NASHVILLE, Tenn. — His very first catch in his very first game of the season, Alshon Jeffery landed hard on his surgically repaired shoulder and briefly left the game.
“It knocked the wind out of me, but I’m all right, though,” Jeffery said. “I landed on the shoulder that I had surgery on, so it felt good. My first catch, that was a big test.”
On a day full of bad news, the Eagles got some good news when Jeffery, one of the team’s biggest postseason heroes a year ago, not only held up physically in his first game since the Super Bowl, he caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans at Nissan Stadium.
A week ago, he still wasn’t ready. Sunday, he looked better than ever.
“It was great to have Alshon back out there,” Carson Wentz said. “A guy that can make contested catches and make plays for you. He can give the offense a spark, you saw that out there.”
Jeffery missed the first three games of the season as he rehabbed from that shoulder injury. Then he missed a couple days of practice last week after he got sick.
“Still battling it a little,” he said. “But I’m all right.”
The Eagles are having all kinds of issues on offense, but getting Jeffery back is huge.
After cobbling together a wide receiver group the first few weeks of the season with guys they had already cut, practice squad alums and street free agents, the Eagles at least have their projected 1-2 intact with Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
“Exciting to watch him play today.” Doug Pederson said. “He was aggressive. He attacked the football. Kind of a spark for the offense. It was great to see him back.”
It was Jeffery’s first 100-yard game as an Eagle and actually, his first 100-yard game in more than two years. His last one was opening day 2016, when he was 4 for 105 for the Bears in a loss to the Texans in Houston.
It was the 14th 100-yard game of Jeffery’s career, and it was vintage Jeffery. He made difficult catches in traffic, he used his big frame to soar over cornerbacks, and he got in the end zone.
The eight catches were Jeffery’s most since he had 10 against the Chargers in November 2015.
Most importantly, he played 65 of 73 offensive snaps and said he felt fine afterward.
“All I care about is winning,” Jeffery said at his locker after the game. “I don’t care about my yards. All I care about is winning. First game back, we lost, so it wasn’t really a good first game back.
“It’s never fun when you lose. But it was fun being back in the huddle.”
And on a day when the Eagles blew a 14-point second-half lead, allowed one of the NFL’s worst offenses to pile up nearly 400 yards, dropped six passes and became the first team in history to allow three fourth-down conversions in overtime, there was at least one thing for Eagles fans to be encouraged by.
No. 17 once again skying for the football.