HOUSTON. The Houston Texans put up one of the toughest fights the Philadelphia Eagles have seen this season, but Philadelphia managed to win, 29-17, and maintain their undefeated start to the season. The Eagles are leading 8-0 for the first time in franchise history, with the Texans going 1-6-1 on the season during “Thursday Night Football” at NRG Stadium.

Philadelphia Eagles

The homecoming of quarterback Jalen Hurts was a historic night as he helped the Eagles to an 8-0 start. It wasn’t always pretty, but he managed the moment by throwing a couple of touchdowns, including a valiant 17-yard strike to wide receiver AJ Brown in the third quarter, to keep the undefeated train going.

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An MVP nominee towards the middle of the season, Herts hit at least two touchdowns in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. He has 18 touchdowns (12 passes, 6 rushes) with two interceptions in eight games.

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Describe the game in two words: Temporarily uncomfortable. Since the Texans, who had won with one win, had lost both of their starting receivers, it seemed like a complete inconsistency. But Thursday’s away games are tough, and the Eagles have been uncharacteristically sloppy at times, as evidenced by their first lost fumble of the season, when the Hurts didn’t seem ready for the ball when it was snapped. The game was tied at halftime—the first time Philadelphia hadn’t taken the lead in two quarters—but the Eagles gradually gained the upper hand as the second half wore on.

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Worrying trend: The Eagles’ first game without rookie defenseman Jordan Davis, who had just been placed on reserve with an injury due to a high ankle sprain, proved problematic for a quick defense. Houston running back Dameon Pierce ran for 139 yards in 27 carries. Philadelphia’s tackle was often poor and the running lanes were too wide. Davis changed the situation. Entering the game, the Eagles allowed 3.9 yards per rush with him on the field (70 rushes) versus 6 yards per rush with him off the field (112 rushes).

Main game: CJ Gardner-Johnson threw his league-best fifth interception of the season midway through the third quarter, securing a touchdown pass for Hurts Brown. The Eagles’ first second-half possession quickly came to a halt when running back Miles Sanders was stuffed third and short, turning momentum in Houston’s favour. But Gardner-Johnson came right back, pick in the middle on the third down. — Tim McManus

Underestimated stats to know: Gardner-Johnson now has an interception in four consecutive games, the longest streak for an Eagles player since the merger (Bill Bradley in 1972).

Next game: vs. Washington Commanders (8:15 pm ET, November 14)

Houston Texans

The Texans were underdogs with 14 points against the Eagles but managed to put up a decent fight. They went into the break 14–14, but the Houston defense struggled with passing and running as Hurts threw two touchdowns and the Eagles offense rushed two touchdowns.

The Texans were led by rookie Pierce, who finished with 139 yards. It took the pressure off quarterback Davis Mills, who didn’t have two top wide receivers in Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins. Pierce’s strong play allowed Mills to be effective as he threw two touchdowns. But he had a couple of interceptions in the second half that crippled the Texans’ chances of winning.

Promising trend: Pierce struggled against the Tennessee Titans last week when he finished with 35 yards on 15 carries, his second lowest in terms of yards of the season. But Pierce bounced back, finishing with a season-high 139 yards. Without Pierce, the game would have been over by halftime.

Buy on a breakout: Houston’s pass rush improves. That brought in four sacks against the Eagles, who have one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Texans also had 10 pressures with 31 dropbacks, according to Next Gen Stats. If they can put pressure on that offensive line when they play the New York Giants in Week 10, they should be able to maintain that momentum as the Giants have allowed quarterbacks to be sacked 25 times, which is in the top ten. — dj favorite

Underestimated stats to know: Mills was running at 16.04 mph when he threw a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter on Chris Moore – just the third touchdown this season at such a fast run.

Next game: at the Giants (13:00 ET, November 13)