The Eagles have made their way to the NFC championship game thanks to a 38-7 victory over the Giants in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
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But not everyone appeared happy on Philadelphia’s sideline during the team’s beatdown of an NFC East foe. Wide receiver A.J. Brown looked frustrated late in the game as he spoke with coach Nick Sirianni.
Nick Sirianni says AJ Brown was frustrated towards the end of Saturday’s game and was going through something with his body. Nick says AJ was thrilled the Eagles won and should be ready for Sunday pic.twitter.com/5qdDJYiYcD
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 23, 2023
The Giants limited him to three catches on six targets for 22 yards. He finished the game third on the team in catches, yards and touchdowns behind DeVonta Smith (10 targets, six catches, 61 yards, one touchdown) and Dallas Goedert (five catches, 58 yards, one score). Brown has no more than four catches in any of the Eagles’ previous three games, a stretch in which his only touchdown came in a Week 17 loss to the Saints.
That said, the running game was so potent vs. New York (the Eagles ran 44 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns) that Brown didn’t need to be a huge part of the game plan. Quarterback Jalen Hurts only threw for 154 yards in the victory.
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Here’s what Sirianni and Brown had to say about the perceived frustration, as well as an update on Brown’s status for Sunday’s NFC championship game vs. the 49ers:
Why was A.J. Brown upset during Eagles vs. Giants game?
Sirianni told reporters on Monday that Brown was dealing with an injury late in the game, saying that was the reason he was absent in the final stages of the blowout rather than anything related to a lack of touches.
“He was going through a little something with his body that was hurting him,” Sirianni said. “We feel like he’ll be ready to go this week. But he was hurting in that game. So that’s why he wasn’t in the game (late).”
As for Brown’s frustration on the sideline, Sirianni said that a player of his caliber will want the ball, especially at this stage of the season.
“Of course he’s always going to want the ball. He’s a really good player,” Sirianni said. “Not really anybody had a lot of targets or a lot of opportunities because we were running the ball so well.
“But that’s what you want from your receivers, to want to have the football. Part of the reason why receivers are good is because they want and crave the football to change the game.”
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Brown echoed Sirianni’s sentiments Wednesday, telling reporters, “Of course I want the ball.” He added that he’s not a “diva” receiver and is not one to cause problems on the sideline or in the locker room. He also is happy to take on other roles, such as blocking, which he did on Smith’s touchdown.
“I’m never the receiver to go on the sideline or try to cause problems on the sideline. I’m not that guy,” Brown said. “I think that’s what you could describe as a diva, but I’m not that person.
“I’m a guy who goes up and talks to the quarterback and talk to the (offensive coordinator) and do it that way. I’m not a guy that’s going to cause commotion on the sideline. That’s not who I am. I’ll never be that guy.”
Whatever frustrations Brown had at Lincoln Financial Field, he left them out there. Sirianni said the receiver was celebrating with the team inside the locker room.
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“But make no mistake about it, he was thrilled that we won the football game, always wants to be involved in the plan, he blocked his butt off,” Sirianni said. “You can see how excited he was when he sprang that block for DeVonta’s touchdown. But, you know, he was obviously really excited and celebrated in the locker room with us after the win.”
A.J. Brown stats
Brown has had a terrific season. He set or tied career highs with 145 targets, 88 catches, 1,496 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches in 16 regular-season games. He ranked fourth in the NFL in yards and was tied for third in touchdown receptions.
He helped the Eagles’ offense by forming a true 1-2 punch with Smith, forcing defenses to cover both players and opening up the run game more. If Philadelphia wants to make — and win — Super Bowl 57, then Brown will have to be a huge part of the game plan, including as a pass-catcher.
That doubtless will make him happy.