PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “They stink.”READ MORE: Wheeler's Arm, Hoskins' Bat Power Phillies Past Braves, 7-3
“Put in [Mark] Sanchez.”
“The season is over.”
Those were just some of the things, the printable things, Philly fans were saying and thinking in the first half of the Eagles opening game against the Jaguars on Sunday. The second half? Well, that was a whole different story as the Eagles came out and dominated the final two quarters outscoring the Jags 34-0 in the final 30 minutes, after trailing 17-0 heading into halftime.
It was a tale of two halves, but ultimately the Eagles prevailed and will head into Indianapolis next Monday night 1-0.
3. Nick Foles
Did he persevere and lead the Eagles to a comeback win? Yup. Did he show veteran-like composure throughout a miserable first-half performance? Surely.
There are definitely positives we can takeaway from Foles’ 27-45, 322 yard, two touchdown, and three turnover performance. However, there is no way you come away from that contest feeling better about Nicky Flash than you did prior to the game. Foles’ first-half passer rating was 50.5. He held the ball too long, lost fumbles on the first two Eagles’ possessionsa, threw a bad interception in the end zone, missed open receivers, and took five sacks. In the first-half, it’s fair to say, he was awful.
While Foles definitely showed his resiliency, the first 30 minutes of the game was another one of, what is quickly becoming, his trademark bomb performances. We often hear from fans, analysts, and pundits alike that, ‘We’re still waiting to see who Foles is.’ No we’re not, this is who he is—capable of being dominant, capable of an unpredictable flop. He’s a middling NFL quarterback. Hey, Eli Manning won two Super Bowls.
2. Riley Cooper
Where’s Coop? Did he play? Had to check the box score to be certain and yes he did play. In fact, Cooper caught four balls for 29 yards on seven targets. Woo hoo!
1. The offensive line
You can’t predict injuries, I get that, but the supposed best o-line in football is all the sudden depleted and unreliable. That scares me.
All-Pro left-guard Evan Mathis left Sunday’s game with what looks to be a MCL injury, hopefully just a sprain. Allen Barbre, who is filling it at right-tackle for the suspended Lane Johnson, suffered an ankle injury (reportedly, not expected to be a high ankle sprain). Backup tackle Matt Tobin was already inactive after a preseason injury. All-Pro tackle Jason Peters, who is now 32-years-old, looked like his feet were in quicksand during the first-half.READ MORE: Lower Moreland Will Not Mandate Masks In Schools After Tense Community Meeting
David Molk (who?) and Andrew Gardner (WHO?) were forced to step in at offensive line for the Eagles, who were one injury away from using a tight-end as an offensive lineman. I am officially worried about the offensive line.
3. Billy Davis
The Eagles defense played very well, for the most part. Both of the Jacksonville touchdowns came off of Nick Foles’ turnovers which gave the Jags short fields. Other than that, the Jaguars offense was stifled by Davis’ defense. Granted, Chad Henne and the Jags offense isn’t all that explosive, but the Eagles were flying around, especially in the second half.
Jacksonville was 2-14 on third down, and started the game 0-9 in that category, a point of emphasis for Davis heading into his second second as defensive coordinator. The Birds held the Jags scoreless on their final 11 possessions
Individually, Mychal Kendricks led the Eagles in tackles with six, and also recorded a sack (his fourth in last four regular season games) and a pass deflected. Brandon Graham looked like, well, not Brandon Graham. He was fast and strong, tallying four tackles. Fletcher Cox recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown on a Trent Cole strip sack, Cole’s 80th career sack and Cox’s first career touchdown. Nate Allen had a solid game, recording a sack and forced fumble as well. And Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans were rock solid in the middle as expected, as the Birds allowed a mere 64 yards rushing.
The Eagles have now forced at least one takeaway in 14 straight games (including playoffs), their first time doing so since 2004 when they had a streak of 15 games.
2. Cody Parkey
We can’t trust a rook—never mind. Parkey nailed a 51-yard field goal on his first-career attempt and went 2-2 on the afternoon tallying 10 points and five touchbacks. Since 1960, it’s only the fifth time an Eagles kicker has registered five touchbacks in a game.
In Parkey we trust!
Note: I would be remiss not to mention Donnie “Long Ball” Jones as well, who landed five of his six punts inside the 20-yard line—including a beautiful downed punt on the one-yard line by Brandon Boykin—and has now done so 38 times in his 17 games as an Eagle.
1. Darren Sproles
What a debut for Sproles.
Sproles accumulated 147 all-purpose yards (74 rushing, 14 receiving, 62 punt return), including a 49-yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 which sparked the Eagles comeback. It was the longest run of Sproles’ career.
Sproles ended the game with 15 offensive touches (11 carries, four receptions) to McCoy’s 27 (21 carries, six receptions), not to mention his electrifying punt returns. It’s fun having a legitimate threat to score every time the opposition punts, isn’t it?
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