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September 11, 2016

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Browns game

Eagles NFL
091116CarsonWentz Michael Perez/AP

The question isn't, "Will Carson Wentz win Super Bowl MVP?" Rather, it's "How many Super Bowl MVPs will Carson Wentz win by Week 8?"

OMG, the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl, and Carson Wentz is going to be the first player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his rookie season. OK, maybe not. They beat the Browns, which is something that a lot of teams do. Still, the kid was good, and the Eagles won comfortably, 29-10.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards:

1) The 'Dime Chucker' Award: Carson Wentz

Yes the Eagles won, and yes Wentz played well on the whole. However, the most encouraging takeaway from this game were the highlight reel throws Wentz made, and there were several.

This is a dime:

And this is a dime:

There were others. You saw them. That's what Wentz can do. Leading up to game day, we predicted that Wentz would not be conservative. He was going to take shots. He was going to make big plays, and he was probably going to make big mistakes. On Sunday, we only saw the former. The mistakes will come, and that's fine. But the important thing is that Wentz showed today why the Eagles gave up what they did to go get him.

2) Donnie J'owns

That's less of an award and more of a fact. Jones had two punts downed inside the 10, including one at the one-yard line. He also blasted punts that went for 67 and 72 yards, helping the Eagles win the field position battle all afternoon. Donnie J'owns.

3) The 'Big Balls Doug' Award: Doug Pederson

Remember when we all thought Chip Kelly was some kind of risk-taking gambler, and then he wasn't? Good times. It turns out Doug Pederson is willing to take reasonable risks. On 4th and 4 from the Browns' 40, Pederson elected to go for it. In my view, that's an obvious, no-brainer call, but one that a lot of NFL coaches stupidly don't make. The Eagles picked up the first down, and then on the next play ... Touchdown Nelson Agholor.

4) The 'Hey, there he is' Award: Nelson Agholor

Agholor had a nice day, catching 4 passes for 57 yards, and the touchdown on the dime throw by Wentz noted above. While I wouldn't go rushing to your fantasy football add/drops to grab him ASAP, it was a performance that Agholor can build on. One thing I enjoyed about Agholor's TD was that his teammates slapped the crap out of him thereafter.

No wonder he doesn't want to catch the football.

5) The Regroup Award: Jordan Matthews

Jordan Matthews dropped Carson Wentz's first pass attempt as a pro, because, you know, why wouldn't that happen? But Matthews recovered, snagging 7 catches for 114 yards and a TD.

6) The 'No Excuses Necessary' Award: Wentz

By my count, the Eagles had six drops today. Or was it five? Whatever it was, it was too many, as it usually is. Didn't matter. That was one of those games where you'd make excuses for Sam Bradford because receivers dropped passes. Wentz didn't need those excuses.

7) The 'Wake up' Award: The referees

On one play, the officials made one awful non-call on as blatant of a hold as you'll see:

And on the back end of that play, they threw a flag for pass interference on Malcolm Jenkins for playing good defense. Without that horrible pass interference call, the Browns would not have entered the end zone Sunday.

On the flip side, it felt as though Lane Johnson and Jason Peters were getting away with jumping the snap for the majority of the game. Clean it up, refs.

8) The 'Settle down, big guy' Award: Jason Peters

After the game, Jason Peters said that Carson Wentz is as good throwing on the run as Aaron Rodgers. I mean, there's certainly a lot to like about Wentz, but let's dial that back a shade, JP.

9) The 'Thank You' Award: Robert Griffin III

The Eagles mostly played good defense against the Browns, but they were helped out quite a bit by Browns receivers, who dropped a lot of passes of their own, as well as RG3, who often missed open targets.

10) The 'Real Offense' Award: Pederson

On the Eagles' first drive, they mixed a lot of different formations and personnel packages, with run plays that set up pass plays and vice versa. The Eagles got into a rhythm and took an early 7-0 lead, which is so important.

In his post-game press conference, Pederson said that he scripts 30 plays heading into a game. I'm not sure Chip Kelly ran more than 30 plays, total. (Seriously).

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