By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles hit the midway point of their 2017 schedule as owners of the best record in the NFL. After a 33-7 victory against the lowly San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon in rainy Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles improved to 7-1 on the season. It was the kind of outing you would hope to see from one of the best teams in the league against one of the worst.
Given the weather conditions, it was expected the offense may not be in sync the way you would hope. The Eagles did get off to a sluggish start at home, but then were able to put some drives together to put the game away. The Eagles had just 304 yards of total offense and struggled on third down. Carson Wentz was 18-of-32 for 211 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The running game lacked a dominant go-to, but Corey Clement supplied 54 yards on 10 carries and LeGarrette Blount carried the football 16 times for 48 yards and a score. Alshon Jeffery had a 53 yard reception and a touchdown, and Zach Ertz had a touchdown as well.
The 49ers were not likely to pose much of a threat with the football, and they did not. The Eagles defense set the tone by shutting out the 49ers in the first half and scoring a defensive touchdown. Jalen Mills picked off a pass from rookie C.J. Beathard and returned it 37 yards for a score late in the first half, at a time when the Eagles were finally waking up and taking control of the game. The Eagles had four sacks in the game, including one each form Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.
Special Teams: A-
Nothing happened in the return game for the Eagles today, with Kenjon Barner getting just two chances to return a punt and only picking up 14 yards between the two attempts. But Jake Elliott remains solid on field goal duty with two of two made, including a 51-yard field goal. Elliott did miss a pair of extra point attempts after touchdowns, which was unusual, but given the weather conditions and how reliable he has been since shaking off his rocky debut, we can give him a one-week benefit of the doubt. Punter Donnie Jones remains reliable as well, with six punts averaging 45.8 yards per punt with two punts downed inside the 20-yard line, although one reached the end zone. Bringing up the grade this week was a field goal block.
While not exactly a spectacular game from the sidelines, it did not need to be. The Eagles started slowly on offense, but in this particular matchup, that was not much to worry about. The weather conditions also played a factor at times. The bottom line is pretty simple. The Eagles ended up doing what really good teams are supposed to do to really bad teams. Even with a sluggish start, there was never much doubt about the eventual outcome.
Up Next: The Eagles stay home next week for a third game against an AFC West opponent. The Denver Broncos make the trip to The Linc next Sunday, and they will be hoping to have an offense figured out after a Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. A short week off a road division game to prepare for one of the top teams in the NFC does not seem to give Denver many favors. With the way the Eagles are playing, they could be 8-1 heading into a Sunday night game at Dallas on Nov. 19.