The Philadelphia Eagles closed as 8.5-point underdogs on Sunday Night Football. Their opponent? The reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. While the 49ers were down their starting quarterback, let’s not pretend that Nick Mullens didn’t throw for 343 yards and a TD the week prior. Everyone has praised the 49ers as a system team that can use any quarterback. The Eagles showed the whole world that it simply isn’t the case. How were the Eagles able to pull off this feat? Let’s dive into our defensive player of the week, Genard Avery.
Genard Avery Finds the Spotlight
Last season, the Eagles traded a 2021 4th-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for defensive end, Genard Avery. Since then, Avery’s presence has been virtually non-existent. In 10 games with the Eagles last season, Avery had five total tackles and 0.5 a sack. Rightfully so, fans and media members were disappointed with his showings. Fast forward to Sunday night, and Genard Avery looked like Trent Cole reborn, wearing that same number 58 jersey that Cole proudly wore for 9 years. Avery had himself a game to remember, recording five quarterback hits, including a sack in only 16 snaps.
He also had arguably the most crucial play of the game. With just over two minutes left in the first half, San Francisco was on Philadelphia’s 14-yard line, looking to add points before the half. Genard Avery had other ideas, as he blew past 49ers right tackle, Mike McGlinchey, en route to a crucial hit on Nick Mullens. Avery got there fast enough to force Mullens to throw before he wanted to, leading to the Eagles’ first defensive takeaway on the season. Let’s be honest, when Brian Baldinger praises you in a video, you know you’re doing something right.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 6, 2020
Is Avery’s Success Sustainable?
Is Avery’s success sustainable from now on? Absolutely. Avery is a part of arguably the best defensive line in all of football. Over the last two weeks, this Eagles’ defensive line has 33 quarterback hits and 13 sacks. On the year, they lead the league with 17 total sacks. Having the ability to substitute in Avery’s fresh legs at any given moment is a luxury most teams do not have. Avery producing like he did on Sunday night allows the Eagles to be more comfortable giving their stars a quick breather. It seems like Eagles defensive line coach Matt Burke has found what works for Avery. With an already devastating defensive line that includes Malik Jackson, Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Josh Sweat, and Brandon Graham…look for Avery to continue in the regular rotation. His success against a formidable 49ers offensive line, in only 16 snaps, shows that he can contribute to the Eagles going forward.