Eagles on to 'way bigger goals' after clinching playoff spot

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Coach Nick Sirianni suggested it hadn't occurred to him that the Philadelphia Eagles had clinched a playoff spot until it was brought to his attention inside the locker room following Sunday's 48-22 romp of the New York Giants.

"They said that to me in there and I'm like, 'Oh, that's nice,'" Sirianni said. "We've got way bigger goals, and it's on to the next one."

Veteran right tackle Lane Johnson said the postgame scene was "just like another day. We didn't 'Yahoo!' or anything. It was like, 'That's cool.'"

The Eagles are the first team to secure a spot in the postseason. This is the first time they have clinched a trip this early since the Super Bowl champion 2017 squad, which also locked it up in Week 14.

That one was far more dramatic. MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his ACL at the L.A. Coliseum against the Rams that night. Nick Foles stepped in, helped cement the win and proceeded to go on one of the great magic carpet rides in NFL history.

This time around, it was all business. MVP front-runner Jalen Hurts surgically exorcised whatever demons he left at MetLife Stadium during last year's trip here, when he threw a career-high three interceptions. On Sunday, he sliced New York up for 294 total yards and three touchdowns.

He and running back Miles Sanders became the first Eagles duo to each score 10-plus rushing touchdowns in a season. The team set a new franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 27, surpassing a mark that was established in 1945.

A.J. Brown also surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark and is the fourth Eagle to have 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in a season since 1990.

Philadelphia's dominance of late has been particularly staggering: The Eagles have scored 123 points over the past three games, their most over a three-game span since scoring 125 points in the 1950 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

But none of it seems to be impressing them much.

Asked about clinching a playoff spot, Hurts just said: "It means everything to come out here and get a W. Another week, another challenge in front of us and another week where we've accomplished our goal in getting a win. So we're grateful for that."

Others in the locker room were more hyped. Cornerback Darius Slay let out a yell when the playoff berth was noted during his interview session, recalling some of the lean years he had with the Detroit Lions.

"I've never been 12-1 in the NFL, leading the division, clinching this early. Sky's the limit for this team," he said. "We've got a lot of talented guys in this room and a lot of guys that really play for each other."

Added edge rusher Haason Reddick, who reached double-digit sacks for the third consecutive season: "This is the first year in my NFL career where I'm going to the playoffs. I can't wait to see what that atmosphere is like, hopefully do my part and the team do their job so we can go play for the big trophy."

The Eagles have the best record in football, hold a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys (10-3) in the division with four games remaining and, according to ESPN Analytics, have a 79% chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC following Sunday's win.

But Sanders summed up the overall mood of the team when he said: "It's a great accomplishment. Long time coming. But it ain't done yet."