• Alec Liebsch

Alec’s Analysis: Eagles outlast Lions in Week 1

The Philadelphia Eagles took down the Detroit Lions on the road for their first win of the 2022 season. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Defense had its highs and lows. Went an entire quarter without giving up a first down, but also bookended that stretch with the Lions just mowing them down. Not enough pressure on Goff, and certainly not enough aggression in the zone. Lions moved the chains because there were wide open gaps in the zone. Defensive backs were good in man/matchup situations, but the front seven did not do its job.

  • Hurts, on the other hand, did his job and then some. The Lions threw the kitchen sink at him, and for the most part he made good decisions with the ball. His scrambles were tremendous. The air attack was not wowing anyone, but it’s probably not designed to in Week 1, especially when their entire skill position group is overshadowed by newly-acquired AJ Brown.

  • Speaking of Brown, he was tremendous in his Eagles debut. He is a legitimate WR1, the best one the Birds have had since Terrell Owens. Caught everything in sight, destroyed 1-on-1 matchups, and broke all kinds of tackles. He is the perfect target for Jalen.

  • Back to No. 1, he could stand to improve as a playmaker in the air. There were several broken plays where he potentially could’ve launched the ball and didn’t. In addition, most of his passing success was out of scripted plays. To Hurts' credit, however, he was great on the ground. Those scrambles would be negative plays for a lot of QBs; he got 71 yards and a touchdown out of nine. He was fantastic with his legs and good with his brain, but the arm still leaves something to be desired.

  • That’s a problem for January, but it’s worth noting now. The Eagles can win 10-11 games and coast to the playoffs with last year's Hurts; this team has loftier goals than that.

  • Overall I still think he has some work to do, but he made some visible strides over the offseason and got the job done in a sloppy game. That’s all you can really ask for in Week 1.

  • Where the offense sputtered may be a coaching problem more than a quarterback problem. Those Detroit blitzes were effective and frequent because the Eagles didn’t protect very well. Hurts was often left to starve in the backfield, to where he made a play out of nothing. I would not be surprised if that was intentional, but if so, that is a dangerous game to play. Wait until the Buccaneers get a hold of Hurts.

  • Offensive line has to be better. Too many pre-snap penalties, and not enough protection for the quarterback on blitzes. These issues seem fairly easy to clean up: timing is something you get better at with more game experience, and the blitz-heavy defense was not something they expected to see. Hopefully these issues are temporary.

  • One reason for the line’s shakiness is the play calling. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the run game was not present enough. It would have been a good way to get the line going a bit more, and the Eagles definitely have the personnel to do it. Sanders was really good yesterday (13 carries, 96 yards, 1 touchdown). Gainwell was useful in short bursts, and Scott didn’t get nearly enough snaps for how effective he can be. This RB room is efficient when given the keys; unfortunately, the garage was locked.

  • Overall, Sirianni and Steichen had a below-average Sunday. Some of the play designs to get Brown open were smart, several other passing concepts moved the chains, and many of the run plays were timely and effective. However, it seemed to be the Hurts and AJ Brown show more than anything, and they were barely prepared for the monsoon that Detroit threw at them. The offense succeeded because of the guys on the field, not because of the game plan.

  • Big Picture: the Eagles won because of their QB, rather than just with him.

(Cover Photo Credit: Raj Mehta, USA Today Sports)