Let the over-reactions begin.
There is nothing quite like Week 1 of the National Football League season. Fans can learn everything they need to know about their favorite team and learn absolutely nothing about how the rest of the season will go. The problem with all of it, is there is no telling what really matters.
Except one thing. The Eagles won.
Ugly. Concerning. Frustrating.
Yes, yes and yes.
Telling? Well, maybe.
The Eagles erupted out of the tunnel to jump out to a 16-0 lead powered by a pair of turnovers — a Darius Slay interception return and a fumble recovery gifted to the Eagles by former Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Eagles looked prepared to embarrass the Patriots on a day when they honored future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
What followed was three quarters of uninspired offense, passive defense and a slow leak of a big lead that never felt safe until the penultimate snap with a shaky defensive stop in the final minute.
Meanwhile, on the other side of our state, San Francisco provided a beatdown of the Steelers. Worse, Dallas stomped on the Giants to an embarrassing degree on national television.
Even Washington staged a comeback win to earn its one-third of first place in the NFC East.
So, really, what did we learn?
Both Eagles first-year coordinators struggled to find any continuity. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson had a good script of plays to start the game, but stalled deep in the red zone for an early Jake Elliott field goal. After Slay’s interception return TD, the Eagles offense turned a short field into another touchdown. From there, the offense downshifted into neutral.
If not for three deep field goals from the Eagles’ Elliott of 56, 48 and 51 yards, the result would have, could have been much different.
Defensive coordinator Sean Desai opened up with two huge turnovers, then went into a familiar shell of passive zone coverage and pure-vanilla pass rushes. The combination allowed a midlevel quarterback, Mac Jones, to nearly pull off an improbable comeback.
There were some things for the defense to build on.
The University of Georgia connection of Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis both got their first career sacks. Linebacker Nakobe Dean showed some promise but didn’t finish out the game with a foot injury that may be a concern going forward.
Still, all that matters is the final score. The Eagles won. It could have been worse.
Giants fans knew it, even before Dallas poured 40 unanswered points on their parade.
Bengals fans knew it. Just days after quarterback Joe Burrow became the latest “highest-paid players in NFL history,” Cincinnati manages just three points in a loss to cross-state rival Cleveland.
Even the reigning Super Bowl champs figured it out. Our old friend Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrated a brand-new championship banner with a one-point loss to the Lions.
The Eagles have a short turnaround before facing Minnesota on Thursday Night Football, having learned the most important lesson Week 1 ever teaches – a win is better than a loss. ••