offensive starters a bit rusty, they had to play in rainy conditions affecting the game plan.

On Sunday, Philly’s offense lacked the efficiency and big plays that fans were accustomed to much of last season. Hurts went 22 of 33 passing the ball for 170 yards and one touchdown pass. He also had what could have been a costly fumble towards the end of the fourth quarter as the Eagles were trying to close out the game.

As for the running game, it was not a running back-by-committee approach that was expected. Kenneth Gainwell was given 14 of 16 carries by a running back. The result was 54 yards rushing. Boston Scott and D’Andre Swift were given a carry a piece and both gained three yards each. Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch.

Yeah... We like Gainwell and all, but he can't lead the Eagles in offensive touches.

Thankfully, the defense and special teams helped elevate a sluggish performance by the offense. Give the Eagles credit for getting it done in a harsh environment on the road against an improved Bill Belichick-led Patriots team, but improvements have to be made as they prepare to host an angry Vikings squad that lost its first game at home.

If the Birds make a few adjustments and tweaks, they should win this game. They are the better team.

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