By Max Harper
Darius Slay returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown and rookie DeVonta Smith sngged two TD passes from Jalen Hurts in the Eagles’ 30-13 win over the Denver Broncos.
The Eagles (4-6) won for the fourth time on the road and prevented the Broncos (5-5) from sweeping the NFC East teams on their schedule.
The Broncos had trouble punching it in all afternoon, stalling at the Eagles 3, 10 and 11 before Melvin Gordon III took the handoff on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 23 with the Broncos trailing 20-13 late in the third quarter. He gained the 2 yards necessary for the first down, but he coughed up the football before going down.
Slay scooped the ball from the pile, reversed direction just in front of his 10-yard line and then zig-zagged his way downfield through a smattering of orange jerseys.In the closing minutes, Bridgewater overthrew a wide-open Tim Patrick in the end zone on fourth down.
The Eagles took a 20-10 halftime lead behind Smith’s pair of touchdown catches and two of Jake Elliott’s three field goals.
With offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur out with a COVID-19 infection, Broncos QBs coach Mike Shula called the offensive plays. The first series was a debacle: a 1-yard run, and a drop and a catch for minus-2 yards on two passes behind the line of scrimmage sandwiched by a field goal and a TD by Philadelphia.
Smith hauled in a 36-yard pass from Hurts with fellow first-round draft pick Patrick Surtain II in tight coverage to put Philadelphia ahead 10-0.
The Broncos responded with Gordon’s 1-yard TD run and were on the verge of taking the lead when Okwuegbunam’s 64-yard catch-and-run gave Denver first-and-goal at the Eagles 8. But a season-long struggle in goal-to-go situations continued and the Broncos settled for McManus’ field goal.
Nothing went Denver’s way after that. Philadelphia converted three third downs on a 12-play 75-yard drive capped by Smith’s second TD catch that made it 17-10.
The Broncos went three-and-out but buried the Eagles at their 15 with 1:49 remaining in the half. Hurts drove the Eagles downfield and Elliott connected from 52 yards.