Eagles survive a nailbiter in Motor City

Jackson McCrae '23, Editor-in-Chief

The Eagles ended Week 1 with a win on Sunday, after hanging on to beat the Detroit Lions 38-35. In what should have been an easy win to open the season, the Eagles struggled to put away a mediocre Lions team. Philadelphia lacked consistency throughout the game, going from looking like a Super Bowl contender, to looking like they were destined to miss the playoffs. While it is too early to get a read on the rest of the season, the Eagles have a few things to work out if they want to play for a Lombardi Trophy.


The game started off rough for the Eagles, as on the second play of the game Lions star RB D’Andre Swift broke off a 50-yard run that eventually led to a Jamaal Williams rushing touchdown to put the Lions up 7-0. After a turnover on downs by the Eagles and a punt by the Lions, the Eagles got the ball back with 5:51 left in the first quarter. The Eagles marched down the field methodically, with QB Jalen Hurts finding newly acquired WR AJ Brown several times, before Hurts eventually scrambled on 4th & goal for a touchdown.


The Eagles and Lions traded punts a few more times before either team really got a rhythm going. With 9:44 left in the second quarter, Philadelphia started driving, with Hurts connecting with both Brown and TE Dallas Goedert for first downs. Eventually the Eagles worked their way down to the one-yard line, where RB Miles Sanders punched in a touchdown. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to get on the board again, as LB Kyzir White jumped a route and tipped the ball to CB James Bradberry for an interception that Bradberry returned for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 21-7 lead. The Lions responded quickly, using their running backs to work their way down the field before Swift found the endzone on a fourth down. Despite only having 1:55 left on the clock, the Eagles scraped together a drive highlighted by a 54-yard bomb to AJ Brown to get the Eagles into scoring position, where Jake Elliott eventually buried a field goal from 23 yards out.


The Birds had the ball after the half and wasted no time building on their momentum from the second quarter. Miles Sanders broke off a 24-yard run that put the Eagles on the Detroit 29-yard line, and a fifteen-yard penalty left Eagles in the redzone. A few plays later, sophomore RB Kenneth Gainwell ran for six more points, and the extra point gave the Eagles a 31-14 lead. The Lions then quickly put together a drive of their own, which ended with budding superstar WR Amon-ra St. Brown narrowing the Philadelphia lead on a four-yard catch. The Lions then tried an onside kick but to no avail. Philly wasted no time getting their seven points back, as they drove down the short field and veteran RB Boston Scott rushed for a touchdown, making him the fourth Eagles player to score a rushing touchdown in the game.


Philly took a seventeen-point lead into the fourth quarter, but it was promptly cut to ten after a Swift reception got the Lions to the one-yard line and Williams ran for a touchdown the play after, making it 38-28. After three combined punts from the two teams, the Lions got the ball back with 8:19 left in the game. WR DJ Chark eventually made an absolutely gorgeous catch for a touchdown, cutting the Eagles lead to three with 3:51 left in the game. The Eagles managed to run the clock out and barely held on for a 38-35 win against a subpar opponent.


This Eagles defense is entirely different from those of years past, when they prided themselves on run defense but were often picked apart by teams that aired the ball out. On Sunday, Swift and Williams were able to run right over the Eagles, breaking off several runs that kept the Lions in the game. The Eagles’ offense was also very inconsistent, going scoreless in both the first and fourth quarters, but looking nothing short of potent during the second and third quarters. While it’s easy to nitpick what went wrong, the Eagles overall had a solid first week and Hurts showed flashes of taking his game to the next level. With sixteen more games ahead of the Birds, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year pans out.


Philly is back in action next week on Monday Night Football when they play the Minnesota Vikings (1-0) in Philadelphia at 8:30 PM