The Philadelphia Eagles have become the first team in the NFL to have 10 wins this season and remain in their grip on the NFC No. 1 thanks to Sunday night’s 40-33 win over the Green Bay Packers.
It was just a dominating day for the Eagles on the ground as they rushed for 363 total yards and three touchdowns. That’s the second most rushing yards in franchise history and the club’s most since 1948. Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders were the key wheels for this rushing attack as the duo combined 300 yards. They are the first tandem in Eagles history to each have at least 125 rushing yards in a game.
Philadelphia struck that ground-and-pound tone early in the game as they took a 13-0 lead over Green Bay. In the first quarter alone, Hurts rushed for 103 yards and both Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell were able to find the end zone. However, the Packers were able to absorb and counter those hits on the ground, scoring on back-to-back drives to take the lead by the end of the opening quarter. The Eagles regained the lead just before halftime and largely began to separate in the last two quarters.
After a three-and-off on Green Bay’s opening third-quarter drive, the Eagles offensively moved 86 yards down to extend their lead and continue their dominance from the backfield. A key second-half development that affected the Packers was a rib injury to Aaron Rodgers. That forced Jordan Love to quit the game, but the young quarterback couldn’t bring his team back fully, despite scoring a touchdown on his first drive of the night.
Hurts finished with 153 passing yards and two touchdowns while adding a team-high 157 yards on the ground with 17 carries. Sanders was just behind him for 143 yards to call by two points. Meanwhile, Rodgers completed 11 of 16 for 140 yards, two touchdowns and two picks before departing. Love completed 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown for Christian Watson.
For a more detailed breakdown of this game’s development, check out our full takeaways below
Why the Eagles won
Of course, the running game is the MVP for Philadelphia. They were able to get what they wanted locally and had a historic night in the process. He used his legs early and often, especially on hurts, and lengthening drives was especially helpful. On the opening possession and faced with a third and six, Hurts broke up a 28-yard run that not only moved the chains but also placed the ball inside the 10-yard line. He also had a 42-yard streak on a third-and-2 play late in the first quarter that helped set up another touchdown.
Meanwhile, the defense was able to pressure Aaron Rodgers with a decent clip. Javon Hargrave was an unsung hero intercepting Rodgers when defensive tackle pinned him down the middle, flushing him out of the pocket and into a rushed throw at Allen Lazard, picked by Josiah Scott.
Philadelphia also started coming home, sacking Rodgers at key moments as the game went on. On back-to-back drives (except for the pre-half kneel), the Eagles defense registered sacks against Rodgers on third downs, forcing the Packers to knock the ball away. Each time after those sacks and the punts that followed, the Philly offense would find the end zone and extend their lead.
Why the Packers lost
Green Bay’s ill-managed defense reared its head in big style 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 at an average of 7.4 yards per carry. Of course, that was the main reason Green Bay is 4-8 on the season and almost mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Nonetheless, the Packers took on the No. 1-seeded Eagles in the first half. It was the last two quarters of regulation that left them in the dust. Green Bay in particular missed several chances right at the start of the third quarter. The club got the ball back to start the second half and Keisean Nixon was able to pull off an excellent return for 52 yards that put the ball into midfield. Rather than capitalize on that field position, the offense went three and out and Aaron Rodgers was injured in the process.
After the Eagles scored on their possession to further extend their lead, the Packers’ offense brought the ball to the Philadelphia 6-yard line. While Matt LaFleur was ready to try in fourth and third, a false start penalty pushed them back 5 yards along the O-line, forcing the Packers to kick a field goal instead, reducing the deficit to 11. Meanwhile, Rodgers was able to finish that drive but was in noticeable pain with every dropback and didn’t return from that field goal.
On these back-to-back drives, the Packers slowed just enough for Philly to break up.
The Packers offense didn’t skip too big a shot with Jordan Love under center for the injured Aaron Rodgers. In fact, it took Green Bay just four games to rush 75 yards down the field and reduce the Eagles’ lead to seven thanks to a 63-yard touchdown pass to Christian Watson. While this resulted in a slight shift in momentum toward the Packers, Philly nipped any realistic chances of a comeback with a 10-play drive that led to a 54-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. That drive and field goal not only put the Eagles back by two points, but chewed the clock nearly seven minutes and gave the ball back to the Packers with just over two minutes into the game.
Instead of simply having to drive down the field to get the tie or the overall win, Green Bay faced the challenge of kicking the field goal and then praying that the onside kick would find its way, which it didn’t.
game of the game
For a game that totaled 73 points, there were surprisingly some standout moments on the defensive side of the ball. One of those came midway through the second quarter when Jalen Hurts completed a short pass to AJ Brown. As the wideout turned up, he was stripped and the ball was picked up by Packers rookie linebacker Quay Walker. He almost made it home, returning the fumbling 63 yards to the Philadelphia 13-yard line before going wide. That then led to an offense touchdown that ended the game with 20 points.
As impressive as Walker’s run was, Jalen Hurts also did a good job putting the brakes on him on the return. Just by being in front of him, Walker had to make a cut, giving the Eagles defenders an opportunity to catch up and prevent him from scoring.
From here, the Eagles will stay home in Philadelphia preparing for a Week 13 matchup with the Tennessee Titans, who just lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. As for the Packers, they will be touring again and visiting Chicago where they will take on the Bears.