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October 24, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Redskins game

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 6-1 Monday night in a prime-time win over the the Washington Redskins, by the score of 34-24. As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The '(Almost) Mid-Season MVP' Award: Carson Wentz

If the season ended today, there's no doubt whatsoever who would be the NFL's MVP. That would be Mr. Carson Wentz.

Against the Redskins, he was 17 of 25 for 268 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, and passer rating of 126.3. But those numbers don't even tell the story of how good he is. Wentz's highlight-reel TD pass to Corey Clement was nothing short of incredible.

I mean, lol.

And then there was this Houdini play on a crucial 3rd and 8.

Or how about this dime to Mack Hollins?

MVP. Er, (almost) mid-season MVP.

2) The 'Sweep' Award: The Eagles

After being swept by the Redskins in each of the last two years (and losing five straight games overall), the Eagles broke out the brooms for WASTEAM this season. They now have at least a 2.5-game lead on the rest of the NFC East, with a 3-0 divisional record. An updated look at the NFC East standings:

 NFC EastRecord Div Record Conf record GB 
 Eagles6-1 3-0 5-0 - 
 Cowboys3-3 1-0 3-2 2.5 
 Redskins3-3 0-2 2-2 2.5 
Giants 1-6 0-2 0-5 5 


It's been a long time since the NFC East standings looking something like that.

3) The 'Devastating Injury' Award: Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks

This win didn't come without serious consequences. The Eagles may have lost both Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks for an extended period of time, and possibly the entire season. Peters had his knee rolled up on, and had to be carted off the field, as the fans chanted his name. Hicks was carted off as well, on what looks like a very serious ankle injury.

Peters was having an outstanding season at the ripe old age of 35. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles opt to move Lane Johnson over to LT, or if they just leave him at RT and plug in Halapoulivaati Vaitai at LT.

Meanwhile, Hicks wasn't having his best season thus far, but is unquestionably one of the Eagles' best playmakers on defense, and excellent in coverage. Assuming Mychal Kendricks' soft tissues cooperate, he's a viable replacement at linebacker.

4) The 'Connor Barwin' Award: Mack Hollins

As I was driving to the stadium this evening at around 5:00 p.m., I was on Broad St. at a red light waiting to turn left onto Pattison, when I saw Mack Hollins casually moseying along on his bike on the way to the stadium.

Like Connor Barwin used to do, apparently, Hollins rides his bike to work regularly. Hollins looked like he was on his bike once again when he rolled right on by Redskins safety DJ Swearinger for the 64 yard TD shown above.

And then he punctuated the score with not one, but two TD celebrations. First, he did something like this:

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OK, so it didn't really look anything like that, but whatever ...

And then Hollins and the Eagles went back to the baseball theme:

On the season, Hollins has been targeted by Wentz six times. He has six catches for 134 yards and a TD.

5) The 'Rookie Contribution' Award: Hollins, Derek Barnett and Corey Clement

In addition to the Hollins' touchdown, a pair of other Eagles rookies had important contributions. Derek Barnett had two sacks, and Corey Clement made a nice catch on Wentz's highlight-reel play shown above.

Earlier this week, we noted that Barnett has shown flashes of ability, and the sacks would come, perhaps in clusters. Barnett has continued to grind, and two sacks came his way Monday night.

6) The 'Stone Wall' Award: The Eagles' run defense

In a pass-heavy league, having a great run defense has become underrated to some, in my view. However, if you can stop the run, you can make your opponent one-dimensional, and then it becomes far easier to stop the pass.

The Redskins were 10th in the NFL in rushing offense heading into Week 7, but they barely tried to run it at all in each of their matchups against the Eagles this season. In Week 1, Washington ran the ball with their backs 13 times for 34 yards. Monday night they ran it with their backs 14 times for 54 yards.

The Eagles have the best run-defense in the NFL, as they are allowing just 67 rushing yards per game. That is due mostly to the Eagles' early-down front four of Vinny Curry, Timmy Jernigan, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham.

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And oh yeah, those guys can rush the passer too.

7) The 'Empty Stats' Award: Kirk Cousins

If you look at Cousins' stat line, you'll see that he went 30 of 40 for 303 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 110.7. On the eye test, Cousins' night did not match his stat line.

8) The 'Other Breakout Star' Award: Zach Ertz

On the night, Ertz was targeted five times. He had five catches for 89 yards and a TD. On the season, Ertz now has 39 catches for 494 yards, 5 TDs, and only one drop. He is on pace for 89 catches for 1129 yards and 11 TDs. 

And he's even getting yards after the catch now too!

9) The 'Favorable Conditions' Award: The Eagles' schedule

Looking ahead, the Eagles will host the 0-7 San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, followed by the 3-3 Denver Broncos, who just got beaten soundly the last two weeks by the Giants and Chargers. And then they have their bye.

Not to give them W's before they play the games, but there's a very realistic possibility that the Eagles will be 8-1 heading into their bye week before what will be a big matchup in Dallas against the Cowboys.

10) The 'Dutch Destroyer' Award: Lukas Kusters and Carson Wentz

If you haven't seen the story by ESPN on Lucas Kusters, who had a "Make-A-Wish" day with Carson Wentz back in May, and passed away shortly thereafter, just go now.

Kusters' family was in attendance for Monday night's game against the Redskins, and they were treated to the game ball that was caught by Zach Ertz for a touchdown in the second quarter. 

Wentz spent time with the family both before and after the game. In addition to being a great football player, he is also the height of class.


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