Eagles

Eagles vs. Colts live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 3 game

Eagles vs. Colts live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 3 game

4:12 p.m.: That’ll do it. The Eagles hold on for the win and improve to 2-1 on the season. 

Final: Eagles 20, Colts 16

3:45 p.m.: That was a looooong drive. The Eagles went 75 yards on 17 plays and it took 11:18. 

The biggest play of the drive came when Nelson Agholor caught a pass to his right and dove for a huge first down to give the Eagles a chance to get a field goal. They also had four penalties to help them move down the field. 

Eagles 20, Colts 16

3:20 p.m.: Another really bad turnover from Wentz (a fumble this time) sets the Colts up in the red zone. Wentz tried to step up in the pocket, but Margus Hunt stripped sacked it and then jumped on the ball. A couple plays later and the third quarter ended. 

Eagles 13, Colts 13

3:07 p.m.: After a long drive, the Eagles had to settle for a 24-yard field goal. The big play of the drive was a 28-yard pass to Ertz down the seam. On third down in the red zone, Wentz’s pass to Ertz was a little late and fell incomplete. The Eagles wanted a penalty, but they didn’t get one. Wentz's pass was a little late getting there. 

Eagles 13, Colts 13

3:05 p.m.: Rodney McLeod (knee) is questionable to return. He got hit in his right knee by Jalen Mills on the FG drive. 

2:50 p.m.: Bad decision, bad throw from Wentz. Just an awful interception to give the Colts the ball at the Eagles’ 17-yard line. He tried to get the ball to Ertz, but instead it went right into the arms of Anthony Walker. 

Just after that, Rodney McLeod got hurt. It looked like McLeod’s right knee got hit by Jalen Mills. The third-down play went incomplete and the Colts settled for a 31-yard field goal. 

Colts 13, Eagles 10

2:46 p.m.: After the Eagles’ first drive of the second half fizzled, the Colts went 48 yards on nine plays before a 35-yard field goal tied the game. 

Eagles 10, Colts 10

The big play of the drive came when Luck scrambled to buy some time and then hit T.Y. Hilton for a 29 yard gain down the left sideline. Ronald Darby was in coverage. 

2:21 p.m.: At halftime: Eagles 10, Colts 7

The Eagles got the ball at their own 33-yard line with 1:40 left in the first half and the half ended at their 35-yard line. Not great, but they’ll get the ball back after halftime. 

Wentz was 14 for 20 for 165 yards and a touchdown in the first half and has made some spectacular plays, but missed some too. The first drive of the game was scripted and he looked great, but after that, we’ve seen a little bit of rust. But we’ve also seen some great plays from him that only he can make.  

2:08 p.m.: The running backs started to cook in the second quarter. Josh Adams broke off runs of 16 and 10 and then Wendell Smallwood caught a 34-yard pass. It was a pretty ball from Wentz. 

But Wentz and the offense couldn’t punch in a touchdown. They had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. Wentz tried to force the ball into Zach Ertz at the goal line and he’s lucky it wasn’t picked off. This is the second time he tried to do too much on a play. 

Eagles 10, Colts 7

1:40 p.m.: After one quarter: Eagles 7, Colts 7

1:36 p.m.: After a missed field goal, the Colts had a short field and made the most of it. The big play of the touchdown drive came when Jalen Mills was called for a 33-yard defensive pass interference. Mills had good coverage and even looked back on the ball, but he grabbed T.Y. Hilton and the flag was thrown. 

But Mills wasn’t the only CB who had a forgettable drive. Sidney Jones didn’t make a good tackle on third down in the red zone. And Ronald Darby was beaten for a touchdown by a perfect throw by Andrew Luck.

Eagles 7, Colts 7 

1:29 p.m.: That ACL looks OK. Carson Wentz shows he can still use his feet and even take a hit. This drive resulted in no points after Jake Elliott missed a 55-yard FG, but good signs from Wentz. He even got sacked later in the drive and popped up fine. That should give fans and Wentz a better feeling of comfort. We always hear the first hit is important. Wentz has that out of the way now. 

1:14 p.m.: It’s nice to have this Wentz guy back. On the first drive of his 2018 season, Carson Wentz led the Eagles on a 12-play, 79-yard drive to score the game’s first touchdown. Wentz hit a wide-open Dallas Goedert for a 13-yard touchdown. The Eagles used a no-huddle offense on the first drive and it seemed to get Wentz in a rhythm. He was making calls at the line of scrimmage. 

On the drive, Wentz went 5-for-7 for 55 yards and the touchdown. He’s back. 

