PHILADELPHIA — After neither receiver touched the football once against the Detroit Lions in the Philadelphia Eagles season opener, both DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins reminded everyone on Monday night why they were the team's go-to wide receivers in 2021.
The entire offense reaped the rewards of a perfect night from quarterback Jalen Hurts, including receiver A.J. Brown and tight end Dallas Goedert. Those top two targets continue to show why they are among the best at their positions, but Smith and Watkins displayed to the entire NFL in primetime why the Eagles are one of the deepest offenses in the league.
Hurts and the unit made a conscious effort to target Smith early and often, immediately getting him involved on the first completion of the game. The second year wideout led the Eagles in receptions, finishing the game with seven catches for 80 yards.
Smith made plays everywhere. He created separation on the outside, but was also used heavily in the slot.
Giving an elite route runner, like Smith, both sidelines to create separation makes him all the more dangerous. It was a great decision by the coaching staff to get Smith more involved.
He was money on third downs as well. Two of the three third down conversions that came from Hurts throwing the football went as completions to Smith.
Quez Watkins didn’t have the volume of targets that Smith had against the Vikings, but he reminded us that to make an impact, he doesn’t necessarily need to.
Watkins finished the night with just two receptions, but they went for 69 yards and a touchdown. A 16-yard reception was followed up by a 53-yard score in the first half that blew the doors wide open for the Eagles' offense to take over.
When you think about it, Watkins really is the perfect complementary target for this offense. The Eagles have three target eaters that will command the ball a lot, with Brown, Goedert, and Smith. They also boast a top-tier running game that features Hurts, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott getting carries.
There are a lot of mouths to feed, so to have a guy like Watkins that can turn any touch into a big play is a huge advantage for this team.
The Eagles flashed an impressive ceiling on Monday night against a quality opponent. If they can pass the football with that kind of efficiency week in and week out, becoming a Super Bowl contender is a real possibility.
Smith and Watkins will be crucial in helping this team reach that ceiling.