3 Takeaways from Eagles’ Week 11 Win vs. Colts
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The Philadelphia Eagles got back in the win column on Sunday, though it was a much tougher game than many might have anticipated. The Indianapolis Colts gave Philly a fight, as the Eagles narrowly escaped with a 17-16 victory.
The Colts have shown a lot of life under new interim coach Jeff Saturday, and the Eagles may have still been reeling from last week’s surprising loss to the Washington Commanders. The result was an early Colts lead and an afternoon of Philadelphia playing catch-up.
The Eagles did pull out the win, though, thanks to a marvelous fourth quarter from quarterback Jalen Hurts. The victory moves Philadelphia to 9-1 on the season and makes the Eagles a near-lock to reach the postseason.
Philadelphia maintains a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants in the NFC East, though it’s clear that the Eagles will get everyone’s best shot down the stretch. That will start next Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.
Here are our three biggest takeaways from the Eagles’ Week 11 win over the Colts.
The Run Defense Shows Life, Must Continue Improving
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All season, the Eagles’ only glaring weakness has been a shaky run defense. In the five games leading up to Sunday, Philly surrendered at least 124 rushing yards, though it largely escaped with victories.
The run defense became a palpable problem last week, however, as the Commanders rushed for 152 and went on to win by 11. That was the Eagles’ first loss of the season.
Unsurprisingly, the Colts and star running back Jonathan Taylor tried to take a similar ground-first approach on Sunday. It looked like it would work on the game’s opening drive. Taylor carried six times, while Matt Ryan converted a third down on a sneak before Taylor plunged into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
The good news is that the Eagles defense tightened up against the run after that. Taylor logged 49 yards on that drive but finished the game with only 84 yards. As a team, the Colts ran for just 99 yards and 3.8 yards per carry.
This was a marked improvement for the Philadelphia defense, but the Eagles must continue focusing on stopping the run. Their next five opponents—the Packers, Tennessee Titans, Giants, Bears and Cowboys—can run the ball well and can give the Eagles fits if the ground defense doesn’t hold.
Sunday was a step in the right direction, but the defense still got off to a slow start. The defense must be stout for all four quarters moving forward.
The Offense Needs Dallas Goedert Back as Soon as Possible
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The Eagles offense sorely missed tight end Dallas Goedert on Sunday. The prolific pass-catcher suffered a shoulder injury against Washington and landed on injured reserve. With Goedert out of the lineup, the offense stalled early.
The Eagles put up a mere three points through the first three quarters and struggled mightily in the first half. Through two quarters, the Eagles were 3-of-7 on third down, logged just 105 passing yards and saw two drives stall in Colts territory.
Goedert, who has 43 receptions and 544 yards this season, has become one of Hurts’ most trusted targets. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are tremendous talents, but the Eagles will need their top tight end in the postseason.
The good news is that Goedert is expected back before then.
“Goedert, who was placed on injured reserve this past week with a shoulder injury, is expected to return during the regular season, league sources told ESPN,’ ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote on Sunday.
Because he went on IR, Goedert will have to miss at least three more games before he can return. Ideally, he’ll be ready at the end of the window and will be in the lineup when Philadelphia faces the Bears on December 15.
Eagles Will Have to Pony Up for Hurts Sooner Than Later
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If not for the late-game explosion by Hurts, the Eagles would have lost this game. The 24-year-old engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, capping one with a 22-yard touchdown strike to Quez Watkins and the other with a seven-yard touchdown run.
While Hurts did have two turnovers in the game, he finished 18-of-25 for 190 yards with 86 rushing yards to boot.
Hurts continues to show that he can put the offense on his back in clutch situations. He’s emerged as an efficient passer (106.5 QB rating) and perhaps the game’s biggest dual-threat quarterback—though a case can certainly be made for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Through 10 games, Hurts has thrown for 2,407 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 440 and eight scores.
There should be little doubt that Hurts can be Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback. That means that the Eagles are going to have to pay him, and soon. Hurts will be extension-eligible after this season, and it would behoove the Eagles to get a deal done quickly.
Jackson is an impending free agent and will likely get a new contract in the offseason. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa will also be extension-eligible and could see new deals in the coming months. This is relevant because of the next-man-up mentality of contract negotiations.
Each quarterback will likely look to top the previous quarterback extension, which means extending Hurts before guys like Burrow and Herbert get paid could potentially save the Eagles millions.
Obviously, reaching the postseason is the Eagles’ biggest goal right now. However, they have a chance to enjoy sustained success with Hurts under center. Locking up the quarterback will be a priority soon enough.