September 11, 2016
The Eagles entered the locker room with a six-point lead, but there was still plenty of work to be done in the second half of the opener against the Cleveland Browns. On both sides of the ball, they were up to the challenge.
In the season opener, the Eagles took care of business and defeated what figures to be a bad Browns team, 29-10. Considering how well Carson Wentz (who the Browns essentially passed on in the NFL Draft) played, you have to imagine Cleveland sports radio will be pretty interesting over the next week. Here's what I saw:
• Two halves of football, and two absolute dimes for touchdowns from Wentz:
Wentz with a dime, perfectly placed pass for the TD to Agholor, 22-10 Birds 17/30 222 yds and 2 TD so far for Carson pic.twitter.com/eWbEhjQtH6— Philly Influencer (@PHL_Influencer) September 11, 2016
This bomb to Nelson Agholor came after Doug Pederson showed some gumption and went for it on 4th and 4 at the Cleveland 40-yard line. The decision paid off, as Wentz took a big shot and found Zach Ertz over the middle.
• Here's Wentz's final line: 22-37, 278 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 101.0 quarterback rating. Overall, this was a pretty impressive debut for the rookie. There are obvious areas that need to be cleaned up (accuracy, the frequency with which he was hit), but Wentz showed the flashes that Eagles fans were hoping to see.
• In the first half, the biggest surprise of the game was the Eagles' non-existent pass rush. Considered the strength of the team, the front four started to get home later in the game as the Browns were forced to pass. Robert Griffin III was sacked three times for 22 yards and hit on a few other occasions.
The Eagles held RG3 to a quarterback rating of 55.
• Chip who? The Eagles won the time of possession battle 39:20 to 20:40 for Cleveland.
• Donnie Jones was a weapon in this game, booming long punts and then pinning the Browns deep when the field was short. Jones averaged 49.2 yards per kick.
• Like his teammate Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons' Twitter game is strong:
1 billion RT's and I will run on the field pic.twitter.com/CdiC5W2nPr— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) September 11, 2016
• Overall, the Eagles' rushing attack was solid, but not spectacular with 133 yards on 34 carries. Ryan Mathews added a late touchdown.
• Darren Sproles was responsible for a number of drops last season, and he botched a handoff from Wentz in Browns territory after dropping a couple of passes earlier. The veteran fell on the fumble, but the play stalled what was shaping up as a promising Eagles drive.
• On the first drive of the second half, the Eagles had Corey Coleman triple covered, RG3 threw a duck straight up in the air ... and the Browns' first-round pick hauled in the catch for 58 yards:
worst triple coverage ever, eagles.— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) September 11, 2016
• At some point in the game, you just had to figure the Browns were going to Brown. Cameron Erving might have swung the game's momentum at 13-10 with a snap that went over RG3's head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann