FULL BOX SCORE
1- Dallas Goedert might not be exceptional, but he’s not far off.
Ever since Rob Gronkowski stepped away from football (the second time), the practically unanimous tight end power rankings have looked something like this: 1. Travis Kelce. 2. Mark Andrews. 3. Everyone else. But there’s a case to be made for considering Goedert slightly below the Kelce-Andrews Line, but above most (if not all) others at the position. Thursday’s eight-catch, 100-yard, one-touchdown effort was not his greatest statistical game in the NFL, but it was essential to the Eagles’ closer-than-expected victory. Goedert has been a screen machine this season, and that was certainly the case in Week 9, as the Eagles seemed to call for that play to that man in multiple high-leverage situations. And he kept delivering. On a relatively uneventful night for both Aside from A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, it was Miles Sanders’ running and the screen game to Goedert that propelled the Eagles forward.
2- Dameon Pierce is an Offensive Rookie of the Year favourite.
With no quarterbacks lighting it up in their first NFL season, and with OROY favourite Breece Hall sidelined for the season, Pierce surely should be at or near the top of your list. Pierce had a terrible game Sunday against the Titans, but he was back on track in a major way, establishing career bests in rushing yards (139) and carries (27). (27). Without wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins playing, the Eagles sought to gang up on Pierce, but he still found ways to outpace and bounce off Eagles would-be tacklers for extra yards after contact. He might not be the most dynamic back in the NFL, and he’s still maturing as a receiver. But there certainly is a bell-cow in Pierce, who has a bright future with the organisation. The Texans got a steal in Round 4, but maybe Pierce would have gone higher had he been allowed more than 100 touches in 13 games at Florida last season. (It could also have kept Dan Mullen his job.)
3- C.J. Gardner-Johnson was the sleeper offseason addition.
Gardner-Johnson didn’t report to the Eagles following his surprise trade from the Saints until Aug. 31, and it was a legitimate question to wonder how long it may take for him to acclimatise to the scheme and his new teammates. The answer: around six weeks. He was fine early for the Eagles, starting and playing virtually every defensive action the first month of the season. But it’s only lately that his significance to this defence has exploded. Gardner-Johnson currently leads the NFL in interceptions with five with his diving pick of Davis Mills on Thursday. He had five interceptions in his first 47 NFL games, and he’s added five more in his last four.Throw in a sack last week against the Steelers, and it wouldn’t be a leap to claim he’s been one of the top Eagles defenders the previous four games.
4- Javon Hargrave has been on a sack binge lately.
On his first sack, Hargrave had to sprint a long way to track down Mills – even if it was Mills, not the fleetest of foot – for a massive third-down stop. No. 2 also came on third down, when he crushed Texans rookie guard Kenyon Green to take down Mills for a loss after the Texans were driving near midfield. The third was a9-yard loss that took the Texans out of the red zone and stopped their momentum while the game technically still still in question. Hargrave did get penalised for a roughing-the-passer call, but it felt questionable at best. The simple truth is that he’s been on a roll of late, getting his vengeance game out of the way last week against the Steelers (who didn’t re-sign him) and hammering Kenny Pickett for good measure. That’s now six sacks this season for Hargrave, with five coming in the previous two games. He’s making a strong midseason push for the Pro Bowl as one of the finest interior penetrators in the game.
5- The Eagles missed Jordan Davis.
If there was a significant problem with the Eagles’ performance Thursday night, it was that the inside run defence was fairly vulnerable. There was a fairly solid reason why the team spent a first-round pick on Davis, a mass of humanity whose influence can’t be quantified by metrics like as tackles (14), tackles for loss (one) or sacks (zero), but by filling up two gaps with his bulk and strength. They got a fairly decent sense how much Davis matters – especially for a man who was averaging 22 snaps a game – on Thursday. The Texans were incredibly shorthanded at receiving, so the Eagles knew they had to run the ball heavily, and yet Houston found success time and time again going inside. Davis’ ankle injury placed him on injured reserve, and the soonest he could return would be Week 13 against the Titans. The Eagles face some really talented backs between now and then, so they had best come up with some different answers during the mini-bye.
Next Gen stat of the game:
When Davis Mills and Chris Moore linked up on a 13-yard score for the Texans, Mills was going 16.04 mph when he delivered the ball–the third-fastest pace by a QB on a TD pass this season.
The Eagles are 8-0 for the first time in team history after a win over the Texans. Jalen Hurts has now won 11 straight regular-season starts.
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