DeVonta for the victory: Smith stars as Eagles stay unbeaten
Sep 25, 2022, 1:18 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — DeVonta Smith caught eight passes from Jalen Hurts for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown, Carson Wentz flopped in his first game against the team that drafted him and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Washington Commanders 24-8 Sunday to remain unbeaten.
Smith made acrobatic catches along the sideline and to the edge of the end zone for respective gains of 45 and 44 yards, and hauled in a TD pass on fourth down to end the first half with no time left on the clock. The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama surpassed his previous professional high for yards receiving before halftime.
His 156 yards were the most by an Eagles player in a half since Kevin Curtis in 2007. And Smith was just one part of another clinical offensive performance by Philadelphia (3-0).
Hurts was 22 of 35 for 340 yards and three touchdown passes, one each to Smith, A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert. Coming off a three-TD game with two on the ground, Hurts continued to show he could get the job done with his throwing arm, along with his legs.
The quarterback he replaced as the Eagles starter was completely ineffective and got sacked nine times. Wentz, the second pick in the 2016 draft to Philadelphia on his third team in three years, was 25 of 43 for 211 yards with two fumbles — one lost, which set up Goedert’s 22-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
All but 24 of Wentz’s passing yards came in the second half, long after the outcome had been determined.
Washington (1-2) had just 50 yards at halftime, and the defense wasn’t much better. The troubling trend of giving up big-yardage plays only got worse in the aftermath of a loss at Detroit.
EASY BEING GREEN
After Smith’s catch to the Washington 1-yard line, Brown and other teammates called for noise from the crowd, and they got plenty of it all game. Eagles fans outnumbered Commanders counterparts, with nearly the entire sideline behind the visiting benches full of midnight green.
The stadium at times sounded more like it was in South Philly than near the beltway around Washington. “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!” chants filled the air, and the Commanders even had a false start penalty that could be attributed to the crowd in their home building.
The Eagles had six sacks in the first half alone. Among the nine for the game, Brandon Graham led Philadelphia with 2½, while Fletcher Cox, Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat each had a sack and a half.
Chalk up a few of those sacks to protection breakdowns combined with a smart game plan by defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Others happened when Wentz held onto the ball too long.
NO CATCH CHALLENGE
Smith’s longest catch of the day might not have been a completion at all. He caught the ball at the right sideline, though it wasn’t clear if he got both feet in bounds.
The Eagles snapped the ball for the next play before Washington coach Ron Rivera could challenge. Rivera was heated, insisting he threw his red challenge flag. Referee Ronal Torbert announced Rivera tossed the flag after the snap.
Eagles: Reddick and Goedert each left briefly but returned. … LG Landon Dickerson played after being listed as questionable with a foot injury.
Commanders: S Kamren Curl was injured in the fourth quarter. … CB William Jackson (back), DE James Smith-Williams (abdomen), DE Casey Toohill (concussion) and DT Daniel Wise (ankle) were all inactive. Jackson was not added to the injury report until Saturday, and the absence of a starter who played 97% of defensive snaps through two games pressed waiver wire addition Rachad Wildgoose into regular duty.
Eagles: Host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
Commanders: Visit the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.
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