The Eagles walk into a week 3 showdown with the Steelers undefeated after a huge win at Soldier Field under the Monday Night spotlight. Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a 29-14 win that has sent a surge of excitement and confidence through fans and players alike. But how did each position fare as a group?
Carson Wentz was exceptional for the second week in a row. Throwing for 190 yards and 1TD and completing 21/34 passes, Wentz became the first rookie in NFL history to start the year 2-0 without throwing a single interception. From the ability to read Defense and identify blitzes, to his athleticism and pocket awareness becoming one of his greatest assets, Wentz had an incredible night.
There were some poor decisions, bad throws and a big hit that he really didn’t have to take..but overall, the ability to lead this Offense, trust in a wider variety of targets and the composure to go for it on fourth down are just too stunning to overlook.
Wentz is still learning, it’s just his second game against an NFL Defense..but if anything, he showed even better mechanics than he did in week one and seemed ready for whatever Doug Pederson threw at him.
A quick look at the stat line that shows 100 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns paint a terribly misleading picture of how efficient the Eagles backfield was last night. In fact at one point, Wendell Smallwood came into the game and rushed twice for sixteen yards, tying with Carson Wentz for the lead rusher on the team. It wasn’t until a Bears injury crisis and a lack of fight opened up the ground attack and gave the Eagles an extra turbo boost.
This is the second consecutive week where the backfield has scraped through unnoticed..but against a higher caliber Defense in week 3, they have to do better. The decision to let Darren Sproles lead the way was an interesting one and the entire situation will be analyzed later today, but as much as 100 rushing yards sounds efficient, the backfield was anything but for the majority of last night.
Penalties, penalties, penalties. Wentz may have only been sacked twice, but there were several times where his pocket mobility saved him from being taken to the ground more often. Wentz sustained 3 QB hits on top of that as well as dealing with some more poor snaps from Jason Kelce.
Lane Johnson was one of the few bright points of the night, but with his suspension now official after this week, the Eagles need to find consistency and fast. The line is allowing way too much pressure to leak through to Carson Wentz and are struggling to open up the inside run game. Johnson’s ability to pull and shift the pocket outside was unprecedented and will be sorely missed if his appeal is declined.
There were some bright points and on play-action, the line had mixed success..but mixed success won’t cut it against the Steelers in week 3.
I will never get bored of praising Trey Burton. His first career touchdown reception pass and as predicted, he became one of the favorite targets for Carson Wentz following an extended amount of work in training camp with him, receiving for 49 yards.
Brent Celek’s contributions are often overlooked and even though he didn’t haul in a pass, there were times where he was let down by a bad pass or just simply couldn’t get there. Celek helped the blocking aspect of things tremendously and allowed Burton to emerge as one of Wentz’s most reliable threats..a strong night for the unit.
It was a varied day for the Eagles wide receivers. From stunning catches in traffic to endzone drops and missed PI calls, the unit struggled to find a consistent rhythm. There were times where Wentz would miss a wide open receiver in favor of a checkdown (part of his development) and others where the receivers just couldn’t get open. The deep underthrow to Agholor, who had at least three steps on his corner was unfortunate..but the Eagles have to find a way to incorporate all of their receivers into the game.
Josh Huff had one reception for -1 yard, Wentz targeted Agholor on a fade as opposed to a favorable DGB matchup, but the deep shots that paid off, the big catches and consistently crisp route running were all gleaming positives..even if they didn’t find the endzone.
4 QB hits and 2 sacks from the D-Line cemented a dominant night. The healthy rotation allowed for guys like the undrafted Destiny Vaeao to explode onto the scene and constant pressure in the face of both Bears QB’s limited them to just 8.1 yards per reception.
After an explosive start, it seemed like the Bears recognized short passes over the middle were the easiest way to rack up big yards against this team..and then the Eagles came knocking, again..and again.
Fletcher Cox was kept in check, double teamed at times but this allowed for the Defensive ends to wreak havoc and pile on the tackles. A successful night from the Eagles pass rush and hopefully a sign of even bigger things to come.
I don’t know what it is about Jordan Hicks and turnovers, but it’s like he’s glued to them. A Nigel Bradham interception reaffirmed his specialty in coverage that we already knew and three tackles from Stephen Tulloch helped limit the Bears to just 3.6 yards per carry. Mychal Kendricks saw limited action, as expected, but still compiled 4 tackles in just 20 snaps..showing that he does have the potential to maybe, just maybe win a starting role in the middle.
Overall, the unit did what it had to and supported the pass rush more than efficiently.
This is easily the weakest position on the team..but Jalen Mills was given a Eric Rowe style trial by fire against Alshon Jeffery. However, some zone coverage looks and secure tackles saw Mills lead the team in the category while emerging later on in the game as a confident corner who isn’t afraid to get physical when needed.
Ron Brooks showed his sporadic levels of tackling again while Nolan Carroll appeared to have yet another inconsistent day. The unit will be evaluated more thoroughly as always in our all-22 recap later this week, but the first impressions were not good, for the most part.
Malcolm Jenkins burst onto the scene with a sack and combined with Rodney McLeod for ten total tackles. The unit was exactly what we had hoped it would become..dominant in numerous facets of the game and picked up the slack left by the corners, which if not done, could have been catastrophic.
The last line of Defense was just that against the Bears and had a huge impact on the game..a big night for the tandem that looks primed to dominate the NFL.
#SuperSturgis was great last night, kicking a 53 yard field goal and showing up when needed to give the Eagles some vital points. The Eddie Royal return was all too reminiscent of the Cardinals rushing TD last year, but a lot of that was down to Royal being one of the most impressive returners in the game today.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports