Instant Observations: Eagles vs. Saints

Eagles keep season alive with win over New Orleans.

Josh Huff. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Josh Huff. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 39-17 win over the Saints from Lincoln Financial Field:

*Fletcher Cox was a monster. He finished with three sacks, two forced fumbles, a recovery and six tackles (including one TFL). His strip sack and recovery midway through the third set the Eagles up at the Saints’ 13. On the very next play, Sam Bradford found a wide open Brent Celek to extend the Eagles’ lead to 23-10. (Caleb Sturgis missed the extra point.)

Cox’s previous single-high was 1.5 sacks against the Bengals his rookie year. He doubled that up in a huge spot against one of the better quarterbacks in the game.

*Bradford made a pair of critical mistakes early and ended 32-of-45 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (88.5 rating). Threw a bad pick in the right corner of the end zone on the Eagles’ second possession. The intended target, Riley Cooper, appeared wide open in the back of the end zone but Bradford threw it right to Brandon Browner. It was the Saints’ first interception of the year.

He tossed another interception in the end zone in the second quarter, this time to cornerback Delvin Breaux on a pass over the middle intended for Miles Austin. Breaux was initially called for pass interference but the ref picked up the flag.

* The Eagles racked up 519 yards of total offense and ran 79 plays.

*Josh Huff made an impact after a quiet start to the season. Took the opening kickoff 40 yards to give the Eagles good field position, and later scored a 41-yard touchdown, which he capped  with a flip into the end zone.

A pair of Saints defenders collided on the play, allowing Huff a free pass down the left sideline. He led the Eagles with four catches for 78 yards.

*Chip Kelly fed DeMarco Murray early and the back got it going a bit as the game wore on. He finished with 20 carries for 83 yards (4.2 avg.) and a touchdown. Ryan Mathews continues to produce. He had 96 total yards on 11 touches.

*Good coverage by Byron Maxwell on the Saints’ first possession. He had Brandin Cooks covered deep downfield, allowing Bennie Logan time to wrestle down Drew Brees for his first sack of the season. Brees looked Maxwell’s way again on third down, but the CB had Willis Snead blanketed to force the incompletion.

*Former Saints Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles and Louisiana product Logan were the team captains. Jenkins made a pair of nice open field tackles in the opening half, but was beat by Cooks for a 46-yarder to open the second half.

*There appeared to be some confusion on the Brees-to-Benjamin Watson TD late in the first quarter. Hicks was late running out to cover Watson, who was able to shake loose of the linebacker for the score.

Hicks came up with another fumble recovery — his third in as many games — and added an athletic pass break-up in the third quarter.

His partner, DeMeco Ryans, forced a fumble with a big hit on Michael Hoomanawanui midway through the fourth to extinguish a promising Saints drive.

*Kelly rolled the dice twice on fourth down and came up empty both times. The second came on 4th-and-9 from the New Orleans’ 35 late in the half. Cooper was slow to get up after a Bradford incompletion in his direction. Nelson Agholor injured his left ankle on the play. He exited for the locker room a short time later. Cooper returned.

*Marcus Smith was active and got a handful of plays. He appeared to string a couple of productive snaps together in the second quarter. He got pressure on Brees late in the game on the play that resulted in a Walter Thurmond interception, though he may have gotten away with a hit to the head.

*Sturgis missed an extra point for the second game in a row but was 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts with a long of 41.