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Ten Thoughts from Eagles win Over Broncos

From the imminent return of Miles Sanders to Teddy Bridgewater's response for not trying to tackle Darius Slay and plenty else in my thoughts
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DENVER – The Eagles won yet another road game. That’s four now, which are all the wins they have this season which are all the wins they had last season.

Now, if they can only figure out how to win at home when their next chance comes Sunday when the New Orleans Saints (5-4) visit Lincoln Financial Field.

First things first, though, and that’s a closer look at the Eagles’ 30-13 win against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday.

Here are 10 thoughts:

Miles Sanders. Whatever will the Eagles do when Sanders comes off Injured Reserve, which will likely be this week after he has missed three games.

Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and to a lesser degree, Kenny Gainwell, have taken the running game to a whole other level.

The Eagles have run for 200-plus yards in two of their last three games after Sunday’s 214-yard outing. It’s the first time they have run for 175-plus yards in three straight games in Nov. 5-Nov. 26, 2017, and just the ninth time ever they have done it.

“We know how good of a player Miles Sanders is and we really look forward to getting him back,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “They (Howard, Scott, Gainwell) have been running hard. They’re hard to tackle. They’re hard to get down.

“…They’ve just done a really nice job of filling in and we are going to have some tough decisions. It is a good problem to have, but we’ll do whatever we think is necessary to win the next game. They’ve done a great job filling in in the absence of Miles.”

Jalen Hurts. There is no question Hurts is a more effective quarterback with a running game. He only had to attempt 23 passes on Sunday and had only one completion in the second half, but when the running backs are doing the kind of damage they have done on the ground, why throw more?

Hurts completed 16 passes for 178 yards with two TDs to DeVonta Smith and his first interception since Oct. 14.

“We just want to go out there and be consistent at whatever it is, attacking the defense, whether we’re throwing it 40 times or running it 40 times,” said Hurts. “Whatever it is, we want to be efficient. When you’re efficient as a football team, as an offense, and how you attack, good things happen.”

Teddy Bridgewater. If the Broncos QB showed that sort of lack of effort in not bothering to try to even slow Darius Slay on his 83-yard scoop-and-score, he’d be getting ripped in Philly. Well, it was so egregious, he’s getting ripped in Denver, too.

The local sports news channel does a Broncos Extra newscast and it was a topic of conversation Sunday night.

“Just tried to force the ball back,” said Bridgewater after the game. “When you sit in a team meeting and watch coach put up plays throughout the league and two-minute situations and different things - our defense has guys running toward the sideline. We always say, ‘The sideline is your friend.’ I tried to force the ball back. That’s all I tried to do right there.”

The excuse doesn’t measure up.

Time of possession. The Eagles won it for just the third time this year and they are 3-0 in those games.

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“You control the time of possession then you can just slowly grind them down (with a rushing attack) and it makes the pass rush a lot easier (to deal with),” said RT Lane Johnson. “It makes the game easier when you can do that. We’ve done well the past few weeks. We have to keep it up.”

Red zone defense. The Broncos were inside the Eagles’ 20 five times, typically that’s been a formula for success for opponents. The Eagles were near the bottom of the league in red-zone defense, but Denver scored only one touchdown and kicked two field goals. The two times they did not score was due to a blocked, 22-yard field goal try by K’Von Wallace and the other was turned over on downs.

Derek Barnett. He was flagged for the 11th personal foul penalty of his career after getting what would have been his second sack of the game. The flag was thrown late and probably because Barnett pushed down hard on Bridgewater, driving him into the ground while getting up. Or maybe it was just a reputation flag.

Uniforms. It was a look that drew some Twitter criticism, with black pants and white jerseys. Hurts admitted that it was his idea to go with that loo.

“I know there’s a big deal about the black pants we wore,” said the QB. “I take full credit for it. I worked really hard to get (owner) Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie to try to switch it up a little bit. I appreciate him letting us wear the black pants. I hope the fans liked it. I know they liked the win.”

Me? The new-look grew on me as the game wore on until it was hardly noticeable

Offense. For the second week in a row, the Eagles' offense could not pick up a first down deep in their own territory after being given the ball on big plays. Last week, it was the goal-line stand the defense made on the Chargers’ first drive. The offense took over at the 1 and went three-and-out. L.A. got the ball in good field position and drove for a TD.

In Denver, it was Wallace’s block that gave the offense the ball at the 10. A three-and-out coupled with a 19-yard punt return and the Broncos had a short field. They couldn’t cash a touchdown but got an easy field goal.

It’s the O’s job to pick up a first down or two in that situation and flip field position.

The three-and-out, however, was one of just two for the Eagles.

30 and 80: After not scoring at least 30 points once in the 2020 season, the Eagles have now done it four times. They are 3-1, with wins over the Falcons, Lions, and Broncos. The loss came to the Chiefs.

Also, Bridgewater wasn’t able to become the fifth QB to complete 80-plus percent of his throws

Dallas Goedert. The tight end left after just 13 snaps with a concussion. There’s a chance he could make it through protocols in time to play against the Saints. Defensive end Josh Sweat did it in a week after being concussed against the Chargers.

In Goedert’s place were unproven Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson Stoll got 42 snaps and made two catches for six yards. Jackson played 27 snaps and didn’t get a target.

MORE: Davion Taylor, Darius Slay Make Game Turning Play in 30-13 Win vs. Broncos

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.