One team in Sunday night’s matchup was considered a no-doubt NFC contender. A star-filled defense. Devastating running game. An MVP candidate at quarterback.
The Packers are having a miserable season and it got worse when the Eagles did whatever they wanted. The Eagles’ offense was fantastic in an impressive 40-33 win on Sunday night. Even worse than the loss for the Packers, which dropped them to 4-8 this season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers came out of the game in the fourth quarter due to an injury that Rodgers said was to his ribs. Considering he left the game when it was still competitive, his status for next week has to be in question.
The Eagles are 10-1 this season, but had a loss and a near-miss in their previous two games before Sunday night. Against the Packers, the Eagles again looked like a Super Bowl contender, at least on offense. They had 363 rushing yards, their most in a game since 1948.
Maybe that’s just a reflection of the Packers defense.
Eagles offense has a great night
The Packers’ defense was supposed to be good this season. How often over the offseason did you hear the term “loaded” in regards to Green Bay’s defense?
That group has been mediocre most of the season and it was simply bad on Sunday night. Before the third quarter was halfway over the Eagles had two 100-yard rushers. Jalen Hurts had 130 and Miles Sanders 116 with 7:19 left in the third quarter. The Eagles had 34 points by then.
The Eagles didn’t need to be fancy. After two incomplete passes to start the game, the Eagles ran the ball on 16 of their next 17 plays. Green Bay couldn’t do much to stop it. Hurts had a monster first half.
Rodgers helped keep the Packers in the game. He had nice touchdown passes to Randall Cobb and Aaron Jones. After a horrible start and a 13-0 hole, the Packers held a 14-13 lead. The Packers’ defense was bad, but the Eagles’ defense didn’t cover itself in glory either.
Rodgers was playing hurt. He has disclosed that he has a fracture in his right thumb. During the game, NBC’s broadcast focused on him grabbing his side and the Packers’ athletic training staff looking at the injury. He winced after throws in the second half.
Late in the third quarter the Packers had a drive that was heavy on runs and ended with a field goal, and Rodgers went in the locker room to get X-rays. Jordan Love took over at quarterback on the Packers’ next possession.
The game looked like it was over, but Love and rookie receiver Christian Watson kept it alive.
Eagles get a key 4th quarter drive
On Love’s first possession, Watson caught a pass on a crossing route and used his speed to beat the defense down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown. The Packers didn’t have Rodgers and their defense was struggling badly, but the Eagles’ lead was just 37-30 after Watson’s touchdown.
The Packers needed a stop, and then maybe Love could pull off a comeback that would go down in Packers’ lore. The Eagles put together a long drive that was a statement from their offense. They kept running the ball and getting first downs, taking almost seven minutes off the clock. Jake Elliott kicked a 54-yard field goal — a risky call because a miss would have given the Packers good field position down seven points — with 2:16 left. It was mostly over then.
The Packers got a field goal in the final two minutes but an onside kick was unsuccessful and the Eagles got the first down they needed to kill the clock.
The Eagles can feel good that the offense, and Hurts in particular, looked excellent Sunday night. Philadelphia had 490 yards. There are still things to work on defensively. But it could be much, much worse for the Eagles. They could be the reeling Packers.