Eagles morph past Lions, 38-35

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions
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This game was not as close as the score indicates, until it was.

It’s almost like the football gods made a deal with the Eagles: “You can have a bunch of big plays, or you can choose perfect execution on both sides of the ball…but you can’t have both.”

Eagles took the big plays.

For most of the game, GK Brizer’s preview (or Briview) of the proceedings looked to be solidly confirmed:

“About 63.4% of games in the NFL are [decided by] SITDs [game-changing big plays]..and this one is no exception to the plurality. Moreover,..I do echo yur concerns [about sluggish offense]..pretty much spot on to my view. That said,..yes,..I’ve noticed many prognosticators are actually picking the Lions,..which might “perk up” our possible EAGLES over confidence or “comfortability” ( a made up word).  Anyway,..my pick…Iggles 29 Lions 16. Although Goff has had a few good games vs. us and in his career, I trust this won’t be one of them. Methinks, his performance may be even more important to the outcome vs. Hurts’. ”

Things played out almost exactly as Brizer forecast…until the Eagles’ defense ran out of gas in the second half. Fatigue causes a lot of mistakes especially in the missed tackles category. Plus it turns out the Lions have some guys who make it easy to whiff on a tackle.

In the end Hurts did outplay Goff—by a bunch.

Hurts accounted for 333 yards and a touchdown and A.J. Brown had a career-high-tying 155 yards receiving in his Philadelphia debut, helping the Eagles hold on for a 38-35 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Hurts ran 17 times, one short of his career high, for 90 yards and a 1-yard touchdown. The third-year quarterback was 18 of 32 for 243 yards, including a perfectly placed 54-yard pass to Brown that led to Philadelphia taking a 24-14 lead at halftime.

Just as importantly, Hurts threw away many passes to avoid sacks.

“We had a lot broken plays, a lot of throwaways,” he said. “As a quarterback, that is the best play sometimes.”

The Eagles offense also struggled early with silent-count crowd noise issues, resulting in too many offsides and potential delay of game penalties.

The Eagles scored 24 points in the second quarter and had a 17-point lead in the fourth that was cut to three when Jared Goff threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark with 3:51 left.

Miles Sanders‘ 24-yard run on third-and-2 from the Eagles 27 just before the two-minute warning quieted a raucous crowd.

“That was a big one,” Brown said. “We needed that to take the life out of the building.”

Philadelphia sealed the win on Hurts’ sneak that converted a fourth-and-1 from the Detroit 40 with 50 seconds left.

Sanders finished with 96 yards rushing and was one of three Philadelphia running backs to score.

The Lions started strong, opening the game with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and forcing Philadelphia to turn it over on downs.

Hurts, though, proved to be too tough to stop on the ground and through the air.

He had 50 yards rushing in the first quarter, the highest total by a Philadelphia quarterback since Michael Vick ran for 2 more yards in the opening quarter of a 2013 game against the New York Giants.

“He’s very slick,” said Lions rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, a former Oklahoma State star who faced Hurts at Oklahoma. “Obviously, he’s progressed in the league.”

When Hurts threw, Brown was clearly his go-to receiver with 10 receptions on 13 targets. No one else on the team had more than four targets, or three catches.

Brown made a quick return on the team’s investment with the most yards receiving by a player in his Philadelphia debut. The Eagles traded the No. 18 pick and a third-round choice to Tennessee for Brown and signed him to a four-year contract worth at least $57 million.

Goff was 21 of 37 for 215 yards with two touchdowns and an interception that James Bradberry returned 27 yards for a score that put the Eagles ahead 21-7 in the second quarter.

“We could have scored 50 out there,” said Goff, who made some difficult throws and missed some open receivers. “That’s a really good team, give them credit, but we shot ourselves in the foot all day.”

Detroit’s D’Andre Swift, who is from Philadelphia, had a career-high 144 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries.

“I’m glad we fought back and I told the guys that we didn’t play well and only lost by three, so that’s a positive,” coach Dan Campbell said. “But we can’t accept that and be happy to lose by three. We have a lot to clean up.”

EJECTED

Lions defensive back Tracy Walker was ejected for swiping in a scrum with the Eagles after hitting Hurts near his head as he went to the turf late in the third quarter. When Walker hit Hurts above the shoulders after he went down on a run into Detroit territory, Philadelphia players came to their quarterback’s defense. Walker responded by swiping at tight end Dallas Goedert’s helmet and that ended his game.

“I just let my team down, Walker said. “Me, as a team captain, I’ve just got to be better. I was hot-headed at the moment.”

INSTANT IMPACT

Brown wasn’t the only player to perform well in his Eagles debut. Bradberry, who signed in May, picked off a pass that was deflected by linebacker Kyzir White, who signed in April.

“It was great to see new Eagles doing that,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “That’s why we brought them here.”

INJURIES

Eagles: DE Derek Barnett limped off the field in the third quarter and was evaluated in a tent behind the sideline.

Lions: DT Levi Onwuzurike (back) went on injured reserve.

Matchup Eagles morph past Lions, 38-35 Eagles morph past Lions, 38-35
1st Downs 27 23
Passing 1st downs 12 12
Rushing 1st downs 13 9
1st downs from penalties 2 2
3rd down efficiency 10-17 9-14
4th down efficiency 2-3 1-1
Total Plays 72 66
Total Yards 455 386
Total Drives 10 11
Yards per Play 6.3 5.8
Passing 239 205
Comp-Att 18-32 21-37
Yards per pass 7.2 5.4
Interceptions thrown 0 1
Sacks-Yards Lost 1-4 1-10
Rushing 216 181
Rushing Attempts 39 28
Yards per rush 5.5 6.5
Red Zone (Made-Att) 4-5 4-4
Penalties 10-61 7-65
Turnovers 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 0 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 1 0
Possession 31:34 28:26
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