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Takeaways From The Eagles’ Dominant Divisional Round Win

The Eagles have made it to the NFC Championship Game. 

Philadelphia was in a state of celebration for the majority of their matchup with the Giants. The Eagles hosted New York’s playoff representative at the Linc and jumped out to an early lead. After an opening drive touchdown, the Eagles forced a turnover-on-downs after back-to-back sacks from Haason Reddick. The ensuing possession yielded another touchdown, and the Birds coasted through for the victory.

We explore the primary takeaways from the matchup, and what the Philadelphia Eagles can take through to the NFC Championship.

The Rushing Attack Wreaks Havoc

Jalen Hurts played his second career playoff game in pain.

In fact, before the game, the star quarterback told Pam Oliver that his shoulder is “nowhere near 100%”. He also was dealing with some kind of bug. As a result, the Eagles seemed to lean a little bit more on the ground attack, shortening the game with their comfortable lead whilst indirectly preserving their injured signal caller.

Firstly, Miles Sanders was terrific. The workhorse back did a terrific job of exercising patience rushing the ball, allowing the offensive line to set their blocks and give him consistent lanes to work through. Sanders was given 17 attempts on the ground, for a total of 90 yards.

Secondly, Kenneth Gainwell made a case for a potential look at the lead-back role next season. The second-year running back had 112 yards and a touchdown from just 12 carries. He also caught one pass for a nine-yard gain. Furthermore, veteran Boston Scott also contributed to the rushing attack, with six attempts for 32 yards. He also scored, which is his 11th career touchdown against the Giants. Scott has reached the end zone a total of 19 times in his five professional seasons. The Giant Killer did it again.

The Pass Rush Rises Again

The Eagles had 70 sacks this season.

That mark was good for third all-time in NFL history. Their first playoff game was no different. Philadelphia racked up five sacks and four tackles for loss. Their defensive line wreaked havoc on the Giants’ offensive line, once again making multiple big plays that swung the game.

The pass rush was led by Haason Reddick. The edge defender had seven total quarterback pressures, five hurries, 1.5 sacks, and three stops. Furthermore, he ended the game with an 89.7 overall PFF defensive grade. Reddick also had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, and consistently threw off the offense’s timing in the passing game and when they went to the ground.

Moreover, Philadelphia had a bevy of linemen contributing on defense. Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Coxall notched at least one sack and combined for a total of 12 quarterback pressures. The trio also had six hurries, two tackles for loss, and five PFF credited stops.

If the Eagles are going to defeat the San Fransisco 49ers, they must be able to pressure rookie quarterback sensation, Brock Purdy. The first-year signal-caller was sacked on 18% of his total pressures during the regular season. If the Eagles can consistently get after Purdy in the passing game, they should be able to create negative plays that get Kyle Shanahan off-script. That will be a major contributing factor to defensive success.

Lock Down Secondary Clamps Giants

The Giants seemed to be completely padlocked by the Eagles’ secondary.

The unit was led by the exceptional play of former New York cornerback James Bradberry. The veteran defensive back was extraordinary, allowing just one catch on four targets for a total of three yards. Furthermore, Bradberry had one PFF credited stop, two passes defended, and one interception. His exceptionalism led to Daniel Jones struggling to throw his way.

Furthermore, the remaining core of Darius Slay, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Epps, and Reed Blankenship was terrific. The combination combined to allow just 106 yards from 17 targets. They combined for three pass breakups and five PFF credited stops.

Blankenship and Gardner-Johnson provided fantastic run support while containing the passing game well. Jones was visibly uncomfortable attempting anything downfield and was sacked on five different occasions. While the Giants were able to snag 118 yards on the ground from just 20 carries, the Eagles completely shut down any air attack.

Philadelphia will need to contain the run game of San Fransisco. Shanahan will be more than happy to methodically move the ball on the ground and keep the ball out of the hands of this dynamic offense. Thus, if the Eagles can hold up against the rush, their coverage prowess and pass rush could limit the fleet of skilled superstars on the Niners’ roster.

It won’t be easy, but the Eagles are one win away from the Super Bowl. They must be balanced against the 49ers to come out of the NFC, and their biggest test to date.

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