Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Patriots preseason game

Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Patriots preseason game


FOXBORO, Mass. — It wasn’t a good night for Nick Foles.

Then he got hurt.

The Eagles’ quarterback, in his first action of this preseason, had his struggles early on Thursday night, and then thanks to an injury, never got to get things on track as the Eagles fell to the Patriots, 37-20, in a Super Bowl LII rematch.

Early in the second quarter, Adrian Clayborn hit Foles on his throwing arm on a strip sack. While the Patriots were returning the fumble for a touchdown, Foles was clutching at his arm in some pain.

After getting checked out in a pop-up tent on the sideline, the Eagles said Foles suffered a shoulder strain. He didn’t return to the game, but was able to stay on the sideline. That seemed like a good sign.

Foles completed just 3 of 9 passes for 44 yards and was sacked a few times. It wasn’t just Foles; the entire first-team offense (and second-team offense) struggled to get going.

Offensive struggles
Like we said, the offense really struggled to get going. Some of that was pass protection. Some of that is probably because of a lack of playmakers. Corey Clement, Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery weren’t out there tonight. The offense is going to be different without those guys.

Suds dropping dimes
Nate Sudfeld had a great game in relief of Foles. He was making it rain all night (see 10 observations). His throw to Shelton Gibson on the early touchdown was perfect. He threw a great 28-yarder to Dallas Goedert in the first half.

In the second half, Suds threw a perfect fade to Goedert in the end zone but it was batted away. He came back on the next play with another perfect pass, this time to Richard Rodgers. He later threw another perfect pass to Gibson for a 57-yard gain. He threw another perfect touchdown pass to Rashard Davis.

Gibson flashes
For the second straight game, Gibson caught a touchdown pass. He didn’t catch a long bomb for a TD like he did last week, but he ran a great route in the red zone. The touchdown came after he got injured earlier in the same series. After going to the sideline to get checked out, Gibson returned and on his first play back, caught a TD. He also had a 57-yarder in the second half, showing off that speed.

And he also flashed on special teams.

He’s still learning the position with the new kickoff rules, but Gibson looks pretty good as a kick returner. He took one back 46 yards and was really close to turning the corner and possibly taking it all the way back. Gibson had four kick returns for 121 yards (30.3 per return).

Defense rebounds
The Eagles’ first-team defense didn’t get off to a good start against some guy named Tom Brady. Brady completed all five of his passes on the first drive of the game to get the Patriots in the end zone on eight plays over 63 yards.

From there, though, the Eagles’ first-team defense settled in some.

But after most of the Eagles’ starters were out, Brady moved the ball down the field easily on a last touchdown drive of the first half to put the Patriots up 27-7. Brady played the entire first half, throwing for 172 yards and two TD passes.

Catching issues
Three drops for Matt Jones. He’s trying to make the team, but that won’t help. He did make a few grabs too.

Faked out
Sidney Jones had good moments tonight, but he had a really bad one too. Cordarrelle Patterson caught a ball right in front of him, put his left foot in the dirt and cut back, leaving Jones in his dust. Patterson easily scored a touchdown. It was an ugly play from the Eagles’ talented young corner.

New penalties
The Eagles got called for three lowering-the-helmet calls. Rodney McLeod, Nigel Bradham and Jeremy Reaves got called for them.

Depth chart look
Jones got the start as the Eagles’ nickel, but rotated with Avonte Maddox with that first team. Kamu Grugier-Hill was the first-team WILL. Haloti Ngata started at DT next to Fletcher Cox; previously we have seen Destiny Vaeao there.

Missing in action
The following players didn’t play: Carson Wentz, Jalen Mills Agholor, Clement, Mack Hollins, Josh Adams, Donnel Pumphrey, Chandon Sullivan, Asantay Brown and Markus Wheaton.

Agholor and Clement are dealing with lower-body injuries. Pederson has said the team is resting them and getting them ready for Week 1.

Mills left practice early on Tuesday with an unknown injury. Rasul Douglas started in his place.

WR Bryce Treggs (hamstring), TE Rodgers (knee), S Stephen Roberts (ankle), OT Taylor Hart (cramping), WR Kamar Aiken (hamstring) left the game early. TE Josh Perkins left to be evaluated for a concussion.

Up next
The Eagles are on the road next week for their third preseason game. They’ll play the Browns in Cleveland next Thursday, which means we might see them on HBO’s "Hard Knocks." More importantly, the third preseason game is known as the dress rehearsal. That’s when we’ll likely see the starters play deeper into the game. 

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Good start for Carson Wentz and a look at the NFC East picture

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Good start for Carson Wentz and a look at the NFC East picture

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the Eagles' victory over the Colts. The guys agree that Carson Wentz looked good in his season debut. Wendell Smallwood was a pleasant surprise.

This defense will give Carson Wentz some room for error to shake off any rust.

Derrick and Barrett take a look at the NFC East picture after week three. Also, is Patrick Mahomes the only consistent thing in the NFL right now?

1:00 - Eagles win! How did Carson Wentz look?
8:00 - The defense will give Carson Wentz time to shake off rust.
12:30 - A look at the NFC East on Sunday.
19:00 - Big upsets on Sunday.
23:30 - Patrick Mahomes is the only consistent thing in the NFL?

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How Doug Pederson got a huge call to go Eagles’ way


How Doug Pederson got a huge call to go Eagles’ way

Sometimes the squeaky wheel really does get the oil. 

It worked in Doug Pederson’s favor Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Colts, when the Eagles got a much-needed defensive holding call to extend their game-winning touchdown drive. 

Pederson revealed Monday morning on WIP that earlier in the game, he called over the referee to let him know that the Colts’ defensive line had been holding their offensive tackles. Pederson told him to just “be aware of it.” 

Then on 4th-and-5 at a crucial moment in the fourth quarter, that little chat ended up helping the Eagles in a big way. 

That’s a pretty clear hold. Jabaal Sheard holds Lane Johnson so Margus Hunt can get around the edge on a stunt. It works and Hunt forces Wentz to throw the ball early. 

Maybe if Hunt isn’t in his face, Wentz delivers a perfect pass to Jordan Matthews to get the first down. He probably does, but we’ll never know. If you think the Eagles get a first down, we’d have to assume Wentz’s non-pressured throw would be on the money and Matthews would catch it. Very possible, likely even, but not guaranteed. 

This penalty gave the Eagles the first down and they scored the go-ahead touchdown seven plays later. 

During Monday’s press conference, I asked Pederson if he’s strategic in bringing up these things to refs: 

No, it’s common practice. I get a chance to meet with officials before the game. I get a chance to meet with the head referee before pregame. Listen, it’s a tough job. And if there’s something out there that we see, they want to know about it so they can get it right. It’s not strategic, it’s not planned in any way. It’s something that we saw throughout the game and wanted to bring to their attention and it was a true hold on Lane and they got it right. It’s not a competitive advantage other than we just want to make sure that everything is officiated correctly. I’m sure Frank (Reich) had things on their sideline too that he could talk to them about. It’s fair game, so to speak. It’s just common practice throughout the league.

It might not have been strategic, but it’s a good thing Pederson pointed out those penalties that hadn’t been called earlier in the game. 

Holding calls on defensive linemen are pretty rare; it’s not something refs are probably super focused on during games. They’re looking for holding from offensive linemen and from defensive backs. So Pederson’s bringing it up to the officials likely put it on their radar. 

And it helped the Eagles when they really needed it.

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