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November 26, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Bears game

Eagles NFL

It felt a lot like the Philadelphia Eagles' matchup against the Chicago Bears was over before it even started, as the Eagles manhandled the Bears for four quarters, on their way to a 31-3 blowout win. The Eagles are now 10-1. I'll repeat. The Eagles are now 10-1.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Blowout' Award: Doug Pederson and the Eagles

Over their last four games, all blowouts, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 152-45, an average deficit of 26.8 points per game. 

In reality, the Eagles haven't been threatened in the 4th quarter of any game since Week 6 in Carolina. While I don't subscribe to the "They have to lose a game" theory, a little 4th quarter adversity might do them some good heading into the playoffs.

2) The 'You'll Get Nothing And Like It' Award: The Eagles' first-half defense

The Eagles defense had as dominant of a performance as you'll see in the NFL, as they allowed no first downs. I don't care who the opponent is – that is extraordinarily impressive.

Bears offense: "I want field goals, no, touchdowns, and first downs, and yards, and points..."

Eagles defense: "You'll get nothing and like it!"

3) The 'Stone Wall' Award

Last Sunday night against Dallas, the Eagles were not happy that they gave up over 100 yards on the ground to the Cowboys, even in a blowout win. 

"There's some teams in the league that – what did we give up, 110, 112," Jim Schwartz asked on Tuesday. "I think some people might get a pat on the back for that. I think it's a tribute to the players in the locker room that that's a poor performance for them, and they consider it a poor performance."

Well, they took it out on the Bears, completely obliterating their rushing offense, allowing 4 yards on 13 carries, and -6 yards to the Bears' running backs. As a reminder, the Bears' starting running back is Jordan Howard, who finished second in rushing to Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. That season, Howard carried 252 times for 1313 yards (5.2 YPC) and 6 TDs. In 2017, heading into Week 12, Howard was third in rushing, with 192 carries for 841 yards (4.4 YPC) and 5 TDs. 

On Sunday, he had 7 carries for 6 yards. On the season, here is what the Eagles have done to opposing running backs:

 Opposing RBsRushes Yards YPC TD 
 Redskins13 34 2.6 
 Chiefs13 81 6.2 
 Giants17 49 2.9 
 Chargers13 58 4.5 
 Cardinals13 17 1.3 
 Panthers13 0.1 
 Redskins14 54 3.9 
 49ers18 54 3.0 
Broncos 19 35 1.8 
 Cowboys25 102 4.1 
 Bears10 -6 -0.6 
 TOTAL168 491 2.9 

We'll once again primarily credit the starting front four of Vinny Curry, Timmy Jernigan, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham, though the Eagles have certainly gotten plenty of contributions from other players in the run game as well.


4) The 'Grind It Out' Award: The Eagles' rushing offense

Meanwhile, the Eagles gained 176 yards on the ground on 33 carries. The Eagles have 1622 rushing yards this season. They have allowed 716 rushing yards this season.

They have out-gained their opponents by 82.4 yards per game on the ground. What the Eagles are doing in the trenches this season is truly special.

5) The 'TD Streak' Award: Alshon Jeffery

Against his former team, Jeffery had 5 catches for 52 yards and a TD. That is the fourth game in a row that Jeffery has caught a TD pass (he has 5 in the last 4 games). Jeffery doesn't have big yardage numbers, but he has gotten in the end zone. 

A season ago, Zach Ertz led the team with four touchdown receptions. Ertz and Jeffery each have 7 so far this season.

6) The 'Get To the Choppah!' Award: Kenjon Barner

On one of the many shanked punts by Bears punter Pat O'Donnell, the ball was rolling toward Jaylen Watkins. If it touched him, that would be a live ball. Watkins tried to roll away from it like it was some kind of venomous snake, when Barner sprung to action like an action hero, pulling Watkins away from the deadly football.

That was sort of a nothing, amusing play that had little effect on the game, but it does show the intelligence of this team.

7) The 'Benched' Award: Carson Wentz 

Yes, Carson Wentz was 23 of 36 for 227 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, and a QB rating of 109.4, but he was benched for the third time this season. #Bust.

8) The 'Thank God for Celebrations' Award: The NFL

One of the rule changes the NFL made this offseason was allowing team celebrations after touchdowns. Earlier this week, we ranked the Eagles' top 7 celebrations so far this season. Against the Bears, the Eagles broke out this gem:

And then there was this after a Rasul Douglas interception that was eventually overturned on review, but whatever.

And then they did it again after Corey Graham's late interception.


9) The Home Run Hitter Award: Jay Ajayi

In his first three games with the Eagles, Ajayi only has 20 total carries, but he has ripped off a run of at least 30 yards in every game. Against the Bears, he fumbled at the end of a 30-yard run but was bailed out by Nelson Agholor, who recovered the fumble in the end zone for a TD.

10) The 'Magic Number' Award: The Dancing Elephant

With the Eagles' win over the Bears, the Eagles need just one more win or one Cowboys loss to win the NFC East. If you choose to celebrate this fact with a dancing elephant, click play on the video below:

I mean, the division doesn't really matter anymore. NFC East? Pfft. At this point, it's 1 seed or bust.

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