Eagles slide past Texans, 29-17

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It was no picnic, and there was some drama, but the Eagles’ defense tightened at the right time, and DT Javon Hargrave probably saved his team a lot of hard questions this week by coming up with some crucial sacks.  Thursday Night games are notorious for crazy outcomes, but this one eventually played out to the law of probability.

Jalen Hurts threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame a slow start to beat the Houston Texans 29-17 on Thursday night for the first 8-0 start in franchise history.

A three-sack performance by Javon Hargrave helped the defense overcome issues stopping the run.

The Eagles were also able to run the ball effectively on their own with 31 carries for 143 yards (4.5 average) and two touchdowns. The Texans had no answers for Dallas Goedert, who caught eight of his nine targets for 100 yards (12.5 average) and one touchdown.

Hurts lost a fumble in a forgettable first half and the game was tied at halftime. But C.J. Gardner-Johnson grabbed his NFL-best and career-high fifth interception before Hurts threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown to give the Eagles the lead in the third quarter.

Houston (1-6-1) added a field goal after that but another scoring toss by Hurts and his 2-point conversion run extended the lead to 29-17 early in the fourth.

The Texans were driving late in the fourth when Davis Mills was intercepted again, this time by James Bradberry and the Eagles ran out the clock to secure the victory.

Mills threw for 154 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, playing without his top two receivers. Brandin Cooks sat out after missing practice all week following trade rumors that never materialized, and Nico Collins missed the game with a groin injury.

Houston rookie Dameon Pierce ran for a career-high 139 yards to bounce back from a tough game last week, when he gained just 35 yards on 15 carries.  The Eagles’ first game without rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis, who was just placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain, proved problematic for the rush defense. Pierce went off for 139 yards on 27 carries. Philly’s tackling was often poor and the running lanes too wide. Davis had been a difference-maker. Entering the game, the Eagles allowed 3.9 yards per rush with him on the field (70 rushes) versus 6 yards per rush with him off the field (112 rushes).

Gardner-Johnson got an interception for a fourth straight game when he picked off Mills with about 8 ½ minutes left in the third quarter and returned it 25 yards.

The Eagles cashed in on the turnover two plays later when Hurts found Brown for the score to make it 21-14 with about 8 minutes left in the third.

Houston cut the lead to 21-17 on a 30-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn late in the third.

Hurts found Dallas Goedert for a 4-yard TD pass on the next drive and Hurts padded the lead with his 2-point conversion run.

The Texans took an early lead when rookie Teagan Quitoriano, who was making his NFL debut, grabbed his first career reception for a 2-yard touchdown on the first series. Quitoriano is a fifth-round pick who missed all season with a knee injury.

That score was set up by a 34-yard reception by Phillip Dorsett two plays earlier.

Philadelphia tied it at 7-all on a 2-yard run by Miles Sanders on fourth down late in the first quarter. Sanders finished with 93 yards rushing.

The Eagles were driving early in the second quarter when Hurts was sacked by Steven Nelson, who forced a fumble that was recovered by Jaleel Johnson at the Houston 35.

Houston couldn’t move the ball and had to punt. Philadelphia then put together a 10-play, 79-yard drive capped by a 4-yard TD run by Kenneth Gainwell to take a 14-7 lead.

The Texans tied it less than a minute before halftime when Mills connected with Chris Moore on a 13-yard touchdown pass. The play was first ruled incomplete, but it was reviewed, and the call was overturned.

Philadelphia attempted a 54-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, but it sailed wide right.

INJURIES—-

  • DT Fletcher Cox got banged up late in the second quarter. He limped off the field after being on the ground for a bit and returned shortly after.
  • CB Josh Jobe was ruled questionable to return with a thigh injury early in the fourth quarter.
Matchup Eagles slide past Texans, 29-17 Eagles slide past Texans, 29-17
1st Downs 24 20
Passing 1st downs 14 8
Rushing 1st downs 9 10
1st downs from penalties 1 2
3rd down efficiency 5-10 2-9
4th down efficiency 2-2 0-0
Total Plays 62 57
Total Yards 360 303
Total Drives 10 9
Yards per Play 5.8 5.3
Passing 217 135
Comp-Att 21-27 13-22
Yards per pass 7.0 5.4
Interceptions thrown 0 2
Sacks-Yards Lost 4-26 3-19
Rushing 143 168
Rushing Attempts 31 32
Yards per rush 4.6 5.3
Red Zone (Made-Att) 4-4 2-4
Penalties 4-31 4-28
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 0 2
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 28:13 31:47
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