The Eagles were able to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game 33-23. From a complete turnaround Offensively to a dominant defensive line, there was plenty for fans to get excited about. There were also some interesting statistics that are worth noting.
We expected this coming into the game, but the Eagles starter threw for 167 yards, 2TD and a pick, completing 17/20 passes. The interception fell on the shoulders of Nelson Agholor who tipped a pass into the air and the other incompletion came on a sloppy DGB route. Bradford seemed to be extremely comfortable in Pederson’s Offense in what was his first extended look in a live game scenario. A 114 passer rating sounds like a very nice number to wake up to on Monday morning if you’re Sam Bradford.
Having accumulated for less than 40% of the team’s total Offensive yardage in the opening two preseason games, the receivers burst onto the scene against the Colts and ended the game with a total of 178 yards. The Eagles put up 388 Offensive yards overall so in contrast to what we’ve seen previously, this was MUCH better. Not only that, but the unit found the endzone…TWICE! Dorial Green-Beckham did what he does best, fading in the endzone to pick up the score while David Watford caught a rainbow pass from Chase Daniel to do the same. Today also marked the first time during the preseason that Paul Turner did not lead the team in receiving yards, that honor went to Josh Huff.
Tight end utilization:
The Eagles Tight End’s had been quiet in the opening two games when it came to receiving. 3-TE sets were persistent and blocking was impressive but the yardage had fell short of expectation. That changed drastically against the Colts. Trey Burton was targeted more than anyone else on the team (5 times) and picked up 35 yards and an easy touchdown pass. Zach Ertz was also targeted five times, picking up 25 yards. It’s interesting that the pair combined for one less reception than the entire receiving corps combined. It’s music to the ears of Eagles fans who have been pleading to see Ertz and Burton demonstrate their playmaking ability in preseason.
So who’s running the show?
The starters may have seen the entire first half and the opening series of the second, but an interesting pattern emerged. Kenjon Barner filtered into the rotation much more heavily than intended and actually carried the ball more times than Ryan Mathews while Darren Sproles didn’t touch it once..although he was targeted out of the backfield. Was this just to keep Mathews and Sproles fresh, or could Kenjon Barner prove to be the Eagles battering ram in order to help the explosiveness of Mathews and Sproles? It’s an emerging storyline that will be interesting to follow deep into the regular season.
Under the radar:
The man who led the Eagles in tackles? A linebacker? Defensive lineman? If you guessed undrafted cornerback C.J Smith, then you’d be right. The former NDSU teammate of Carson Wentz racked up an impressive 7 solo tackles on the night and seemed to always be around the ball. Smith had a strong showing, building off of what he demonstrated against the Bucs in the preseason opener. Now we’ve found out he can tackle securely too, is he the ultimate cornerback sleeper?