DeVonta Smith sets tone for Eagles in blowout win, other No. 1 receiver shows ‘elite’ play in pass play

PHILADELPHIA – There was only one word Jalen Hurts could use to describe DeVonta Smith.

Elite.

Hurts also blew smoke in no one’s ears. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is fully aware of how good Smith is and what he delivers on an offense that has averaged 37.5 points per game and 476.5 yards per game over the past two games.

“We all grow through experience — and I think experience is the greatest teacher,” Hurts said. “DeVonta has grown from everything. He’s grown from stuff in college, from being a rookie last year, practicing, all these things. His game has definitely taken it to another level.”

Smith showed an elite performance in Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans, finishing with five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Three of those catches played on the Eagles’ first drive of the game, as Smith was the open target of the Titans who wanted to prevent AJ Brown from taking over the game.

Leave it to Smith to make Brown’s job easier, as Smith had 59 yards and his only touchdown on Philadelphia’s first drive. Smith’s 34-yard touchdown catch gave the Eagles an early lead they would never relinquish, forcing the Titans to pass for him in addition to Brown.

Brown took over right after that first ride and the rest was history. The Eagles have two No. 1 wide receivers in Brown and Smith, with the latter making sure he wasn’t the forgotten man in the Eagles offense.

“Everyone in the reception room — we feel like he could be a No. 1 receiver,” said Smith. “Everyone can just go out there and do their job, let the plays come to you and make the most of their opportunities.”

Smith hasn’t had a quiet year on the statistics sheet – far from it. He has 61 catches for 711 yards and four touchdowns per year, on pace for 86 catches and 1,007 yards for the season. Smith has 125 receptions in his two seasons with the Eagles, fourth in franchise history after a player’s first two years. With five games left, Hurts is just 28 catches away from breaking Jordan Matthews’ mark of 152.

Elite.

“DeVonta has been at it all year,” said Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni. “I know there are things that have been brought to my attention because of the questions you guys are asking about, ‘Well, should DeVonta get going?’ He’s already going. He’s been a regular – apart from the first game where he was shut out.

“DeVonta goes all year long. He’s been a fixture – he’s just very stable. This guy is a phenomenal route runner.”

Both Smith and Brown finished with 100 yards on Sunday, the first time two Eagles wide receivers had 100 yards in the same game since Riley Cooper and DeSean Jackson accomplished the feat in Week 9 of the 2013 season. That was the game Nick Foles threw for seven touchdowns.

Brown gets the bombs, but Smith is the one who causes death by 1,000 cuts.

The Eagles have two No. 1 wide receivers on their roster. A dangerous combination in January.

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