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Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith and Eagles defense overwhelm commander

To Ralph Vachiano
FOX Sports NFC East Writer

of philadelphia eagles Always considered one of the best teams in the mediocre NFC East and a playoff contender in a generally weak conference. If they could, they might have entered another level.

They may be one of the best teams in the NFL.

The Eagles certainly looked that way throughout the first three weeks of the season, and could have cemented themselves as Super Bowl contenders with a 24-8 victory over the Washington Commanders. Defective Commanders not only beat his team and ruined the first game against former Eagles quarterback Carson his Wentz old team.

It was how thorough and stifling their performance was.

The Eagles completely smashed Wentz right from the start of the game. They had four sacks in the first quarter, but Wentz came back to pass in the first seven. They added more with his eighth dropback and finished with six sacks in the first half.

They attacked him at will. They also got to him only the four in front rushed. After all, they fired him nine times.

Brandon Graham talks dominant defense

Defensive end Brandon Graham talks FOX Sports’ Christina Pink and Carson Wentz play and how the Eagles defense dominated Washington.

“They cringed,” Eagles coach Nick Siriani said of his defense. That’s the strength of our team.”

“We were hitting him,” added Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham. “Those hits add up.”

Even when Wentz had a little time to throw, they certainly did, as he looked completely rickety. I let it go. He went 10-for-3 for 24 yards in the first half and needed garbage-time work to gain 211 yards on 43-for-25 passing.

Remember: Defense has been the missing piece for the Eagles this season. His 38-35 win in Detroit was a terrible first game. And while they were much better against the Vikings last Monday night, where he won 24-7, their pass his rush was basically non-existent. So defensive tackle Fletcher Cox summed up the sentiment by saying, “I think I can do better” in his room at the Philadelphia locker.

With a pass rush like Philadelphia hasn’t seen in years, they did. And it came from nowhere. 6 of Graham (2½), linebacker Herson Reddick (1½), defensive end Josh Sweat (1½), Cox (1½), linebacker TJ Edwards (1), defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (1) player divided his nine sacks.

“Our D-line, they went out and hunted,” Siriani said. “And it wasn’t just one guy. It was everyone.”

And what they all did was buy time for the Eagles offense to make a move.

Jalen Hurts had another MVP performance (22-for-35 for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns). And he continued to spread the ball, this time featuring receiver Devonta Smith (8 catches for 169 yards and 1 touchdown).

Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith dominate Eagles win

Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith dominate Eagles win

Jalen Hurts threw for 3 touchdowns and 340 yards, and DeVonta Smith had 1 touchdown and 169 receiving yards. The Eagles held the commanders to just 240 yards.

Remember, Smith didn’t have a single catch in the opener. But he dominated this game. He currently has his 15 catches for 249 yards and his 1 touchdown on the season. The Eagles aren’t bad for a No. 2 receiver. Their number one, AJ Brown, has his 20-309-1. And let’s not forget, he was the #1-ranked team in the Rush last season, picking up where he left off averaging 150.3 yards of ground distance in his first three games. It means that there is

With the offense spread out like that and Hearts playing the way he does, it was already starting to look like the only way to beat them was to beat them. That certainly seemed the Commander’s best hope.

But they didn’t stand a chance.

“We’re like constipation,” Commander’s left tackle Charles Reno explained to reporters.

“It’s good defense, it’s a good team,” Wentz added. “They chased us. I didn’t play to my standards, especially early on.”

No, he didn’t because the Philadelphia defense wouldn’t let him pocket it. Wentz threw for 650 yards in his first two games, his second-best total in the NFL. But he’s a pocket passer, and he doesn’t have a shot if his pockets are constantly crumbling. The Eagles didn’t give him time to breathe.

Interestingly, Cilianni called the pass rush the Eagles’ “strength.” They were the second-worst in the NFL last season, having only 29 sacks in 17 games, and he still had only three sacks in his first two games.

But they put it all together on Sunday. They have an elite quarterback, some dangerous weapons in the passing game, a top-notch rushing attack, and a dominant offensive line. And they have a talented, smothering secondary and a strong front on the run. Now, their defense, which has forced him to four turnovers in the last two games and only allowed him two touchdowns, has proven to handle quarterbacks pretty well.

If that’s true, and this pass rush wasn’t just a one-week marvel, then the Eagles are the real deal. These are total packages that have everything your team needs to survive the season and extend the playoffs.

Yes of course it’s early. The Eagles know it too.

“I would compare this to a 17-round heavyweight boxing match,” Siriani said. “I sit in my corner after each round. If I think I’m too strong in one round, this league has a good way to tap my teeth.”

The Eagles also turned out to be pretty good at hitting teams with their teeth. And with such defense, they can deal more damage.

Ralph Vacchiano is FOX Sports’ NFC East reporter covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. During his 22 years, he covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL in general for SNY and the New York Daily can find him on twitter @RalphVacchiano.

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