After a hard-fought 29-17 victory over the Houston Texans, the Eagles have a perfect record of 8-0 for the first time in team history.
Jalen Hurts, playing in his hometown of Houston, had a 128.9 passer rating on 21 of 27 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
Miles Sanders, the Eagles’ running back, rushed for 93 yards on 17 rushes and scored the team’s first touchdown.
A.J. Brown scored the game-winning touchdown for the Falcons in the third quarter, and Dallas Goedert led all receivers with eight receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles’ defense was led by defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who recorded three sacks on Texans quarterback Davis Mills, and included picks by safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (in the third quarter) and cornerback James Bradberry (in the fourth quarter), effectively ending any chance of a comeback for Houston.
Following is a play-by-play account of the winning performance:
Early on, the Texans have proven they can handle themselves with success. Their last score came after a 9-play, 75-yard drive, with tight end Teagan Quitoriano catching a 2-yard touchdown pass from Davis Mills and fending off safety K’Von Wallace for his first career grab and touchdown. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett made the huge play as he completed an out-and-up route for a gain of 34 yards while eluding the coverage of James Bradberry.
WOW, that was some kind of response from the Eagles. To tie the game at 7 with 1:33 left in the first quarter, Miles Sanders slammed the ball in from 2 yards out on 4th-and-goal to finish off an 18-play, 91-yard drive. Jalen Hurts completed 8 passes out of 12 attempts for 76 yards to six different receivers on the drive. The Eagles were able to win by converting on all four third-down opportunities.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson has been replaced in the starting lineup by K’Von Wallace at safety (UPDATE: Gardner-Johnson returned a short time later). The team has not provided an injury report. On 3rd-and-6, the Eagles were able to force a punt thanks to a combination of a short loss tackle by Haason Reddick and a false start by left tackle Laremy Tunsil. On third-and-11, Davis Mills gained 8 yards on the ground but failed to advance the ball over the goal posts. After the touchback, the Eagles will have to drive from their own 20; however, the defense has done a good job thus far, having allowed only one first down.
A fumble by Jalen Hurts is his first of the year. Hurts was intercepted by former Eagle Steven Nelson on a corner blitz after completing consecutive throws for 53 yards to A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. They got the ball back at their own 35-yard line.
The turnover caused no injury, thus there was no penalty. Once, after Mills completed a play-action bootleg to tight end O.J. Howard for 14 yards and a first down, the defenders panicked, but they recovered and allowed only one more first down. On third down, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave sacked Mills, preventing any more progress.
The Eagles are making a strong showing. The Eagles took the lead for the first time after a 10-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard run up the middle by Kenneth Gainwell on 3rd-and-goal. Gainwell, who had initially lined up wide on the left, signaled into the backfield, accepted the handoff, and raced for a touchdown. At the outset of the drive, Sanders rumbled for 38 yards on two consecutive carries. For the Eagles, the screen game was essential in keeping the Texans off-balance. First, a tight end screen to Dallas Goedert on the right side gained 15 yards, and then a wide receiver screen to Zach Pascal on the left side gained 8 yards. On the other third down of the drive, Hurts faked a quarterback sneak by taking the snap and running to the left, and the play was successful. With 4:32 remaining in the first half, the score is 14-7.
The Texans, it seems, will not be going out without a fight. Rookie rushing back Dameon Pierce, whose punishing approach is causing problems for the Eagles’ defense, led the Texans on a seven-play, 75-yard drive to respond to the Eagles’ drive. He ran for 36 yards, putting the Texans deep into Eagles territory. The drive was capped off by an athletic play from Davis Mills, who rolled to his right before passing to wide receiver Chris Moore for a 13-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left in the first half. In the first half, Pierce has carried the ball 13 times for 88 yards.
The Eagles have been at their best this season in the second quarter, so they only needed 37 seconds to reach within scoring position. Jalen Hurts completed a 21-yard pass to Dallas Goedert on a corner route against zone defense. The 7 yards gained by Hurts on the ground set up a 54-yard field goal try by Jake Elliott, who missed wide to the right.
During the first drive of the second half, Jerry Hughes sacked the quarterback twice, defeating Jordan Mailata. This led to a three-and-out.
The Eagles’ defense comes up big and causes a three-and-out as well. A holding call on Haason Reddick on first down effectively halted the drive. On 1st-and-20, Davis Mills was under so much pressure that he spiked the ball into the ground. Then, on 3rd-and-22, Josh Sweat tackled Dameon Pierce for a loss of 2 yards.
On first down, Miles Sanders found a large hole and gained 9 yards, but the Eagles couldn’t advance. Stoned quarterback Kenneth Gainwell gave Sanders the first down behind a mismatched offensive line in which Lane Johnson lined up to the left. However, Houston successfully appealed and overturned the ruling because Sanders’ knee was down short of the first down. The Eagles went scoreless on their first two drives.
C.J. The fifth pick-six of the year goes to GARDNER-JOHNSON, who leads the NFL in that category. During pressure on 3rd-and-6, Mills threw deep down the middle, but Gardner-Johnson was there to make his fourth interception in as many games. Additionally, he took the interception back 25 yards to the Texans’ 17-yard line.
A short pass from Hurts to A.J. makes it easy for the Eagles to take advantage of the mistake. Brown scored his sixth touchdown of the year on a 17-yard run. at the 8:04 mark of the third quarter, to extend the lead to 21-14. The Eagles are now second in the NFL with 60 points scored off of interceptions.
The Texans just won’t leave us alone. Chris Moore gained 25 yards on a reception from the wideout. Then, Pierce rushed for 33 yards and Rex Burkhead pounded out 9 yards, setting up Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 30-yard field goal to bring the score to 21-17.
The Eagles’ advantage grows to 29-17 thanks to a breakout performance by Dallas Goedert in the fourth quarter. With 11:22 left in the game, he caught four catches for 41 yards and a score. On eight catches, Goedert has gained precisely 100 yards. After an offsides penalty on the PAT try, the Eagles elected to go for 2, and Hurts maintained the ball and crossed the goal line, giving Philadelphia a 12-point lead.
After being flagged for roughing the passer early in the Texans’ drive, Javon Hargrave made amends by recording his second sack of the game to finish the Texans’ possession. Now in consecutive games, Hargrave has recorded multiple sacks while lining up at nose tackle, a position he once had for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jordan Davis has been placed on Injured Reserve once again due to an ankle ailment.
The Eagles regain possession, but they are unable to move the ball, going three-and-out as Jerry Hughes almost records his third sack of the game, this time against Lane Johnson. Hurts was able to avoid being sacked, but the offense was unable to extend the lead.
Javon Hargrave reaches the sack hat trick by bringing about a 3rd-and-19 from the 21-yard line thanks to his sack of Mills. Mills sacked wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on the next play, and cornerback James Bradberry intercepted the ball, thus ending the game.