Eagles

Derek Barnett shows off developing pass rush arsenal in strong NFL debut

Derek Barnett shows off developing pass rush arsenal in strong NFL debut

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Chris Long still remembers the first time he ever stepped foot onto an NFL field. 

"It was like cars moving by you on a highway," the 32-year-old vet said late Thursday night. "That's what it felt like to me. It was fast."

It didn't look quite that fast for Derek Barnett. 

The Eagles' first-round rookie got a chance to play in his first NFL game on Friday at Lambeau Field. And he didn't disappoint, picking up two sacks in the Eagles' 24-9 loss (see Instant Replay)

The first sack came with just under seven minutes to play in the second quarter. Barnett used a counter move and powered through Packers second-team left tackle Jason Spriggs, simply tossing him out of the way. 

Spriggs is 6-foot-6, 301 pounds. 

"It was nice to get one, honestly," Barnett said. "Anyway I can get there, it's nice to get there. Because [sacks are] so hard to come by." 

The buzz around Barnett coming out of Tennessee was about his incredible bend and speed pass rushing. During this training camp, however, he's been working hard to develop inside pass-rushing moves. 

That hard work paid off when he dropped Brett Hundley for an eight-yard loss. 

"It's a great thing to add to your arsenal," Long said. "For somebody like that, people are going to have to worry about his speed, it's just something that he's going to have to develop. Tonight was a big step."

A few minutes later, Barnett went to his bread and butter for his second sack. He sped around the edge to drop Hundley for a 12-yard loss. 

"I knew coming in they do quick game and stuff, so our coaches told us just keep on pushing, don't get down because the ball can come out quick," Barnett said. "Keep on grinding and eventually, you're going to get some." 

By the end of the game, Barnett had put together an impressive stat line: two sacks, four combined tackles, two QB hits and two tackles for loss. 

Barnett is one of three defensive ends on the team who were drafted in the first round. Long was the second pick in 2008; you already heard about his NFL debut. And Brandon Graham was the 13th pick in 2010. 

"I think what he did was what I wanted to do — get two sacks in the first game," Graham said. "And that's nice just to start it off right. It just feels good because he got a couple and it's going to carry over. He got a little bit of what the game speed is like."

Aside from facing Spriggs, Barnett also got a series against Packers Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari and held his own. Barnett said practicing against Jason Peters and Lane Johnson daily helped prepare him for Bakhtiari. 

"I thought [Barnett] really stepped up, and once he got his legs under him, he played well," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He played hard and it was exciting to see him around the quarterback."

It's just one game, but Barnett's NFL career got off to a good start on Thursday night.  

The cars weren't whizzing by him that fast. 

"It's fast. Faster than college," he said. "I just try to take it a snap at a time and just focus on that one snap and that one play. After that, clear to the next play."

Raiders beat Chiefs in thriller with touchdown on final play

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Raiders beat Chiefs in thriller with touchdown on final play

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wins have been so hard to come by for the Oakland Raiders that it took three tries at the final play for them finally to pull this one out and possibly save their season.

Derek Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on the final play after the game was extended by two straight defensive holding calls and the Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"We didn't give up," Crabtree said. "We got a team full of fighters. We believe. ... No matter how hard the game was, we believed. We came out with the W and I'm excited. It's a good way to win, a great way to win."

With their season on the line following the recent slump, Carr led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:25 to give the Raiders (3-4) the thrilling comeback in a game they trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

Carr finished 29 for 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, with Amari Cooper catching 11 passes for 210 yards and two of the scores. The Raiders had struggled to get the ball downfield while being held to 17 or fewer points in four straight games but Carr repeatedly beat the Chiefs with deep passes.

"No. 4 kept making plays," coach Jack Del Rio said. "This is a special, special win."

Alex Smith threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough for the Chiefs (5-2). They lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 11-18, 2015, and had their 12-game winning streak in the AFC West snapped in a thrilling finish.

"I've never been part of a game that came down so dramatic," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "But, still had a chance to win. Period. Just have to make a play. One play. One play."

