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August 27, 2016

Final observations: Eagles 33, Colts 23

There hasn't been much optimism in Philadelphia about the Eagles this preseason, and in the coming months, we might see this was for good reason. On the field, though, the Birds have looked like a perfectly competent football team so far.

Everyone remembers this game last year, when Sam Bradford put on a show in Green Bay that had national pundits talking Super Bowl for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. In fact, the last two times the Eagles won their first three preseason games, they went a combined 11-21 and the coach was fired at the end of the season. If you want to claim that the preseason means absolutely nothing, I will not argue with you.

But the Eagles continued to play pretty well tonight in Indianapolis. Through three games, the first-team defense has looked dominant at times. The front seven whipped the Colts' line tonight. The offense has question marks all over heading into the regular season, but it moved the ball consistently as they should have against a depleted Colts defense. Maybe, just maybe, they won't be quite as bad as everyone thought. We'll begin to learn what they're really made of two weeks from now when the Cleveland Browns come to town.

The Eagles held on for a 33-23 win in Indy. Here's what I saw:

The good

• Working in a few backup linemen, Sam Bradford and the starters did get a drive at the start of the second half. They made good use of it. The Eagles marched 68 yards on nine plays, finishing it off with a three-yard touchdown pass to a widddeeeee open Trey Burton:

• Speaking of Burton, get ready for more of those three tight end sets because the kid can play. He finished with five catches for 35 yards.

• Good news from Carson Wentz’s pre-game workout, as there appears to be a decent chance that the No. 2 overall pick takes the field in the final preseason game against the New York Jets. That would certainly make Thursday night’s proceedings at The Linc more interesting.

• Chase Daniel, who took a ton of heat after the first preseason game, looked solid playing with the Eagles' backups: 9-12, 104 yards, and 1 touchdown. This was a nice stop and go move by former college quarterback David Watford:

The bad

• Dave Fipp’s special teams gave up a punt block that the Colts’ Jordan Todman fell on in the end zone. I don’t know exactly what the individual assignments were, but it appeared as if Ed Reynolds missed a block from the up back position.

• Reserve defensive back Denzel Rice struggled in coverage on multiple occasions on the Colts' six-play, 88-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

The ugly

• Seeing his first action of the preseason, Wendell Smallwood ran two times for 11 yards. But on that second carry, the rookie fifth-round pick took quite a shot, was slow to get up, and went back to the locker room, where he was evaluated for a head injury.

• Cody Parkey missed an extra point, and it seems pretty safe to say the kicking competition is a wrap. Unless there is an injury between now and September 11th, it would be very surprising if Caleb Sturgis isn't the Eagles' kicker.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann