A.J. Brown-Jalen Hurts pairing off to a fantastic begin in win over Lions

By Ralph Vacchiano

FOX Sports activities NFC East author

The Eagles traded a first- and third-round draft decide for receiver A.J. Brown after which gave him a $100 million contract as a result of they believed he was a difference-maker. They thought he might remodel their offense.

And in Week 1, it certain regarded like they have been proper.

Brown was all the things the Eagles hoped he can be of their season-opening, nail-biting, 38-35 win over the Detroit Lions. He had 10 catches for a career-high 155 yards — essentially the most yards ever for an Eagles participant in his Philly debut, and essentially the most for any Eagles receiver in 4 years. He caught greater than half of quarterback Jalen Hurts’ completions and accounted for 64 % of his passing yards.

He and Hurts have been the Eagles offense. Brown’s catches and Hurts’ runs (17 for 90 yards) accounted for 54 % of the 455 yards the Eagles gained. 

“He made plays,” Hurts stated after the sport. “He made big-time plays today. A.J. made a lot of plays that gave us a lot of momentum.” 

The Eagles beat Lions 38-35 behind 216 yards, 4 TD on floor

Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown led to the Eagles to a season-opening win

For a lot of the recreation, Brown and Hurts have been the one ones making performs in any respect for the Eagles. That half’s not good. They want far more steadiness if they will be severe contenders this season. DeVonta Smith, who had 64 catches for 916 yards as a rookie final season, cannot get shut out like he did on Sunday. And Eagles coach Nick Sirianni goes to have to make use of his working backs extra typically than he did, particularly early, and particularly contemplating the energy of this staff must be its offensive line.

It sounded, at the least, like that was the plan. Even Brown did not assume he’d be such a dominant a part of the assault.

“To be honest, I didn’t,” he stated. “We had a game plan, but sometimes the ball keeps finding me. We know we have weapons on offense. Today it was my day.”

It certain was. No matter all the things else — together with a protection that hardly regarded prepared for a run on the division title — the 25-year-old Brown confirmed what’s potential with this Eagles’ offense. He re-introduced Hurts to the center of the sphere, which was a spot the place he not often threw final season. He proved to be a clutch receiver, bailing out Hurts when he was being chased by the relentless Lions move rush.

And when Hurts acquired time to function, Brown confirmed everybody what a real No. 1 receiver can do. That is what occurred late within the first half, when the Lions despatched 4 defensive ends after Hurts and the Eagles line did not let any of them by means of. That gave Brown an opportunity to get downfield and Hurts hit him with an ideal move for a 54-yard acquire, organising a late area aim.

“That was a dime,” Brown stated. “It fell out of the sky.”

It was an ideal move. Nevertheless it was additionally a terrific catch — the sort of play that high receivers make in a giant second, and the sort of play Eagles have been clearly missing final yr.

Having that on this offense modifications a lot. There have been stretches of the sport the place the Lions could not unleash their move rush, when Hurts and Brown have been clicking on their fast slants. And with the center of the sphere out of the blue an possibility within the passing recreation, the Lions have been pressured to play their linebackers farther off the road of scrimmage and could not hold their safeties down within the field as typically as they most likely would have favored.

That not solely gave Hurts extra room to run to the skin, for the reason that protection wasn’t slanted in the direction of the sidelines, but it surely gave the Eagles working backs extra room to run up the center. Not that Sirianni took a lot benefit of that for a lot of the sport, however the center is the place Miles Sanders had most of his 96 speeding yards as soon as he lastly acquired concerned.

And it made an enormous distinction for Hurts. He did not put up big numbers within the passing recreation — simply 18 for 32 for 243 yards — however he regarded extra comfy within the pocket than he did final season. Possibly he took off on the run slightly an excessive amount of, however he appeared to run intelligently and knew when to throw the ball away. And some occasions, when he was actually in hassle, he was in a position to keep his composure on the run and one way or the other discover Brown.

Having a security valve like that, and a such a dependable weapon, is all the things for a younger quarterback. And it confirmed.

“He had complete control out there today,” Sirianni stated. “He saw the field perfectly.”

Possibly not completely, but it surely was clearly an enchancment.  Even Hurts stated his efficiency “didn’t meet my standards today” and he added “There’s always more out there.” Regardless of 38 factors, 455 yards of offense, there undoubtedly was.

As a result of the addition of Brown means this Eagles offense will not be one-dimensional anymore. They are not caught with exterior throws and a working recreation dominated by Hurts. Brown goes to persistently command the eye of each protection the Eagles play. That ought to filter lots of room for Smith and tight finish Dallas Goedert to place up some numbers within the passing recreation, and provides Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott much more room up the center to run.

Brown, although, is clearly the man on this offense. That is why Eagles GM Howie Roseman went after him so aggressively throughout the NFL draft, and why he signed him to that $100 million contract with $56 million assured.

‘We’re off to a fantastic begin’ – AJ Brown on new begin with the Eagles in 38-35 victory

'We're off to a great start' - AJ Brown on new start with the Eagles in 38-35 victory

AJ Brown spoke with Christina Pink about his reference to Jalen Hurts and his first impressions within the Philadelphia Eagles’ 38-35 victory.

It was for performances just like the one we noticed Sunday in Detroit. His presence might make the Eagles top-of-the-line offenses in soccer. And whereas their hope is that Brown will not have to hold the Eagles offense all season, he simply confirmed that he can try this.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, protecting the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years protecting the Giants and the Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that he spent 16 years protecting the Giants and the NFL for the New York Every day Information. A Lengthy Island, N.Y. native and graduate of Syracuse College, he may be discovered on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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