On Sunday, the Eagles kicked off the season with a resounding victory over the Atlanta Falcons, winning 32-6. It was an excellent start to the Nick Sirianni era. The Eagles showed dominance in all facets of the game. After one week of play, the Eagles currently sit alone atop the NFC East.
READ MORE — 2021 Philadelphia Eagles Review
Hurts had himself a day! It was a fantastic game to open the season. He completed 27 of 35 passes (77.1%) for 264 yards and 3 TDs with 0 INTs. He also had 62 rushing yards. All that combined for a career-high 126.4 quarterback rating. If this was a preview of what is yet to come, the Eagles will be a lot more successful this year than nearly everyone anticipated. It is only one week, but so far, so very good. Grade: A
The rookie made his debut, and he did not disappoint. Smith made his first career NFL reception and touchdown on the same play, pulling in a beautiful 18-yard pass from Hurts. The catch was eerily similar to Smith’s game-winning touchdown catch in last year’s College Football National Championship game in 2018, occurring at nearly the same spot in the same stadium.
Overall, Smith had six receptions for 71 yards with one TD. He led the Eagles in receptions and was the first Eagles player with a receiving touchdown in his debut in over 20 years. He was also the first Eagles receiver to have his first career catch for a touchdown since Marvin Hargrove in 1990. Grade: A
Sirianni had a great debut as head coach. The Eagles were underdogs coming into the game but they thoroughly dominated. Sirianni had the Eagles well prepared. Winning his first game on the road is no easy task, Sirianni deserves a lot of credit. He was a controversial hire but so far, the early returns look promising.
Sirianni had the team work to Hurts’ strengths. The mobile quarterback was allowed room to run, taking most of the snaps in the shotgun formation, and he was afforded plenty of RPOs (run-pass options).
Sirianni made a smart call when he decided to go for a 2-pt conversion after the Falcons had a penalty on Jake Elliot’s extra point attempt following the Eagles’ second touchdown. They were successful and it put the Eagles up by 9 points at the time and they never looked back. Grade: A
Offensive and Defensive Lines
Both lines had dominating performances against the Atlanta Falcons. Jordan Mailata looked great in his first start since winning the left tackle job in the preseason. On Saturday, Mailata was rewarded with a massive contract extension; on Sunday, he turned in a massive performance. Mailata had a jaw-dropping block that will make highlight reels all season.
The offensive line as a whole played great as well. They surrendered only one sack. It was a welcomed improvement after their disastrous performance during last year’s injury-riddled season. Offensive Line: B+
The defensive line also looked good. They had a bit of a slow start as the Falcons marched down the field on their first two drives of the game. After some early concern, the defensive line settled in nicely. They locked down and dominated the Falcons the rest of the way. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was under pressure frequently throughout the game. The Eagles had three sacks for the game, two from last year’s prized free-agent signing, Javon Hargrove. Defensive Line: B+
The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers come to town to battle the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the Home Opener for the Birds. The 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions last week 41-33. The game was not as close as the score suggests.
The 49ers made the Super Bowl two seasons ago and remain a good team. Their coach, Kyle Shanahan, is one of the great young offensive minds in the game today. The 49ers suffered the Super Bowl hangover last season, but that could be attributed to the team’s myriad of injuries, including starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers feature a strong defense and running game. Last week, they did lose their starting running back, Raheem Mostert, to an injured knee. He will miss at least eight weeks.
On offense, look for the 49ers to continue to pound the football even without Mostert. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will lead an efficient passing game that features start tight end, George Kittle. They will also mix in rookie quarterback Trey Lance on some plays to give the offense a change of pace (while also getting him some experience in game-time situations).
The 49ers will be a tough matchup for the Eagles and will probably reveal more about the team than last week’s win against the Falcons did. The Eagles victory brought a lot of media hype to the team, and many pundits now consider them playoff contenders. I am still not ready to make that leap yet.
The 49ers are playing their second straight road game to open the season. And, typically, west coast teams tend to struggle when flying across the country to play their opponent. Two straight road games to start the season, flying coast-to-coast, facing a team that blew the roof off of the Falcons’ stadium last week? I am predicting an Eagles win.
Prediction: Eagles 29, 49ers 23
Chris Tremoglie has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, and National Review. He recently completed his honors thesis on “Did Glasnost and Perestroika Cause a Rise in Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Soviet Balkans?” @cwtremo.