Eagles defensive line dominates Carson Wentz in blowout win

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Another week, another dominating performance for the Eagles.

The Eagles went to FedEx field on Sunday and gave Carson Wentz and the Commanders a beatdown, pulling out to 24-0 halftime lead and eventually winning the game 24-8.

Here are some takeaways from the Eagles convincing win:

Defensive Line: Josh Sweat sacked Wentz on the first drive of the game on 3rd down, with Fletcher Cox and Haason Reddick getting pressure on the snap as well, sending the team’s former franchise quarterback to the ground.

It was a sign of things to come.

The Eagles defensive line dominated early-and-often against Washington, totaling four sacks in the first quarter alone. The four sacks came on just seven drop backs by Wentz. All of the defensive linemen got in on the action, with Cox, Reddick, Sweat, Brandon Graham and Javon Hargrave all registering at least 0.5 sacks in the first quarter.

The domination continued in the second quarter, as on the first Washington possession, Graham got a strip-sack on Wentz that the Eagles recovered. By the time the halftime whistle blew the Eagles had six sacks and Washington -16 net passing yards.

How dominant was the defense? Midway through the third quarter Washington had 65 net yards and zero points.

If there was one issue in the Eagles first two game it was that the pass rush wasn’t as good as many hoped coming into the season. If they play even close to the way they did on Sunday the rest of the season the Eagles are going to finish with not only a top-10 defensive line, but potentially a top-five defense overall.

DeVonta Smith: So much for the idea that DeVonta Smith might not be a big part of the offense with AJ Brown here.

Smith had a dominating day on Sunday, catching 7 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown in the first half alone. Smith made three highlight catches, including his touchdown. Smith Moss’d the Washington cornerback in the corner of the end zone, then holding onto the ball as he went down to hold on for a one-yard touchdown.

Add in the two deep catches he made down the field, one of which was a great sideline catch and the other was a 50/50 win, and Smith had arguably his best game as an Eagles receiver in the win.

Carson Wentz: It was certainly not the game Wentz was hoping to have in the first game against his former team.

Wentz was bad in the pocket in 2020 and he is even worse now than he was the last time he was in an Eagles uniform. Wentz continually held onto the ball far too long, making life easy for the Eagles’ defensive line and completely holding back the Washington offense. On one play he held the ball comically long before getting hit from behind and stripped of the ball. When he did get a pass off his accuracy was an issue, something that was an issue in Philadelphia as well.

If Wentz didn’t think it before, it was painfully obvious on Sunday — he made a mistake demanding a trade from the Eagles.

Jalen Hurts: Hurts had a slow start, going just 1/5 with back-to-back poor throws on the second drive of the game. His accuracy was noticeably worse on Sunday than it was in the first two games, when it was elite. His best throw early on was a 45-yard completion to DeVonta Smith, but even that pass wasn’t great and had the play been reviewed it likely would have been overturned. Hurts also seemed to miss an open AJ Brown in the third quarter for what could have been a touchdown.

Even with those misses, however, Hurt still had a great game.

Hurts picked it up as the game went on after a slow start, starting with a nice 50/50 pass to AJ Brown that went for 38 yards, a good decision to give his No. 1 WR a chance to make a play. On 3rd-and-5 he hit Smith with a perfectly placed pass to allow the receiver to turn up the field and pick up the first down (and some) on a 31-yard gain.

One of the most impressive plays from Hurts in the first half was in the final seconds of the first half. With time running down and the Eagles needing to run a play, Hurts got the offense lined up and got the ball snapped with one second left before throwing a touchdown to Smith. Hurts looked more like a 10-year veteran on the play than a quarterback in only his second year as a full starer.

Overall, Hurt had a few more bad throws than he did the first two weeks, but the fact he wasn’t at his best and still finished with over 300 yard and three touchdown is a sign of just how much he has improved this season.

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him esp@94wip.com!

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