Welcome Carson Wentz.
Things couldn’t have gone better for the Eagles in the debut of their rookie quarterback as the Birds pieced together a convicting, well-rounded 29-10 victory over the Browns to open the 2016 NFL season.
Perhaps it was a nod from the schedule gods as Cleveland proved to be a true cupcake and a perfect opponent for Philly to start its year against. But the team made believers of everyone at Lincoln Financial Field and watching at home Sunday. Here are the three things we noticed most in the win.
The ways of Wentz
The opening drive was one the second-overall pick out of North Dakota State will always remember. The QB raced down the field, completing four of five passes for 57 yards as the Eagles marched down field to take an early 7-0 lead.
Wentz was a little less stellar in the ensuing drives, but got it together to end the first half as a potent two-minute drill added a field goal to take a 13-7 lead into the locker room.
In a third quarter drive, a gorgeous rainbow pass completion to Nelson Agholor was a 35-yard score to add to the stat line — one that read 278yards on 22 out of 37 attempts and twotouchdowns. He also had no turnovers.
Wentzpicked out a favorite receiver in Jordan Matthews, who led the way for Philly with sevencatches for 114yards.
In defense of the defense
Sure, the Eagles defense had high expectations, but it more or less lived up to the hype Sunday afternoon holding the Browns to 10 points and 288yards (compared to Philadelphia’s 400). Many of these yards came on a few fluke plays, like a lapse in coverage by Leodis McKelvin in the second quarter when the Browns scored their first touchdown, or a failure to find the ball on a deep ball to Corey Coleman in the second half.
Fletcher Cox had a sack, Rodney McLeod had an interception and the unit gave the Eagles a great opportunity to win the game.
They were also greatly lifted by punter Donnie Jones, who repeatedly pinned the Browns deep in their own end helping the Eagles to dominate in the field position battle.
Another stellar debut
Doug Pederson might have been the MVP of the game for Philly. He scripted the first drive to perfection — just like his mentor Andy Reid used to do.
He put Wentz in great position to succeed, trusted his rookie to complete a key fourth down pass in the third quarter at midfield that led to a touchdown and stuck with the running game, mixing together all three backs as the Eagles picked up 130 yards on the ground. A third touchdown, scored on the ground by Mathews in the fourth quarter served as the punctuation to a big win.
The team benefited from a few bounces of good luck: like the time a snap went over Robert Griffin III’s head for a safety in the back of the end zone.
In all, Pederson exceeded expectations as the Eagles prevailed in Week 1.