Philadelphia Eagles 23 – Los Angeles Rams 14
Inglewood, Inglewood; always up to no good. In what seemed to be another Philadelphia Eagles home game; the Philadelphia fans, once again, showed up in droves to support their Iggles. Not to be outdone, SoFi stadium was packed to capacity, anxiously anticipating the return of a former SB MVP, Cooper Kupp (8, 118 yards).
The Eagles would take the opening kickoff and go 75 yards on 12 plays; using 6:23 off the clock. The drive was capped off by a Hurts (25/38, 303 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int & 15 carries, 72 yards & 1 rushing TD) to Dallas Goedert (8, 117 yards, 1 TD) touchdown. In what hopefully marks a distinct return to the passing game for the highly touted Tight-End.
The Rams would waste little time in returning the favor as they took their first possession for a touchdown as well. Almost mirroring the Eagles efficiency; the Rams went 75 yards on 14 plays, using 6:36. The drive culminated in a Matthew Stafford (21/37, 222 yards, 2 TD) to Tutu Atwell (2, 9 yards, 1 TD) 3 yard TD catch.
Amassing just 43 combined yards on 15 plays; and taking a little over 6 mins from the clock; the teams would trade punts as the game transitioned from the 1st to 2nd quarter.
In what appeared to be a typical Philadelphia Eagles drive; the Birds would move the ball with ease; gaining 56 yards on 15 plays bleeding 8:24 from the game. However, the Rams defense would step up and force Hurts to find Watkins behind the line of scrimmage, for a loss of -1. In comes Jake Elliott who converts a 34 yard FG.
Much to their credit, the Rams did not panic. Using the defensive momentum of holding the Eagles to a FG; they came right back for a score of their own. Marked by two big plays; a 39 yard catch by Kupp and finished off by a dazzling 22 yard touchdown catch by ROTY front runner Nacua; the Rams regained the lead with only :32 seconds left in the half.
Looking to be in complete control of the game, the Rams kicked off to Philadelphia. What would happen next represents a microcosm of the season so far for both teams. Aided by two huge penalty calls against Kendrick (LAR) and a questionable timeout taken by McVey; the Eagles did what they do best. Setting themselves up for a little “Brotherly Shove” from the 1 yard line as time expired in the first half. Eagles lead 17-14 at recess.
LA would receive the second half kick-off and do absolutely nothing. Marred by sacks, incomplete passes, ineligible receivers, and intentional grounding penalty the Rams punted the ball away.
Philadelphia was hyped and could smell the blood in the water. Skillfully the Eagles effortlessly moved the ball 75 yards on just 6 plays; but on the 7th play, the Rams defense did not rest. Hurts lofted a ball in the direction of AJ Brown (6, 127 yards) where it was intercepted by Witherspoon; crushing any momentum of the Eagles.
Starting with the ball on their own 20, the Rams looked poised to make an impact off of the turnover. However, that would not be the case. After only 5 plays, the Rams would be forced to punt the ball back to Philadelphia; as the chess match between Sirianni and McVey crossed over into the final quarter.
After no scoring in the 3rd quarter; the Eagles would carry over into the fourth quarter a traditional Eagles drive, at least for this season. Unable to punch the ball across the goal line, the Eagles would settle for a 17 play, 83 yards, 8:09 drive resulting in a Jake Elliott 26 yard FG. (3/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs).
The Rams would once again do nothing with their ensuing possession. They were able to gain a mere 17 yards on 6 plays, before punting back to Philadelphia.
Although they were leading 20-14, the Eagles could certainly use points on this drive; in order to make it a two score game. It was one of those times where you looked at the scoreboard and knew that your lead was not safe. Unable to capitalize with a touchdown, the Rams held the Eagles to a Jake Elliott FG from the 8 yard line. 23-14
A slim glimmer of hope resonated through the Rams sideline, as they had just held the high power Eagles offense to another FG. Alas, that spark was quickly extinguished and an empathic boom was laid down on Stafford; as he was sacked twice by Reddick on consecutive downs, giving the ball right back to Philadelphia.
It appears that running out the clock is still a learning process in Philadelphia. Even though LA had its full complement of timeouts; the Eagles were only able to muster 20 yards and run off 1:45 from the clock: handing the ball back to the Rams on downs.
Faced with an impossible task, LA would gain just 31 yards and watch the clock hit 0:00, as the final whistle sounded.
Philadelphia was once again anchored by its stout defensive front. Bringing timely pressure, resulting in 4 big sacks, and holding the Rams rushing attack to a game-low 54 yards on 14 carries and no touchdowns. In contrast, Jalen Hurts rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries for 1 touchdown.
Special Teams, namely Jake Elliott, proved to be as reliable as butter on toast. Coming through with timely kicks when the offense appeared to stutter.
Offensively, the Eagles appeared to get a few more things rolling. The emergence of Dallas Goedert, in the passing game certainly bodes well moving forward. Additionally, Jalen Hurts had his best rushing performance of the early season. In what felt like a designed game-plan, Hurts dual-threat capabilities were tested; he passed with flying colors. More and more, you get the feeling that the Eagles and their coaching staff are “kicking the tires” on a quality automobile. Gauging what they have in front of them, as they fine tune the carburetor that is the Eagles offense.
Next week, the Eagles travel up I-95 to visit the JETS. NYJ is coming off an impressive road win in Denver. Brimming with confidence, the JETS, and Sauce Gardner, will surely test the Eagles passing game. Not to be out done, the JETS front seven will surely give Jason Kelce and the Eagles offensive line plenty to handle as well.
As for now, the Eagles sit atop of the NFC East, undefeated at 5-0. Along with San Francisco, Philadelphia remain the only two unbeaten teams left.