The touchdown was also the first of Dallas Goedert’s career. 

1:06 p.m.: Good start for the defense. They force a three-and-out. Punt and now Carson Wentz gets the ball. 

12:16 p.m.: Carson Wentz looks ready. He just led his teammates out of the tunnel. 

11:54 a.m.: Most people think this isn’t the best situation for Wentz to return because of the rain, but I had an interesting chat with NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Barrett Brooks, who disagrees for two reasons. 

1. Offensive linemen love the ran because team generally run the ball. 

2. Defensive linemen are reacting, while the offense knows what it’s doing. Reaction time suffers in the rain, so defensive linemen can’t get off the ball as quickly. 

11:30 a.m.: No surprises with the Eagles' inactives. 

11:20 a.m.: Frank Reich meets near midfield with Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld and Eagles' offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who took Reich's job. 

Reich is now the Colts' head coach, so he might have a slight advantage because of all the familiarity he has with the Eagles, but that stuff is often overblown. Reich is off to a pretty good start in Indy and his team has seemingly bought in. His former coworkers sang his praises this week. Jim Schwartz said Reich is one of the best guys he's ever worked with and called him a "gem of a man." 

10:40 a.m.: Carson Wentz takes the field for early warmups. He's one of the first players on the field to go through his typical early workouts. 

The stands are empty now, but in a few hours, they'll be packed with screaming fans wearing No. 11 jerseys. 

10:15 a.m.: It's still raining in South Philly, but there's a football game to be played. The tarp is coming off the field. Pretty soon, Carson Wentz will take the field for his pregame warmup. 

10 a.m.: Despite the weather, Eagles fans aren't staying away. Maybe it was a slightly late-arriving crowd, but they are here. 

8:31 a.m.: I think Carson Wentz is ready. 

8 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! It’s game day!

It’s a special game day too. After 9 1/2 months of rehab and waiting, Carson Wentz will make his 2018 debut at Lincoln Financial Field. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles led the Eagles to a 1-1 record over the first two weeks of the season, but now it’s time for Wentz to take over. 

It’s fair to wonder how good Wentz will be in his season debut, especially because he’ll be without some key weapons against the Colts. Darren Sproles (hamstring) and Corey Clement (quad) were ruled out on Friday. Jason Peters (quad), Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and Corey Clement (quad) were listed as questionable. Inactives will be announced at 11:30. 

For now, take a look at our expert predictions (see story) and five matchups to watch in this game (see story)

***

This Sunday, be sure to watch Eagles Pregame Live at 12 p.m. and Eagles Postgame Live immediately after the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia and live streaming on the NBC Sports app. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. on FOX. 

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Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

As Doug Pederson enters Year 5 as Eagles head coach, there’s a notable change to the structure of his coaching staff. 

He doesn’t have an offensive coordinator. And now we have a reason why. 

Earlier this offseason, Pederson fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh a day after he said Groh was safe and then shook up the structure of his coaching staff, electing to move forward sans an official OC. 

As the NFL world gets ready to take over Indianapolis this week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, Pederson spoke the the Eagles Insider Podcast and finally explained his decision. 

It’s a great question because it’s a question I have really pondered about for quite some time, really for many years. You look around the league and there are teams who don’t have coordinators. There are teams that have coordinators. I’ve had a coordinator by title. I look at the structure of what we’re doing offensively and how collaborative we put our game plans together. It’s like players; it’s not about one guy. Same way on the coaching staff. It’s not about one coach who has to do everything. It’s a collaborative effort. 

“Bottom line, I’m the one calling plays on game day. So in some facets, you could consider me the offensive coordinator as well. The more I thought about it, I’m like, just again, I’m really excited about Press (Taylor). I think he’s got a bright future. Giving him the title of passing game coordinator, really again, gives him the opportunity to give more thought and input on our game plans. Having Rich (Scangarello) being as a senior offensive assistant, he can assist and help sort of bridge the gap with [Jeff Stoutland] and Press and putting all the pieces together, along with myself and Justin Peele and Duce Staley. Just bringing our game plans together. That’s what I want. That’s my vision for this season and really having a seamless transition that way. 

“When we win, we win as a team. Again, it’s not about one guy getting the credit. I feel like this is the best structure for us, for me as the play caller. Because there’s times when I get pulled in a lot of different directions and I gotta lean on Press. And I’m going to have to lean on Rich and Jeff Stoutland and the guys to really pull the game plans together and really give me the information that I need as we prepare for games.” 

While Pederson — and really everyone inside the NovaCare Complex — has always stressed a collaborative effort in all football manners, he didn’t really give any specifics about how the workload will be split and how Groh’s former responsibilities will be divided up in the new power structure. 

