Unlike last week’s game against Tampa Bay, the Eagles got their act together in all three phases of the game and defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 20-16.
It was an electric atmosphere at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon as Carson Wentz made his regular season debut. The former second overall pick looked confident from the onset, completing 68 percent of his passes for 255 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Even though Wentz had a couple of mistakes in the second half that put the Colts in decent scoring position. His teammates picked him up from the running game to the defense and brought home another victory.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles’ second win of the 2018 season:
1. Wentz’s debut
The third-year quarterback quickly knocked off the rust on Sunday afternoon, despite not playing a snap of meaningful football in nine months. Wentz came out firing on his first offensive drive, getting tight ends Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Josh Perkins all involved in the passing game.
Speaking of Goedert, Wentz hooked up with his fellow FCS counterpart for a 13-yard touchdown to get the Eagles on the scoreboard first. In addition to throwing his first touchdown of the season, he also threw his first interception.
In the third quarter, Wentz tried to go to his safety valve in Ertz but was intercepted by Colts linebacker Anthony Walker. He had a fumble in the third frame too, but those were his only mistakes in the game.
Wentz also showed off his mobility in this game. He extended plays outside of the pocket and was not hesitant to run the ball when necessary.
Late in the fourth quarter, when the Eagles needed to score, Wentz somehow escaped the Colts’ pass rush and delivered a pass on third down to wide receiver Nelson Agholor for an acrobatic first down.
The former North Dakota State product did a good job of protecting himself from taking huge hits, which is a good sign to see for Eagles fans.
There were a lot of positives to take away from Wentz’s debut, despite the previously mentioned mistakes. Hopefully, he will use this game as a lesson and continue his upward trend next week against the Tennessee Titans.
2. Running game comes alive
Heading into this week’s game, the Eagles knew they were going to be without both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles.
Ajayi suffered a back injury early in last Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, while Sproles was dealing with a hamstring injury. Both players did not participate in practice during the week.
Therefore, the Eagles needed the running back trio of Josh Adams, Corey Clement, and Wendell Smallwood to all step up against the Colts.
And to the surprise of everybody, they did just that, picking up 152 yards on the ground to lead the Eagles to victory.
Each running back had their moments throughout the game as Smallwood matched his rushing yards total from last week in the first quarter with 28 yards.
The former West Virginia product finished with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles the lead. Smallwood also had a nice catch for 34 yards late in the second quarter to put Philly in field goal range.
Clement also had a good game with 75 total yards ( 56 rushing yards) on 19 touches. The second-year running back found a lot of success running the ball east-west, which was due to good blocking by the offensive line.
Finally, undrafted free agent Josh Adams had a solid debut himself. Despite getting stuffed on his first carry, Adams ripped off runs of 16 and 10 yards to finish with 30 yards on the day.
3. Defense stands tall
After getting torched last Sunday by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers, where they allowed multiple big plays, the Eagles defense clamped down on Indianapolis.
It was a total group effort as they held the Colts to two Adam Vinatieri field goals in back-to-back red zone opportunities in the third quarter. The defense also did the same thing to begin the fourth quarter, after Colts defensive end Margus Hunt got a strip sack on Wentz late in the third quarter.
In addition to their critical red zone stops, Philly’s defense made the Colts’ running game a non-factor, holding them to only 68 yards. It appears that the league’s No. 1 rushing defense from last season is still in tip-top shape through three games.
And what about quarterback Andrew Luck? The veteran signal-caller completed a pedestrian 63 percent of his passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. The secondary did a great job of keeping Colts wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Ryan Grant in front of them and eliminated those big plays.
Nevertheless, the Eagles did a good job in all three phases of the game and executed, specifically on defense. They will now go back on the road next week to take on another AFC South opponent in the Tennessee Titans.