HomeDa Birds NewsObservations from Eagles vs. Bills: Developing Winning Strategies, Jake the Maker, and...

Observations from Eagles vs. Bills: Developing Winning Strategies, Jake the Maker, and Long-Term Success

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PHILADELPHIA

– It’s rare when you see an NFL quarterback put together a “Blutarsky” passing rating (that’s a 0.0 for you non-Animal House fans) deep into the first half and turn that around into perfection at the start of the second half (158.8 by NFL standards) but that’s the roller coaster Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was riding on Sunday afternoon.

Ultimately, the good outweighed the bad and when Hurts ran it in from 12 yards out with 2:37 in overtime the Eagles improved to a league-best 10-1 by downing an explosive Buffalo team 37-34 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philadelphia overcame two 10-point deficits and needed a 59-yard game-tying field goal from Jake Elliott in a driving rain near the end of regulation to even be in a position to steal one in the extra stanza.

But, winning has become a habit in Philadelphia. Head coach Nick Sirianni is only the third mentor in league history to start 10-1 in consecutive seasons, joining Hall of Famers Tony Dungy and Don Shula while Hurts himself has won 14 consecutive games against teams with winning records, the longest such streak since 1950. The Bills, meanwhile, are the 40th team since the 1970 merger to pile up 500 yards, 10 or more third-down conversions (13), and a positive turnover margin in a game (plus one) and the first to lose. There is something special going on in Philadelphia.

“Game in and game out we have been challenged in a number of different ways,” Hurts said. “We always find a way, and that’s something that you can’t really take for granted. ”

“It’s hard to quantify. Obviously, I have had a ton to clean up and I have not executed to the level of my standard. What that [standard] is yet? It seems to be enough. But in terms of the standard that I like to play to consistently and I’d like us to play to consistently. As a team, enough is never enough.”

LAMENTING LANE

In the ultimate team game, you’ll often hear that wins and losses aren’t a quarterback stat. In Philadelphia, they have been a right tackle stat, however.

Sirianni often calls Lane Johnson the best right tackle in the world, and you can add most valuable right tackle to that designation. The Eagles found out they would be without Johnson pre-game and would need to move forward with backup Jack Driscoll.

Johnson awakened Sunday with some soreness in the groin and immediately contacted the Eagles’ medical staff to both get treatment and an MRI, which revealed inflammation. Johnson attempted to test the injury with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, GM Howie Roseman, head trainer Tom Hunkele, VP of sports performance Ted Rath, and chief medical officer Arsh Dhanota.

Johnson still felt some discomfort and that, along with the wet field, forced the Eagles into a conservative posture.

The good news is that Johnson is expected back against the San Francisco 49ers next week.

FIRST-HALF BLUESIf you watched the first half, you might have thought the Eagles were one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL. The Eagles amassed 99 total yards to Buffalo’s 276, and failed to convert a third down for the second consecutive week before intermission with Hurts sporting a 4 of 11 line for 33 yards and a 7.0 passing rating, a slight climb up from that aforementioned 0.0Sirianni spoke of the mental toughness it takes to overcome that kind of start.

“Really excited for our guys on offense that just put their head down and kept going, right? That’s mental toughness,” said Sirianni. “I already know this team, this Philadelphia Eagles team is physically tough. You get mentally more tough throughout the year when you go through ups and downs. “Man, that was a down first half, but we have a mentally tough group as well as physically tough group that just stuck with it and kept fighting, and it turned.”

Jalen Hurts© Eric Hartline&comma, USA TODAY SECOND-HALF THRILLS

In the second half, Hurts was 14 of 20 for 167 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding seven runs for 43 yards and the game-winning score.

The QB’s most impressive throw was a 14-yard touchdown toss to DeVonta Smith in between three defenders while protecting his prized receiver at the same time. “Jalen helped me out with the throw,” Smith said. “He kinda threw me that way to protect me. So I appreciate him for that.”

A trademarked example of Hurts extending the play on a 3rd-and-15 play before finding Olamide Zaccheaus at the back of the end zone for a 29-yard score was also a wow throw.

JAKE THE MAKEAccording to the NFL’s NextGenStats, Elliott had just a 20.9 percent chance of making his game-tying 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation in awful weather.

That said, Elliott has now made all three of his field goals with a sub-25 percent make probability in his career, the most attempts by any kicker without a miss since 2016.

Elliott has never missed a game-tying or go-ahead field goal attempt in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime (8-for-8).

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