Yes, I am a bit behind on this recap, but I was unable to watch the game live and had to watch the replay on NFL Network the next day. Not the best option since the announcers were Bears announcers, but better than nothing, right? I’m not really worried by the fact they lost. I do recognize though that they still have a lot to work on and not even the guys who are going to start are exempt from that criticism. Nobody played out of their mind and not many people played terribly. Here’s what I have to say after their first game in over six months.
I was ecstatic to finally see the Eagles play in a game, even if it was just preseason. The way last season ended was pretty sad, so it was awesome to see them back on the field. Nick Foles didn’t exactly impress in his first series of football in a while, going 6/9 for 44 yards and 2 INTs. And the interceptions were completely his fault…there’s no way around it. The first one he was under pressure and threw it off his back foot into double coverage and the second was a force in between two Eagles that ended up being to neither one in particular, therefore allowing the Bears to grab an easy pick. I hate to say it but he looked the worst out of the four QBs that played.
Mark Sanchez looked the best, going 7/10 for 79 yards. He had some nice passes and didn’t make any mistakes that I saw. G.J. Kinne technically had better stats, but it’s not as impressive when you’re going against 4th stringers. He was also unable to lead them to a scoring drive when they needed it in the fourth quarter. Matt Barkley looked pretty bad too, going 7/16 for 73 yards, 1 TD and an INT. His TD pass was a short pass to RB David Fluellen in which Barkley barely had to do any of the work, and the pick was just an awful throw. I hope Barkley gets cut.
As for the running backs, Matthew Tucker impressed me the most with 8 carries for 40 yards and two short TDs. He did have a lost fumble though that wasn’t even forced…it looked like he just tripped by himself and the ground forced the fumble. That’s not acceptable and it put the Bears in excellent FG position. Fluellen looked alright as well, getting 25 yards on 6 carries, although 15 of those yards were on one carry. Darren Sproles also looked lightning fast as usual on his three carries, especially his 9-yarder that led to a first down. LeSean McCoy had nothing to prove and only got one carry. He’s the starter no matter what in the regular season.
In terms of receiving, the tight ends looked great and out-shined the wide receivers. Zach Ertz led the team in receiving with 4 receptions for 60 yards while James Casey had 3 catches for 33 yards. Brent Celek technically didn’t have a catch, but he had a couple that were called back because of penalties (I’ll get to the copious amount of penalties later). Riley Cooper didn’t play and Jeremy Maclin worked off the rust and got one catch. Somehow Ifeanyi Momah was the starting receiver alongside Maclin for this game, but I guarantee he won’t make the team. He’s not good.
Second round pick Jordan Matthews was very “inconsistent” as Chip Kelly described later. He had 4 catches but only gained 14 yards, and he had 3 drops on the night which is completely unacceptable. The other rookie WR they drafted, Josh Huff, had one catch that nearly resulted in a TD and a 102 yard kick return TD, likely already solidifying himself as a return man for them next year. Quron Pratt, the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, was actually second on the team in receiving with 3 catches for 39 yards. I believe they were all from Kinne and against super backups, so don’t read too much into that. Nonetheless, it’s impressive.
Defensively, I can’t really say they played well overall as a team if they gave up 34 points. My least favorite player on the Eagles, Roc Carmichael, somehow led the team in tackles with 6. Leading a team in tackles as a CB though is often misleading because it means you let your guy get open enough for the QB to throw to him and you had no option but to tackle him. He did have one time in coverage where he got burned by Josh Morgan. Nate Allen had a nice game with 5 tackles and a great INT. He also had a pass defensed. Most other people had just 1 or 2 tackles because there are only so many reps to go around.
Jaylen Watkins looked terrible in coverage, getting beat again and again. He got burned on the 73 yard TD pass from Jimmy Clausen to Chris Williams in the third quarter, then was part of the coverage in another TD pass less than five minutes later. It wasn’t until he picked off the Bears fourth string QB till he at least somewhat redeemed himself. The offensive line was also a bit shaky at times, allowing pressure to get to the QBs. But they only allowed one sack, so that’s worth something.
The game seemed to move very slowly due to the millions of penalties called in the game, as well as the multiple times where the ref threw a flag and then later declared there was no flag on the play. There were 23 penalties combined, 9 of which were on the Eagles. That has to be eliminated in the future, that’s way too many.
Overall though, I think it was still a good start. I’m not completely pleased, but there were some good things to take away from it. They’ll take on the Patriots in their next game next Friday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win just because how much the Patriots don’t care about winning in the preseason. Either way though, the preseason isn’t about winning. It’s all about evaluating talent, and that’s what Chip Kelly will be doing.