Hopefully, we’ll get some of those answers in Indianapolis this week. 

As a reminder, he’s an updated look at the new structure of the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff. 

Head coach/play caller: Doug Pederson

Quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator: Press Taylor 

Offensive line coach/run game coordinator: Jeff Stoutland 

Senior offensive assistant: Rich Scangarello 

Running backs coach/assistant head coach: Duce Staley 

Tight ends coach: Justin Peele 

Wide receivers coach: Aaron Moorehead 

Pass game analyst: Andrew Breiner 

It’s not unheard of for an NFL coach with a clear focus on one side of the ball — like Pederson on offense — to not have an official coordinator. But this is just the first time he has elected to have this setup. 

The optics weren’t great a month and a half ago when Pederson gave Groh a vote of confidence only to fire him a day later, but on the podcast claimed he was still going through his evaluation process at the time. 

At the time, one obvious theory was that Pederson wanted to keep Groh and the front office overruled him. But that’s a theory that has been shot down multiple times by the Eagles. And Pederson on this podcast said that he listened to input from his bosses but, ultimately, the coaching staff is up to him. 

“The coaching staff is my responsibility,” he said. “I’m the one that hires them and I’m obviously the one that has to do the dirty work and sometimes let coaches go. That’s my responsibility.”

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Doug Pederson: 'I know Duce is happy'

Doug Pederson: 'I know Duce is happy'

Doug Pederson said Duce Staley is happy in his current role with the Eagles and said he leans heavily on his former teammate throughout the year in a variety of ways.

I know Duce is happy to be here,” Pederson said. “He wants to be here. … Duce does a lot for me. He is the assistant head coach, let’s not forget that. He is my right-hand guy.

Pederson said he did consider Staley for the team’s offensive coordinator role, although he wound up not filling that position.

Pederson spoke on the Eagles Insider Podcast in an interview with team employee Dave Spadaro.

There was a lot of speculation about Staley when Pederson bypassed him during his offensive coordinator search, a search that eventually brought the Eagles several outside coaches with new titles but left Staley in the same position – running backs coach and assistant head coach.

Staley was bypassed when Pederson hired Mike Groh as offensive coordinator after the 2017 season. Staley was also an unsuccessful candidate for the head coaching vacancy when Chip Kelly was fired and Pederson was ultimately hired.

There was a published report last week in the Athletic that Staley had pursued the runnig backs coaching job at South Carolina, his alma mater, but a league source said that never happened.

Staley, a three-time 1,000-yard rusher for the Eagles, was Pederson’s teammate with the Eagles in 1999. He’s been on the team’s coaching staff since 2011, first with Andy Reid, then for three years with Kelly and now with Pederson.

He had the assistant head coach tag added to his official title after Groh was promoted from wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator after Frank Reich left for the Colts’ head coaching job after the Super Bowl.

Pederson explained in detail what makes Staley so important to him and so important to the team:

“Duce is very important to our offense, he’s very important to the running back room, obviously, and a lot of our success last year with some of the young players that played, the practice squad players that came up, is a direct result of what Duce Staley does (running) the developmental program, and that’s a lot on his plate throughout the course of the year, (and those are all) things that I evaluated as I went through this process. Duce is a valuable part to our offense and a valuable part to me and what he does for me and just at the time just decided to keep him in that role.”

Pederson brought in three new offensive coaches – Rich Scangarello is offensive assistant, Aaron Moorehead is wide receivers coach and Andrew Breiner is passing game analyst. Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor received the additional title of passing game coordinator.

It may seem on the outside that Staley is the odd man out, but Pederson made it clear he doesn’t feel that way.

“He does help run the football team if I have to step away," Pederson said. "He can take charge of the team. He runs that developmental program with the young players. He puts that all together. … Duce has his fingerprints all over that and that’s a big asset to me and obviously what he does with the running backs. You saw what Miles Sanders and Boston Scott did last year, what Jordan Howard did last year, being able to take young players and getting them to play at a high level is just a credit to what he does and also with game planning and things of that nature during the year.”

Despite not having the same leading rusher in back-to-back years since LeSean McCoy in 2013 and 2014, the Eagles have the 7th-most rushing yards in the NFL in Staley’s seven years as running backs coach. 

In a way, Staley is a prisoner of his own success. He’s so good in his current role that Pederson is always going to be reluctant to move him.

But he’s a heck of a coach, and it sure seems like Pederson understands that and recognizes it and appreciates it.

And that's important because this is a better football team with No. 22 on the sideline.

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