Eagles Football Forces an Old-School Game
The Philadelphia Eagles continued their undefeated season with a win in Tampa Bay. The final score was 25-11, but the feeling watching the game was that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were utterly dominated. While the Buccaneers didn’t come into the season with many expectations, they surprised people over the first two weeks with two good performances that had them undefeated coming into Monday Night. While they did not have many pundits or experts picking them to beat the Eagles, a lot of people including myself believed the Buccaneers could force some problems on the Eagles. However, the win by the Eagles wasn’t completely crisp or clean, but it should scare other teams even more than the same Eagles team did last year.
Passing Game Was Better, But Who Cares?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came in giving up the fourth least number of rushing yards (54 yards per game) in the league. They have studs along their defensive front, with Vita Vea, Lavonte David, Devin White, Shaq Barrett, and more. Head Coach Todd Bowles is also someone who prides himself and his team on being tough and stopping the run. While the Eagles did have a solid day on the air, showing the ability to move the ball better in that way than weeks previous, the run game is what allowed that. For a team that usually gives up little more than 50 rushing yards a game, being able to put 181 rushing yards on them is special.
It is encouraging that the Eagles were able to move the ball more fluently through the air, even with the two interceptions from Hurts. But make no mistake, the biggest reason the pass game has been doing better is because teams are terrified of getting run over. Early in the game, the Eagles successfully ran the ball on the Buccaneers and forced them to throw more defenders in the box, which in turn gave better looks for Hurts and the Eagles receivers. D’andre Swift deserves credit for his performances and he’s an explosive player the Eagles have not had at running back for a while. Yet, I do not think there’s a team in the league that you can say will not be at a disadvantage against this Eagles offensive line. The passing game will get better along the season, but it will never have to be the only option.
D'Andre Swift shows off his bunnies on the 25 yard run! 🐰
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 26, 2023
Eagles Defensive Line Makes Other Teams Play Old-School
While the Eagles’ offensive line enforces an Old-School play style on the opposing defense, the Eagles’ defensive line does the same for opposing offenses. The Buccaneers offense up to this game was a good unit, that took care of the ball and could make plays in the passing game. While they did make a few plays in the passing game late in the game, they were mostly stifled throughout. The biggest reason was because of their defensive line, putting pressure, and making plays throughout.
The Buccaneers’ passing attack was completely thrown out of rhythm and ended up causing turnovers, which slowly made the game out of reach. It will be impossible for almost every team to be able to sit back and throw the ball against this defensive line, especially if the offense is forced into being one-dimensional. For a team to have success against the Eagles’ defensive line, the opposing offense will need to be able to run the ball, or it will be a long game.
Eagles Football is Unmatched Around the League
Altogether, it’s hard to imagine more than a few will not be forced into the type of Eagles football that they like to play. The Eagles’ offense may not be quite as exciting as last year, but with the performance of the Eagles’ trenches on both sides of the ball, it’s getting harder and harder to find the team that can match up with them. Teams just cannot let themselves go down on the scoreboard early, because if they cannot establish the run and are forced to throw too much, the game will get ugly fast with guys like Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat pinning their ears back.
At the end of the day, teams need to be able to run and control the ball and play the brand of Eagles football that no teams are built for anymore. There are still things to clean up for the Eagles, but again if they play the style they’re playing currently, they are more than good enough to get back to the Super Bowl, even if it’s in a more grueling way. The Eagles will test this notion again next week against another good defensive line with the Washington Commanders.
Main Photo: [Nathan Ray Seebeck]- USA Today Sports