January 27, 2023

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Eagles score against Packers, takeaways: Jalen Hurts dominates as Philly scores its 10th win; Aaron Rodgers injury

Eagles score against Packers, takeaways: Jalen Hurts dominates as Philly scores its 10th win;  Aaron Rodgers injury

The Philadelphia Eagles are the first NFL team to reach 10 wins on the season and continue to dominate the NFC’s top seed thanks to a 40-33 win over the Green Bay Packers Sunday night.

It was a dominant day for the Eagles on the ground as they rushed for a total of 363 yards and three touchdowns. This is the second-most rushing yards in franchise history and the most by a club since 1948. Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders were the main cogs of this rushing attack as the duo combined for 300 yards. They are the first tandem in Eagles history to each have at least 125 yards in a game.

Philadelphia set a ground-and-pound tone early in this game as they jumped out to a 13-0 lead over Green Bay. In the first quarter alone, Hurts rushed for 103 yards and Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell both managed to find the end zone. However, the Packers were able to absorb those ground and counter hits, and scored on back-to-back drives to take the lead by the end of the opening quarter. The Eagles regained the lead just before the half and began to break up dramatically over the final two quarters.

After forcing a three-and-out on Green Bay’s opening drive in the third quarter, the Eagles offense drove 86 yards to increase their lead and continue their dominance out of the field. One of the major developments in the second half affecting the Packers was a rib injury to Aaron Rodgers. That forced Jordan Love to end the game, but the youngster was unable to get his entire team back, despite throwing for a touchdown on his first drive of the night.

Hurts finished with 153 yards passing and two touchdowns while adding a team-high 157 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Sanders was right behind him with 143 yards rushing to go along with two scores. Meanwhile, Rodgers completed 11 of 16 for 140 yards, two touchdowns, and two touchdowns before leaving. Love completed 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown to Christian Watson.

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For a more detailed breakdown of how this game will evolve, check out the full takeaway below

Why did the Eagles win?

Of course, the running game is Philadelphia’s favorite. They can get whatever they want on earth and they had a historic night doing just that. Specifically with Hurts he used his legs early and often and extending drives was particularly useful. On the opening possession and faced it on a 3rd-and-6, Hurts made a 28-yard drive that not only moved the chains, but put the ball inside the 10-yard line. He also had a 42-yard run on a third-and-2 play at the end of the first quarter that helped set up another touchdown.

Meanwhile, the defense managed to squeeze Aaron Rodgers into a decent clip. Javon Hargrave was an unsung hero on Rodgers’ interception as the defensive tackle pressed him down the middle, pocketed him, and on a quick throw to Allen Lazard that was picked off by Josiah Scott.

Philadelphia also began to come home and sack Rodgers at key moments as the game went on. On consecutive drives (except for a kneeling down before the first half), the Eagles defense scored sacks on Rodgers on third turnovers and forced the Packers to a wide punt. Each time after those sacks and subsequent kicks, the Philly offense found the end zone, cementing its lead.

Why lost packages

Green Bay’s weak defense rears its head in a big way Sunday night. In Week 12, the Packers Run Defense ranked 29th in the NFL in DVOA and it was clear why after giving up 363 yards on the ground for an average of 7.4 yards per carry. Naturally, that was the main reason Green Bay found itself 4-8 on the season and was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

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However, the Packers went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 ranked Eagles throughout the first half. It was the last two quarters of regulation that left them in the dust. Specifically, Green Bay wasted several chances early in the third quarter. The club was getting the ball back to start the second half and Keisean Nixon managed an impressive 52-yard comeback that put the ball into midfield. Instead of taking advantage of this fielding situation, the offense went three times and Aaron Rodgers was injured in the process.

After the Eagles scored on their own possession to extend their lead, the Packers offense brought the ball to the Philadelphia 6-yard line. While Matt LaFleur was ready to make it on fourth and third, a false start penalty along the O line pushed them back 5 yards, forcing the Packers to kick a field goal instead, cutting the deficit to 11. Meanwhile, Rodgers managed a Ending this drive but he was in noticeable pain every time he stepped back and didn’t come back after that goal.

Those back-to-back drives were where the Packers slowed enough to separate Philly.

turning point

The Packers offense hasn’t skipped much of a beat with Jordan Love under center for injured Aaron Rodgers. In fact, it only took Green Bay four plays to go 75 yards down the field to cut the Eagles’ lead to seven thanks to a 63-yard touchdown pass to Christian Watson. Although it caused a bit of a shift of momentum toward the Packers, Philly was able to stifle any realistic chances of a comeback with a 10-play drive that led to a 54-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. Not only did that drive-and-field goal set the Eagles back two goals back, but it also took nearly seven minutes on the clock and gave the Packers the ball again with just over two minutes to play in the game.

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Rather than simply needing to drive down the field to go for a tie or outright win, Green Bay was challenged to kick the goal and then pray for the onside kick to bounce its way, which it did not.

Play the game

For a game in which a total of 73 points were scored, there were surprisingly some notable moments on the defensive side of the ball. One in particular came midway through the second quarter when Jalen Hurts completed a short pass to AJ Brown. As the ball turned forward, he was stripped and the ball was caught by Packers rookie linebacker Kwai Walker. He almost took it home, returning it 63 yards to the Philadelphia 13-yard line before going out of bounds. That then led to a touchdown due to the offense, which tied the game at 20.

As impressive as Walker’s running was, Jalen Hurts also did a good job of slowing him down on the return. Just by standing in front of him, Walker was forced to make a cut, which gave Eagles defenders the ability to catch up and prevent him from scoring.

What’s Next

From here, the Eagles will stay home in Philadelphia and prepare for their Week 13 matchup with the Tennessee Titans, who just fell to the Cincinnati Bengals. As for the Packers, they will be back on the road and visit Chicago where they will face the Bears.