Wed, 01 Feb 2023

Spadaro: 6 takeaways from a dominating TEAM win over the Titans

Philadelphia Eagles
05 Dec 2022, 18:12 GMT+10

Dave Spadaro

If it wasn't obvious through 11 games that the Eagles have an offense that can devastate a defense in a multitude of ways, it certainly was after Sunday afternoon when Philadelphia delivered a powerful message to any doubters with a knockout performance in a 35-10 win over the Tennessee Titans. One week after rushing for 363 yards in a victory, quarterback Jalen Hurts threw three touchdown passes and completed 29 of 39 passes for 380 yards - and rushed for another score - as the offense tore apart a strong and physical Tennessee defense at Lincoln Financial Field.

"We can attack you in a number of different ways," wide receiver DeVonta Smith said after he caught 5 passes for 102 yards and got things rolling by capping the game's opening drive with a 34-yard catch-and-get-into-the-end-zone play. "What we did last week and what we did today - two different ways of beating you. That's just us. When we're putting it all together, it is tough to stop us."

There was a whole lot more to the blowout win over Tennessee than just the offense - the defense clamped down on running back Derrick Henry, who had 11 carries for 30 yards, with a long gain of 6 yards; sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill six times; and limited the Titans to 209 total net yards. Special teams won the battle of field position with good kickoff coverage and a productive punt return game with Britain Covey averaging 17.5 yards per return.

But for this space, and this moment, let's discuss the offense and its myriad ways to attack and win.

"How do you want to play us," running back Miles Sanders said. "Fine, we can attack other areas. We aren't going to lay back and let a defense dictate to us. It starts with a great offensive line and it continues through. We are competitive. We push each other. Today, our passing game was on point throughout. When you have a quarterback like Jalen, you think you can do pretty much anything."

They did pretty much everything on Sunday, destroying Tennessee's 31st-ranked (coming into the game) pass defense. With 391 passing yards (Gardner Minshew completed a pass for 19 yards in the fourth quarter), the Eagles became the first team since the 1987 Los Angeles Raiders to throw for 350-plus yards one week after rushing for 350-plus yards.

THAT'S how outrageously good this offense can be when it is not stunting drives with penalties and giveaways.

"I honestly think there is a lot more we can do," tight end Jack Stoll said after contributing 3 receptions for 41 yards. He and tight end Grant Calcaterra combined for 4 receptions and 60 yards on Sunday as the Eagle continue without star tight end Dallas Goedert. "We had too many penalties today, for example. We had some plays that we just couldn't finish. Overall, good day and a big win. It feels great. But we know we have a lot more room to grow."

It was just one of those days for the 11-1 Eagles, who continue to set the pace with the best record in the NFL: The offense went up and down the field, the defense played physical football to stuff Henry and rattle quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the special teams unit was outstanding.

"It takes that kind of total team performance to win these kinds of games," said defensive end Josh Sweat, who had a pair of quarterback sacks. "It was a lot of fun out there. I think we showed a little bit of what we can be all about when we're clicking. But we have a long way to go. We have a lot of improvement to do. That's what makes this so fun.

Some of what stood out? Let's take a look ...

1. Hurts averaged 9 yards per pass attempt, a huge number. The Eagles did it all in the passing game - short stuff to the backs (Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott combined for 6 receptions), inside routes to the tight ends, and everything possible to get the ball to A.J. Brown (8 catches, 119 yards, 2 TDs) and Smith. Tennessee couldn't handle what the passing game and Hurts in the pocket brought to the table.

2. The defense stomped all over the Titans with a vicious pass rush and some outstanding point-of-attack power against Henry and a Tennessee running game that was the bread and butter of the Titans' offense. All week the Eagles' defensive players heard how physical the Titans were and about how it would be a challenge for the Eagles to match Tennessee.

"That bothers you a little bit," linebacker Haason Reddick said after he recorded a sack and 4 quarterbacks hits. "We're physical. We're 11-1. We're coming after you. That's what we wanted to do today. We went after the Titans. We didn't let them breathe. We swarmed them."

3. The offensive line manhandled Tennessee's vaunted defensive front, as you figured the best line in the NFL would do. It was a clinic. The Titans never had a chance. They rarely got near Hurts and the downfield passing attack was a decisive Eagles victory. No shockers. Teams find out the hard way when they go up against the Eagles' offensive line.

4. Brown and Smith showed just how difficult they are as a pair to cover. Hurts gave both receivers chances to make plays and they delivered.

"It's tough to have answers against us," Smith said. "We have a lot of pieces here. Pick your poison."

5. Look at the touchdown drives the Eagles put together - 7 plays, 75 yards to open the game; 7 plays 85 yards (100 yards with penalties included) to take a 14-7 lead; 7 plays, 51 yards (in 51 seconds) at the end of the first half to go up 21-10; and, finally, 16 plays and 68 yards to score a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and send the starters to the sidelines.

6. The red zone was huge, as it turned out. The Eagles held the Titans to zero touchdowns in two trips to the red zone and the Eagles put the ball in the end zone both times they were inside the Tennessee 20-yard line.

It was dominating in every, single way. The beat continues. Next week: At the Giants, the first of three straight road games.

"I am loving that we finally put together a complete team win from special teams, to defense, to offense; even though offense started fast and stalled a little bit," defensive end Brandon Graham said after he had one of the six Eagles quarterback sacks. "I feel like we stayed in there and gave them their energy back. It was a good win today and now we've got more to get to. A lot of season ahead. We have to keep winning."

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