The Eagles were able to withstand a late rally from Jacksonville to steal the spotlight and seal the victory on Sunday. The record-setting attendance for an NFL international game were treated to a brilliant display from the Super Bowl champions, but there are three players in particular who deserve some extra applause.
Maybe Jordan Matthews is a fan of tea and crumpets, or maybe all it took was a balanced gameplan and some time to re-sync with Wentz for him to shine as brightly as he once did. Either way, JMatt exploded in front of 85,000 NFL fans in London for a 93-yard game where he caught four passes. Matthews was surgical on third down for the second week in a row and helped move the chains in situations where the offense needed a spark. His ability to use his body to box out opposing defenders and shield the ball was on full display as the Wentz-Matthews tandem begins to heat up once more. Matthews was fired up running back into the tunnel after the game, pumping up Eagles fans who cheered him into the locker. The Vandy star was feeling it on Sunday and was a large reason why the Eagles offense was able to climb out of some sticky spots.
I wrote an article recently trying to work out what’s going on with Rasul Douglas. In is rookie year, he performed exceptionally well considering the circumstance and when the Eagles are in dire need of DB help, they gave a nickel start to Dexter McDougle, who played minimal defensive snaps with the team last year and was re-signed midweek.
It’s safe to say there was probably a hefty chip on the shoulder of the West Virginia product and the former third-round pick made that very clear. When Jalen Mills went down early with an injury, it was Douglas who was dropped in the deep end. But, as he does every single time, he stole the show. Douglas was sound in coverage all afternoon in what could’ve been a cause for disaster, breaking up one pass and very nearly picking off two more.
The Eagles were already paper thin at cornerback, but if Douglas was anything less than his best, this could’ve very easily become a shootout. Instead, Douglas helped shut down the Jags receivers, limiting big plays and using his awareness to position himself perfectly in zonal situations.
Okay so there was a slight fumble scare but we’ll leave that to one side for now. Josh Adams has been on the outside looking in since he arrived in Philly. Whether it was injuries or just other backs earning those snaps, he’s never been able to maximize his potential…until today. The Notre Dame rookie averaged a stunning 6.8 yards per carry to amass 61 total yards. He wasn’t perfect, but it’s hard to fault Adams having injected such a sense of adrenaline into a backfield that was becoming stale and inefficient.
Bearing in mind that the Eagles were without Peters and Johnson for most of the game, the fact Josh Adams was still able to give Pederson enough confidence in his ability that the offense remained balance is actually impressive. In a game where the Eagles had a 17 point lead one week ago, the offense was somehow still lopsided. This time around, Pederson knew exactly what was needed and he rode the hot hand.
Adams was running like a man possessed and it was very reminiscent of what LeGarrette Blount brought to the table one year ago, something the Eagles truly miss. The difference is that Adams has the speed to get outside as well which helps the Eagles zone-blocking scheme tremendously.
It’s taken a while, but Adams was on top form this weekend and could be a huge factor in the weeks to come.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports