LANDOVER, Md. - A second quarter for the ages lifted Philadelphia past Washington, 24-8, at FedExField on Sunday.
It was hard to decide the more dominant performance when discussing offense vs. defense but the fact that the embattled defensive front registered nine sacks and two forced fumbles on the former face of the franchise, Carson Wentz, over the first 30 minutes set the tone.
The Commanders played well early on defense but began to wear down under the weight of Philadelphia's explosive-play ability and the ineffectiveness of their own offense.
The Eagles are 3-0 for the first time since 2016, Doug Pederson's first season as head coach. Philadelphia faltered from there and finished 7-9 before making the run to Super Bowl LII a year later.
This team looks far more prepared and talented to build on a good start.
EXPLOSIVES AND TURNOVERS - The Eagles coaching staff stresses that these are the two categories that translate to winning and the Philadelphia offense continues to produce explosive plays more often than anyone else while also protecting the football well for team that pushed the envelope so much.
DEVONTA SMITH - Everyone knows how talented Smith is but this was his coming out party, ringing up 154 receiving yards in the first half, the second-most ever by an Eagles player in the first 30 minutes of the game, trailing only Kevin Curtis' 205 yards on Sept. 23, 2007, vs. Detroit. Things settled down a bit but Smith finished with career-highs in receptions with eight and 169 yards.
WINNING OUTSIDE THE MARGINS - One of Smith's big plays was a brilliant 45-yard gain down the right sideline with an amazing degree of difficulty that was ruled a toe-tap on the field. ln fact, it may have not been a catch and Ron Rivera wanted to challenge but didn't get the information quickly enough to do so because Philadelphia was able to hurry to the line and get off another play while Rivera was mulling his options.
INJURIES - Washington was missing its starting center Chase Roullier and William Jackson, a key cornerback. The Eagles' staff was smart enough to target those deficiencies and the interior of the offensive line exposed Wes Schweitzer all afternoon while Quez Watkins was able to draw two big pass interference penalties on Rachad Wildgoose which really kickstarted the offense.
PASS RUSH - Forgive Jonathan Gannon if he does a little gloating. The Eagles got home again and again and they largely did it with a four-man pass rush. The Eagles finished with nice sacks in the game and didn't need the blitz to get them.
JALEN HURTS - A slow start turned into explosive play after explosive play again. The first half is when it mattered and Hurts became the first Eagles QB to throw for 275-or-more yards (279) and 3-or-more TDs in the first half of a game since Donovan McNabb on Sept. 7, 2008 vs. St. Louis (297 yards, 3 TDs). Hurts ended the game with 340 yards passing and three TDs with a 123.5 passer rating.
BRITAIN COVEY - There wasn't much to complain about in this one but Covey did muff a punt and when he returned them he really took some terrible hits. The Eagles are out of elevations when it comes to Covey so they will have to put him on the 53 or expose him to waivers. It's also notable that when Washington was backed up and punting, Philadelphia went to Smith as the PR when it thought a big return was on the table.
FOOT ON THE GAS - Nick Sirianni blamed himself for taking the foot off the gas on Monday night against Minnesota yet the Eagles did the same thing, though Nick Sirianni said the offense was more aggressive this time.
THE RUNNING GAME - Philadelphia usually runs the ball at will but noted just how talented Jonathan Allen and Daron Allen are in the middle of the Washington front. The team just didn't get the push up front it usually does.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Sports. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talker Jody McDonald, every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com and JAKIBSports.com. You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen