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October 09, 2016

Halftime observations: Lions 21, Eagles 10

Eagles NFL

After an early bye week, the Eagles got the chance to improve to 4-0 against the reeling Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field, site of last season’s Thanksgiving Day massacre. In the first half, it was the Lions that looked like the undefeated team.

Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes on three drives, and the Lions head into the locker room with a 21-10 lead over the Birds. Here’s what I saw:

The good

•    The Eagles needed a spark in the second quarter, and their rookie quarterback provided it. Down 14-0, Carson Wentz turned nothing into something, avoiding a free blitzer and finding Ryan Mathews for an easy first down.

And that is precisely how the nine-play, 75-yard drive ended, with a one-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to Matthews.

•    Wentz looked dangerous on a couple of keepers, an element of the offense that the Eagles might look to explore more in the coming weeks.

•    Darren Sproles was dangerous in both the run and pass game, finishing with 48 yards from scrimmage on six touches.

•    Great job by Wentz to get the Eagles within field goal range at the end, and Caleb Sturgis converted the 50-yard kick.

The bad

•    After three games, Wentz hadn’t come close to throwing an interception. The rookie avoided turning the ball over, but he did put a couple of throws in dangerous spots.

The ugly

•    For a unit that had been absolutely balling through the first three weeks, the Eagles defense was dominated at every level in the first half. Jim Schwartz’s crew did nothing right. The play that summed up the half best was the defensive line ending a Lions drive with a sack… and then Fletcher Cox yanked off Matthew Stafford’s helmet.

•    The Birds defense looked like they were still on their bye week early on, as Matt Stafford and JIM BOB COOTER orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard opening touchdown drive that looked very easy.

•    In two first-quarter drives, the Lions chewed up 10:32 of clock, shortening the game. A well-designed 17-yard screen pass to Theo Riddick capped off the second drive.

•    It was impressive that Connor Barwin was whistled for being ineligibly downfield on offense. Not a particularly smooth first half for the zebras.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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