Five quick postgame thoughts on the Eagles' 51-23 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field:
For a guy who was supposed to be eased into the Eagles' offense, newly acquired running back Jay Ajayi appeared an awfully quick study. He ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run late in the first half, scooting around left end thanks to a clear-out block by Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and finished with a team-high 77 yards on eight carries. Plus, his mere presence early on opened up the Eagles' play-action passing game. Figuring Ajayi wouldn't be on the field unless the Eagles were handing him the ball, the Broncos bit on three Carson Wentz fakes to him.
Curry has been just another cog in the Eagles' defensive-line rotation for most of this season, but on Sunday, he stood out. On the Broncos' second possession, Curry dropped tailback C.J. Anderson for a two-yard loss with a brutal tackle that knocked Anderson out of the game for a while with an ankle injury. Then, late in the second quarter, he sacked Brock Osweiler for an eight-yard loss.
He threw four touchdown passes Sunday, giving him 23 through just nine games, putting him on pace to finish the season with 41. That total would obliterate the franchise record of 32, set by Sonny Jurgensen in 1961. The skill-position additions that the Eagles have made – Alshon Jeffery, Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount – have helped and will continue to help Wentz, but his improvement, independent of them, has been remarkable. If he's not the leading candidate to be the NFL's MVP this season, who is?
When the Eagles deactivated Zach Ertz for Sunday's game because of a hamstring injury, it was natural to think it might hurt them greatly against a highly regarded Denver defense. As it turned out, Ertz's absence had no tangible effect on the game, other than to create more opportunities for Brent Celek and Trey Burton, who combined for five catches, 80 yards, and a touchdown. And the Eagles got the benefit of giving Ertz an additional week to rest and heal before their Nov. 19 game in Arlington against the Cowboys.
Osweiler has been a walking, talking, receiver-missing punch line after signing a four-year, $72-million contract with the Houston Texans before last season, only to lose his job and get traded to the Cleveland Browns. It's not his fault that the Texans gave him the money, of course, but his performance Sunday reaffirmed why the Broncos, who had him in 2015, didn't re-sign him then. He completed just 19 of his 38 passes, threw two interceptions, and seemed to twitch uncontrollably whenever an Eagles defensive lineman drew near. Somehow, the Broncos have come full circle; the best quarterback in their organization is John Elway.