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Powerhouse Eagles devastate struggling Broncos

Winning their seventh straight game, the Eagles (8-1) on Sunday took advantage of a crumbling Broncos (3-5) offense and another stellar outing by quarterback Carson Wentz. Here's what we learned from Philly's 51-23 thrashing of Denver:

1a. Let's start right here: The Eagles are a legitimate threat to glide right into the Super Bowl if they continue to blast through opponents with the power and might we witnessed on Sunday. Denver's season, meanwhile, feels completely over.

1b. Jay Ajayi saw snaps right away for an Eagles squad now stocked with one of the league's most versatile backfields. The former Dolphins runner, acquired Tuesday, combined with Wentz on a well-orchestrated fake handoff that caught Denver off guard and set up the quarterback's beautiful 32-yard first-quarter touchdown strike to Alshon Jeffery. That marked Wentz's league-leading 20th scoring pass, but he wasn't done, throwing for 199 yards and four touchdowns before Nick Foles took over in the fourth. Forget the numbers: We're seeing Philly's young quarterback evolve weekly with pristine touch passes and gutsy downfield lasers, but it's more than just the physical gifts. Wentz repeatedly drew the Broncos offsides with pre-snap cadence and showed next-level vision against Denver's talented secondary. Already known as one of the game's top students under center, his preparation shows every Sunday.

  1. Exactly what did the Broncos expect to see from Brock Osweiler? Something exciting and new? Try again. Guiding the league's worst scoring offense since Week 3, Trevor Siemian's replacement threw a disastrous pass near end of the first quarter that landed in the arms of Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson. Three plays later, Corey Clement caught a screen from Wentz and raced 15 yards into the end zone to put Philly up 17-3. With Osweiler at the wheel, this unbalanced romp felt over after the first quarter. I wouldn't be surprised to see second-year passer Paxton Lynch take over when he's healthy for Osweiler (19 of 38 for 208 yards), who unfurled two picks and an array of airy duds before generating meaningless points in garbage time. This all came against a rugged Philly defense, but Denver has loads of work to do on this side of the ball come the offseason.
  1. One more note on this Eagles backfield: Mimicking what we've seen from the uber-creative Patriots, Philly seamlessly mixed Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Clement into the scheme with a rash of unique looks. All three backs saw their share of carries -- combining for 189 yards at 5.3 yards per rush -- with Ajayi closing the first half with 46-yard touchdown gallop that put the Broncos on ice. Come the second half, Philly settled in and punished Denver's defense with blistering runs from Blount, speedy dashes by Clement and violent hammer drops from the newly acquired Ajayi. When this formula clicks, the sky's the limit.
  1. The Eagles didn't exactly miss productive tight end Zach Ertz, who was ruled out just before kickoff with a banged-up hamstring. Brent Celek and Trey Burton reliably combined for 80 yards off five grabs. Celek showed great chemistry with his quarterback, while Burton caught a 27-yard touchdown and fit right in from wire to wire.
  1. Denver's defense has to be frustrated with the team's inept attack, but they committed mistakes of their own with a disastrous pair of penalties on first-and-10 from Denver's 42-yard line. Safety Darian Stewart was nabbed for unsportsmanlike conduct after kicked the ball following a Wentz incompletion, a play that also saw defensive end Zach Kerr flagged for roughing the passer. The gaffes put Philly at the 27-yard line, where Wentz unfurled his pretty scoring pass to Burton to put Philly up 24-6 just 20-plus minutes into the game. That wouldn't be the defenses last mistake.
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