Observations: Eagles Vs. Packers
GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Here’s what we saw in the Eagles’ 39-26 win over the Packers.
* Sam Bradford was very impressive tonight, completing all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He played a total of three series in all and finished with a sterling 156.7 quarterback rating.
* Chip Kelly’s play designs gave the Packers trouble from the first snap. Between a receiver in motion and a route combination of two crossing Eagles, one Green Bay defensive back lost track of DeMarco Murray, who opened the game with a quick five-yard reception. On the next play, Murray made a nice cut-back to pick up five more yards and the first down. He looked good on his six carries (for 28 yards) tonight, between his vision and quick cuts.
* Although Murray made nice moves, the Eagles’ first-team interior offensive line opened up good holes in the run game. Allen Barbre, however, could’ve handled his blocking assignments on the move better—one on a screen play and another when he was pulling.
* The Eagles have said they want to use Darren Sproles as a receiver more this season, and his eight-yard touchdown catch showed why. Bradford threw a perfect pass to Sproles and Green Bay’s linebacker just couldn’t keep up with the running back.
* This is the moment Tim Tebow fans have been waiting for: Kelly substituted him in for the two-point conversion. The quarterback ran up the middle but was stuffed before the goal line. Tebow also substituted in for the two-point conversion after the Eagles’ second touchdown. On that one, he threw an incomplete pass on a quick slant.
* In a goal-to-go situation on the Eagles’ second drive, the Packers sold out on Bradford handing it off. It’s possible Bradford may keep the ball in the same situation during the regular season because it’s not worth taking the hit in the preseason, but it showed Tebow’s appeal. If Tebow was in, the defense probably would’ve respected the option of the quarterback keeping the ball to free up Ryan Mathews.
* That loss of yards didn’t matter, though, and Bradford threw his second touchdown pass of the night to Trey Burton. Burton later caught another touchdown pass at the end of the first half by creating separation over the middle in the end zone.
* On the Eagles’ third drive, Bradford continued to put on a clinic. When he wasn’t throwing the ball to set up a receiver to make a play after the catch, he threw it into tight coverage where only his intended target could make the catch. Bradford capped off his perfect night with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek.
* In general, the Eagles’ crossing routes troubled Green Bay. On one of those, however, Mark Sanchez missed a wide open Nelson Agholor over the deep middle. He held onto the ball and took a sack. On his next throw, Sanchez missed Burton, who was also open deep down the middle, and threw the ball away.
* Jeff Maehl did a good job with his route running and got open several times, one of which resulted in his nine-yard touchdown catch from Sanchez (which, again, was a crossing route over the middle).
* Kenjon Barner showed off his open field elusiveness once again, except this time it was on offense. He turned a short throw into a 50-yard reception because of his quickness. Barner also got open in the end zone at the end of the first half but Sanchez overthrew him on what looked like a tough throw.
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* Lane Johnson exited the game early with a left knee injury and was held out for “precautionary reasons.” Matt Tobin took his spot at right tackle.
* Matt Barkley made a few nice throws into tight coverage in the third quarter, but they were dropped by his intended receivers. In the fourth quarter, he relied on his check-downs quite a bit and gave G.J. Kinne his first two receptions of the preseason, which totaled just four yards. Barkley finished the game completing five of his nine passes for 28 yards.
* When Tebow entered the game in the middle of the fourth quarter, he did a better job of throwing the ball in rhythm early on compared to last week. However, he fumbled his second hand-off of the preseason, which resulted in a four-yard loss.
* DeMeco Ryans made his preseason debut, and displayed his value on the first snap. One of the safeties (it looked like Malcolm Jenkins) was out of position and Ryans moved him to where he was supposed to be.
* Bennie Logan continued his dominant preseason by making it tough for the Packers to run up the middle. On Green Bay’s first drive, he quickly got into the backfield and set up Brandon Graham’s tackle-for-loss.
* Nolan Carroll played some snaps in the slot, while Eric Rowe took his place on the outside. On one play, Rowe got beat off the line-of-scrimmage and allowed his man to create separation and catch the ball for a 29-yard gain.
* Credit Graham for pressuring Brett Hundley into throwing a bad pass that resulted in Walter Thurmond’s interception return for a touchdown. He didn’t allow Hundley to step into the throw and appeared to throw off his timing.
* Jenkins, who has looked good so far in the preseason, had a couple of bad plays. On one, he either misread who Hundley was throwing the ball to or he just overran the receiver, and gave up a 52-yard gain as a result. Two plays later, Jenkins allowed a Packer to get behind him deep near the end zone, but Hundley was forced out of the pocket and threw it to a shallow receiver.
* Mychal Kendricks—fresh off his contract extension—had a couple of bad plays of his own. On one, he missed an open-field tackle that resulted in a 25-yard gain off a screen pass. On another, Kendricks was called for pass interference in the end zone that set up a Green Bay touchdown.
* As a whole, the Eagles’ first-team defensive line did a good job pressuring the quarterback. Connor Barwin got into the backfield to disrupt the play a couple of times and Cedric Thornton forced a fumble (which the Packers recovered).
* The Packers did a good job blocking on their screen passes, but they gave the Eagles fits with them. We’ll have to go back and check the film after the game to find out why that was.
* Najee Goode made one of the most impressive defensive plays of the night when he read what the Packers were doing before the play, correctly anticipated when the ball would be snapped and quickly got into the backfield to record a five-yard tackle-for-loss.
* Taylor Hart did a good job a couple of times of shedding offensive linemen at the point-of-attack to make tackles at the line-of-scrimmage.
* The Eagles’ backup secondary didn’t look good on the Packers’ 83-yard touchdown drive. Hundley had open receivers every time he dropped back to throw and easily got into a rhythm as all eight of his pass attempts were complete.
* Deontae Skinner quickly got into the backfield multiple times to disrupt the quarterback’s timing, which resulted in incomplete throws.
* E.J. Biggers was beat a few times for big plays, including a 27-yard touchdown pass. That capped off Green Bay’s 95-yard scoring drive, in which the Eagles’ backup secondary again looked bad.
* Cody Parkey didn’t kick at all tonight, whether it was a kickoff, extra point or field goal.
* The Eagles’ special teams return units continued to play well, as Raheem Mostert had several good blocks that opened up a running lane for his 67-yard kick return.
* After a bad snap, Bryan Braman almost blocked a punt. However, he did get his hand on it and forced a short punt.
* Kip Smith wasn’t exactly impressive in his field goal-kicking debut last week, but he did a nice job on his first-half kickoffs. He kicked the first past the end line and his second about eight yard deep into the end zone. He did, however, miss an extra point.