What a win. For a franchise that hadn’t had a definitive win in what feels like years, this W was much needed.
There are several game balls to go around and plenty of positive observations from the Eagles 32-6 victory over Atlanta, so let’s get right into the first Birds Roundup of the year.
Sirianni called a near perfect game
From start to finish, head coach Nick Sirianni called a marvelous game on Sunday. He utilized a balanced attack (35 passes to 31 runs), which allowed Jalen Hurts to get into a rhythm early.
The drive to end the half was a work of art. Starting on their own 38-yard line with 1:44 left, Sirianni was able to chip it down the field on 12 plays to get into the end zone and increase their lead to 9. Entering the second half, he leaned on his rushing attack and led an efficient offensive attack to the victory.
There were no deep passes, but when you’re able to convert on all the high efficiency plays, the big splash plays aren’t as necessary.
He did go 0-for-2 on fourth down conversions, but I like the aggressiveness. Those plays didn’t end up effecting the game all that much.
All in all, this was a great debut from Sirianni. Although Atlanta doesn’t have a very good defense, Sirianni is clearly a capable offensive play caller in this league. He looked like he belonged on Sunday.
Jalen Hurts leads the way on offense
Ultimately, this team will go as far as Hurts can take them. If he continues to play smart, efficient football throughout the year, the Eagles will fight for a playoff spot. He had an outstanding outing in the season opener.
27-for-35 through the air (77 percent completion percentage), 3 touchdowns, and an additional 66 yards on the ground with zero turnovers. What more can you ask for?
He looked like he was in complete command of this offense. The Atlanta pressure never seemed to effect him and he threw darts all over the field.
Hurts’ accuracy was a point of concern throughout the entire offseason. In Week 1, he was supremely accurate. Nearly every pass was out of his hands quickly and hit his receivers right in the bread basket. Even when Hurts rolled out, his accuracy never decreased.
The decision making was consistently strong as well. Hurts took what Atlanta was giving him all game.
Again, this Atlanta defense isn’t good. But Hurts did everything he had to do to win this game. At the end of the day, that’s all we need to see.
The offensive line dominates
I’ve said it numerous times throughout the offseason and I’ll say it again — this team will win a handful of games this year based solely on their line play. On Sunday, the offensive line was the MVP.
On nearly every running play, they opened up huge holed for Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell to run through. They didn’t give up a single sack on Hurts, and the pressure they gave up was few and far between.
How about these big guys in space? There were a handful of plays where these offensive lineman got out in front and just pancaked opposing defenders.
Aside from the several false starts, this offensive line was absolutely dominant.
Gannon makes defensive adjustments and dominates in second half
After two scoring drives to open up the game, Jonathan Gannon’s defense really came together and ended up dominating the Falcons offense. The secondary didn’t give up any big plays, the defensive line sacked Matt Ryan three times in the fourth quarter, and the linebackers flowed to the ball.
In the first quarter, Atlanta had accumulated 86 rushing yards on 13 carries. After that, 25 yards on 11 carries. In total, the Eagles defense gave up 178 yards on the first three drives. On the following seven drives, just 66 total yards. Gannon did a great job keeping his players calm. They were trying to do too much early on, but once the settled in, that was all she wrote.
This defensive unit may be one of the best defenses this city has had in a long time. Shutting down a good Atlanta offense led by Matt Ryan is no easy task, but Gannon’s crew was able to do it.
The young talent showing up big
A handful of the young skill players showed up in Week 1 for the Eagles. DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Kenny Gainwell all got in the end zone. All 22 years or younger, and all of them had a big impact in this one.
Reagor and Smith led the way receiving, totaling 12 receptions for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gainwell was a great second option out of the backfield behind Sanders as well; he went for 43 yards and a touchdown on 11 touches.
The Eagles have a great assortment of young players and grizzled veterans. If these young pups continue to show up, it’s going to be a fun year.
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