Eagles Hold on for Tough Win

Posted: September 23rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Eagles Hold on for Tough Win

Carson Wentz returned to the field for the first time since December and helped the Eagles to beat the Colts 20-16. It wasn’t a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination, but it shows up as a W in the standings and the Eagles will gladly take that.

Things started great, with the Eagles marching right down the field for a TD on their opening possession. Dallas Goedert caught the first TD pass of his career and Wentz looked great. It felt like the Eagles were back to where they were last year.

That didn’t last long.

The Eagles, like most teams, script the first series of the game. Once they went off the script and the Colts made some adjustments, the offense became erratic. Wentz wasn’t making his reads as quickly as he needed to. He didn’t see some open receivers. Penalties were an issue. It didn’t help matters that Jake Elliott missed a 55-yard FG.

Oh yeah, it also rained all game long.

The Eagles defense was outstanding. The Colts finished with 209 yards. Two broken plays by Andrew Luck, a scramble and a pass, accounted for 62 of those yards. To be fair, the Colts offense did not look good. Andrew Luck is healthy, but nowhere close to 100 percent. He cannot drive the ball downfield. On the Hail Mary at the end of the game, Indy brought in backup QB Jacoby Brissett, knowing Luck would struggle to throw the ball 60 yards.

I expected the Eagles pass rush to be better than what it was. It did seem like Luck got rid of the ball quickly on a fair amount of the pass plays. The biggest play of the game came on 4th and 3 when Derek Barnett flew off the edge and sacked Luck to end a drive inside that had gotten inside the 5-yard line. All Luck could do was pound the turf in frustration.

The Eagles were missing Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles, but the RBs that did play came up huge. Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and rookie Josh Adams combined for 142 yards and a TD on the ground. They also combined for 54 yards through the air. Just like you expected.

Smallwood was terrific, fighting for every yard possible. He moved the pile on multiple runs. He isn’t a big RB, but he proved to be tough today. Smallwood (10-56 on the ground) ran for the winning TD. He said the OL told him to run hard and they’d get him in the end zone. There was no hesitation on the play and he scored easily. Smallwood also added a 34- yard reception. I don’t think many people expected that kind of production from him.

The game-winning drive lasted 11:18 and covered 75 yards. The Eagles O-line took over and helped the offense really come alive.

There are plenty of issues for the coaches and players to work on. Once again, penalties were a problem. The Eagles had 10 for 110 yards, including a couple of costly PI calls on Jalen Mills. There was a missed tackle on 3rd down that extended a Colts TD drive. Rodney McLeod dropped an easy INT. Pass protection was sloppy at times. The Colts got more pressure than they should have.

Wentz isn’t immune from criticism. He threw a terrible INT, forcing the ball to Ertz when he was covered. That set up a Colts FG. Wentz fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, setting up another Colts FG. He made a terrible decision to throw a screen pass to a covered RB. The player was immediately tackled for an 8-yard loss. Just put that ball into the turf and move on.

But Wentz also had some magic.

He made some terrific throws to Ertz. Wentz had a highlight moment when he ran for a first down. He had to dive to get enough for the first. There was no hesitation. Wentz showed no signs of thinking about his knee. Physically, he looked 100 percent. Wentz also made a lot of adjustments at the line of scrimmage. It is hard to quantify the value of this, but it certainly had to help.

The butterflies are gone. The rust is gone. Now Wentz needs to get some of his weapons back and the Eagles can get going. For now, they are 2-1 and tied for the division lead.


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