PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles are rolling into their bye week with the best record in the NFL. Von Miller and the Denver Broncos are going the opposite way.
Wentz plans to go hunting during his time off, and his teammates have various mini-vacations scheduled. When they return to face the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 18, they’ll be in the same spot atop the standings.
“This is a special group,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We’re 8-1 for a reason and we don’t need to go backward now. This is a good week for us to get healthy and make a push.”
Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, Corey Clement had three scores, and the Eagles routed Denver 51-23 on Sunday.
The Broncos (3-5) return home to face defending Super Bowl champion New England (6-2) looking to snap a four-game losing streak.
“We’re not a good football team right now,” Miller said. “The positive thing is we still have time. We still have time to be great.”
The Eagles dismantled the league’s top-ranked defense, racking up 419 yards, to win their seventh straight game. Yet, Wentz sees room for improvement.
“Absolutely, we’re never going to settle,” he said. “Always things to learn from. I think we can keep getting better.”
Brock Osweiler couldn’t get the Broncos on track in his first start since rejoining the team in September. He threw two interceptions and coach Vance Joseph wouldn’t commit to a sticking with him.
“I have to go back and watch the tape and see how the game was played from that position before I make any decisions,” Joseph said.
Here’s some things we learned from Philadelphia’s dominant win over Denver:
AJAYI’S IMPACT: Jay Ajayi quickly made an impact in his first game with the Eagles after coming over from Miami in a trade. Ajayi had 77 yards rushing, including a 46-yard TD run to put Philadelphia ahead 31-9 in the second quarter. Ajayi, a 2016 Pro Bowl pick, led a ground attack that had 197 yards rushing. Clement had 51 yards and LeGarrette Blount added 37.
“Definitely believe we can do a lot of special things here,” Ajayi said. “Glad to be part of the dynamic that we have in there.”
BROCK’S NOT THE ANSWER: The Broncos need more than Osweiler to turn things around. He was no better than Trevor Siemian, who was benched after throwing three picks in a loss to the Chiefs. Osweiler was 19 of 38 for 208 yards and one TD. He took three sacks, threw two picks and made bad decisions.
“I’m not going to be discouraged,” he said. “The more game experience you get, the better you’re going to get. That’s where we are.”
MORE WEAPONS: The addition of Ajayi gives an already deep offense even more weapons. Even without tight end Zach Ertz, one of the top players in the league, the Eagles scored 51 points against an excellent defense. Backup tight ends Brent Celek and Trey Burton combined for five catches for 80 yards and one TD.
“The beautiful thing is we were balanced,” Wentz said. “We spread the ball around the way we did. We didn’t miss a beat.”
UNDERRATED DEFENSE: The Eagles wanted to prove their defense deserves to be mentioned along with the Broncos and the other top units around the league. They held Denver to 226 total yards and 16 points — the Broncos had a defensive TD.
“They always don’t give us credit, but we have to go out there and put people on notice that the Eagles are new and improved,” defensive end Brandon Graham said.
BRIGHT SPOT: Denver’s Brandon McManus kicked field goals of 52, 53 and 24 yards. He was only 10 for 15 coming in and 8 for 17 in his career beyond 50.
EAGLES’ MARKS: Philly is 8-1 for the fifth time in franchise history (1949, 1960, 1980 and 2004). The team advanced to the NFL championship game or Super Bowl in each of the previous four instances.
In the Super Bowl era, 91 teams started 8-1 or better through the first nine games and 88 made the playoffs (96.7 percent). Of those 91 teams, 40 reached the Super Bowl (44 percent) and 22 won the Super Bowl (24.2 percent).