The Raiders had an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 18 seconds left overturned when replay ruled he was down at the 1. An offensive pass interference on Crabtree wiped out another touchdown on the next play.

But holding calls on Ron Parker and Eric Murray set the stage for the final play. Carr hit Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone to tie it at 30. Giorgio Tavecchio won it with the extra point , setting off a celebration on a wild night that included Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch getting ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official.

Hot tempers
The game took an odd turn midway through the second quarter after Kansas City's Marcus Peters hit Carr late, angering the Raiders. Offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn confronted Peters and Lynch sprinted off the Oakland sideline to join the fray. Lynch, a close friend of Peters, ended up shoving line judge Julian Mapp and getting ejected . Peters also was called for a personal foul on the play. Lynch congratulated his teammates in the locker room after the game but didn't speak to reporters.

"I was disappointed he ran out because I knew we had a 15-yard penalty and we'd be in good shape," Del Rio said.

Long drive
After Marquette King pinned the Chiefs at their own 1 with a perfect punt early in the second quarter, Kansas City needed little time to turn the momentum. Smith hit Demarcus Robinson on a 33-yard pass on the first play of the drive. After a short run, Tyreek Hill beat David Amerson for a 64-yard touchdown pass that gave the Chiefs their first 99-yard drive since doing it Dec. 3, 2006, against Cleveland.

Deep connection
Carr had not connected on a single deep ball to Amari Cooper all season before the two teamed twice for long TDs in the opening quarter. On the first, Cooper appeared to push Terrance Mitchell but the officials picked up the flag and gave Cooper the 38-yard TD . Later in the quarter Carr and Cooper connected on a 45-yard score, making Cooper the first Raiders receiver with two TD catches in the first quarter since Mervyn Fernandez in 1989.

Kicking woes
The Raiders were hurt last week when a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. That was Tavecchio's first missed kick of any kind this season but he then had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 45-yarder wide left in the second quarter. Tavecchio also had a false start on an extra point in the third quarter.

Up next
Chiefs: Host Denver on Oct. 30.

Raiders: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

There's something special going on around here, and Carson Wentz isn't afraid to say it.

“We’re made different this year," Wentz said after practice Thursday. "We have a different character makeup in that locker room, and nobody’s going to ever settle for anything less than greatness. So we’re going to go out there every day and attack it.”

The Eagles, 5-1, go for their fifth straight win Monday night against the Redskins, who they beat on opening day at FedEx Field.

Wentz, in only his second season, has elbowed his way into the NFL MVP conversation (see story). His emergence as the unquestioned leader of this team has mirrored the team's emergence as one of the NFL's elite teams.

Wentz spoke Thursday about how he sensed something different, something special, as far back as spring workouts.

“You could just see it, even going back to OTAs," he said. "You could see the competitive nature, even in practice. You couldn’t wear pads. You couldn’t even press cover outside. You could just see the competitive nature.

"And then through training camp, it just kept getting elevated even more. You could just see it from the leadership on down. We’re just wired different this year.”

When Wentz tells his teammates to strive for greatness, they listen, because here's a kid who in just 22 career games has established himself as one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks. He has 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions this year and has posted a passer rating of 90 or higher in five of six games.

“It’s something that we always strive for," Wentz said. "And really, in everything we do in life, you strive for greatness.

"When we’re sitting where we’re at right now, we can just never let that slip. We can never let that slip from our preparation in the film room, the meeting room, the weight room, in practice, so that’s just something I feel like we have to always keep focusing on.

"Never settle, never settle, and just keep striving for that greatness.”

Wentz said he didn't feel anything lacking last year, when the Eagles went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for a third straight year.

It's just that head coach Doug Pederson is in Year 2, coordinators Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz are in Year 2 and Wentz is in Year 2.

The whole program is in Year 2 and there's a confidence, an attitude, a swagger that was nowhere to be found last year or really the last few years.

“I think it was just a natural growth," Wentz said. "You go back and look at last season again. We were so close in so many of those ballgames but [it's] just the natural growth that’s taken place both from coach and just really all of us being in this together and having a year under our belt."