by Sage Hurley & Dave Spadaro
Head Coach Nick Sirianni exited the field at Lucas Oil Stadium consumed with emotion.
The victory marked his first win against the Colts while at the helm of the Eagles, and it happened in a city he used to call home.
Sirianni was the Colts' offensive coordinator from 2018-20 before taking his first head coaching role in Philadelphia; under his leadership, the Colts' offense had top-10 scoring and total offenses in 2018 and 2020, making playoffs both times.
His impressive tenure there propelled him toward the head coaching opportunity at the Eagles, but his successes aside, Indianapolis means more than football to Sirianni. It was the birthplace of his youngest son, Miles, and the site of hours upon hours of mentorship from Frank Reich, the former head coach of the Colts.
Reich was abruptly let go from the organization on November 7th, just under two weeks before Sunday's game. Sirianni was not shy to admit that his postgame feelings were due in large part to Reich's absence.
"I'm emotional because I love Frank Reich. I really do. He's one of the best damn football coaches I've ever been around. I was hoping that he and I would be able to coach against each other in this game. He's one of my biggest mentors," Sirianni said.
"It was sweet to come here, especially with what happened in this organization last couple of weeks and get the win. We're leaving Indianapolis with a win!"
Though the student wasn't able to match up against his teacher, it was still a welcomed reunion for Sirianni, who spent time reconnecting with his former players Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Parris Campbell, and Kenny Moore II among others after the game.
Jalen Hurts said he took notice of how much the win in Indy meant to his coach, so after they erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to overcome the Colts by a point, he proudly awarded Sirianni the game ball - a token of appreciation for his unwavering leadership this season.
"He spent a lot of time here in Indianapolis. He has a lot of memories here. Great homecoming for him. I'm glad that we were able to get the win for him," said Hurts.
"I know as he walked off the field here he got a little bit emotional and I guess it didn't help when I tossed him the ball. But, Coach doesn't get enough credit for what he does and what he's been for us. He does a great job. I'm happy he got to get this win." - Sage Hurley
Linval Joseph, Ndamukong Suh impress in Eagles debuts
INDIANAPOLIS - With very little practice under their belts - Linval Joseph arrived at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday and practiced that day, Ndamukong Suh a day later - both veterans not only played on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but played a lot of snaps (26 for Joseph, 17 for Suh) in the team's 17-16 road win and both contributed significantly to a strong run defense performance and a defensive turnaround that helped the Eagles hang around until the offense put together two late drives to capture the victory.
"I felt good out there, but I've got to watch the film," said Suh, who registered 3 total tackles and shared a sack with Joseph rotating among the defensive tackle group that included Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams. "This was a great team win. There are all kinds of ways to win football games, and while today was quite a struggle, we came out on top and that's all that matters. It's a great feeling to start things off this way with a new team."
The run defense took an early hit as the Colts moved 75 yards on 10 plays to score a touchdown on its opening drive - running back Jonathan Taylor gained 47 yards and a 1-yard touchdown and by halftime Taylor had 64 of the Colts' 72 ground yards. But the Eagles made some adjustments and dominated in the trenches in the second half, limiting Indianapolis to 27 rushing yards, 7 first downs, and 6 points.
"I was prepared for this, so I just had to go out there and do my job and give the team a spark," Joseph said. "One day it was a call. The next day I'm on a plane and the next day it's practice. I've only been here four days. I feel like I handled things out there pretty good. I feel like I did my job and I just want to get better and better."
The defense sealed the deal after Jalen Hurts's 7-yard touchdown run and Jake Elliott's PAT gave the Eagles their first lead of the game, limiting the Colts to one first down before ending it on a Brandon Graham sack and two incomplete passes. Game over.
A newly constructed defensive line did its job: The Eagles sacked quarterback Matt Ryan four times, held the Colts to 14 total first downs, 284 total net yards, had one takeaway, and limited Indy to one touchdown and two field goals in three red-zone trips.
"Not a bad way to start things off," Joseph said. "The thing is, the more we play together, the more experience and time we have together, the better we're going to be. That's the exciting part. We all know how much more we can grow together." - Dave Spadaro
'This is his team. He's the man'
The Eagles trailed 13-3 entering the fourth quarter and 16-10 with 4:37 remaining, but quarterback Jalen Hurts put the offense on his back and delivered when it mattered most.
"There was never a doubt," Hurts said of the team's mindset going into the final scoring drive. "We never wavered. Throughout the game, there were things that did not go our way in terms of our execution and we put ourselves in a bad position, but we were never out of the fight. There was never any doubt because of the belief that we have in one another."
Hurts did it with his arm - throwing a 22-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Quez Watkins - and his legs, converting a fourth-down play and rushing for the game-winning score from 7 yards out with just 1:20 left. Hurts finished with 190 yards passing, a game-high 86 yards rushing, and two total touchdowns in the victory.
"This is his team. He's the man," Watkins said. "He is always cool, always calm, and today he lifted us to a huge win."
Tap to read more from Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's game recap.
Eagles get a little bit of breathing room
The Eagles once again have the league's best record after the Dallas Cowboys smashed the Minnesota Vikings 40-3 in Minnesota. Running back Tony Pollard had 109 receiving yards and 80 rushing yards - both game highs - and two touchdowns to pace the Dallas offense.
The Cowboys scored the game's final 37 points to improve to 7-3, while the Vikings dropped to 8-2. And remember that the Eagles have the tiebreaker over the Vikings.
While the Cowboys kept pace in the NFC East, the Giants were dealt a setback, losing 31-18 at home to the Detroit Lions. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 341 yards and a touchdown, but Lions running back Jamaal Williams crossed the goal line three times to give Detroit a 24-6 lead in the third quarter.
The Giants are now tied with the Cowboys at 7-3, both two games behind the Eagles. Washington still lurks in the rear of the division with a 6-5 record after beating the Texans 23-10 in Houston.
- Chris McPherson
Up next: Hall of Fame induction night and the Green Bay Packers
The Eagles will induct defensive ends Trent Cole and Hugh Douglas into their Hall of Fame at halftime of Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are 4-7 after losing 27-17 to the Tennessee Titans last Thursday night.
The Packers are off to a slow start by their standards after winning 13 games in each of the previous three seasons. But you can never count out the Packers with future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time MVP. Rodgers was adjusting to life without top wide receiver Davante Adams, but might have found his next standout in rookie Christian Watson, who had 107 yards and three touchdowns in the Week 10 win over the Cowboys before adding another two scores on Thursday night.
Don't miss out on the Hall of Fame Brunch this Saturday, where you can meet the two new inductees.
- Chris McPherson