Instant Observations: Eagles-Bills

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 23-20 win over the Bills from the Linc:

DEFENSE

*Ed Reynolds intercepted Tyrod Taylor with 58 seconds left to ice the win. Taylor overthrew his intended target, Robert Woods, and Reynolds was there to make the pick.

*LeSean McCoy was the lone captain for Buffalo and was greeted by the Philadelphia crowd with more boos than cheers. He did not not interact with his former teammates pregame, and no, he did not shake Chip Kelly‘s hand. He did share an embrace with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman, though.

After the loss, he ran into the tunnel as the rest of the players gathered at midfield.

*McCoy finished with 74 yards on 20 carries (3.7 avg.) and had 35 yards receiving. 

*Following a short run early in the second quarter, McCoy threw a jab at the shoulder of Fletcher Cox, who may have had a word or two for McCoy after he brought him to the ground. McCoy and Malcolm Jenkins were jawing at one point as well.

*Cox had a big day working against Richie Incognito. He blew right past the left guard and crashed in on Tyrod Taylor for his career-best 6 1/2th sack of the season in the first. Dropped McCoy for a big loss in the fourth.

*Rough sequence for Reynolds on the Sammy Watkins 47-yard touchdown. Reynolds was late in helping Byron Maxwell, took a bad angle once he got there and then missed the tackle, allowing Watkins to scamper in the end zone. Maxwell got beat off the line by Watkins and never recovered.

*Maxwell broke up a pass intended for Watkins down the right side later in the first.

*Good job by Brandon Graham on a Watkins reverse during the Bills’ first offensive series that went nowhere because he held contain.

*Kiko Alonso and Walter Thurmond appeared to over-pursue on Mike Gillislee‘s 19-yard TD run that tied it. Gillislee cut up the field after flowing left and found plenty of daylight.

*Nice stick by Mychal Kendricks to drop McCoy for a loss in the third quarter.

*Solid outing by rookie Eric Rowe, who was locked up on Watkins a good amount and didn’t yield any big plays. He left with about five minutes remaining with an apparent right ankle/leg injury but did return.

OFFENSE

*Sam Bradford ended 23-of-38 for 247 yards with a touchdown and an interceptions, and engineered a fourth-quarter field goal drive that proved to be the difference.

*Zach Ertz had a pair of catches on the drive, including a 41-yard rumble down the left side that put the Eagles in field goal range. Ertz ran over Leodis McKelvin and made it all the way down to the 18-yard line.

Nelson Agholor couldn’t pull in a third-down pass from Bradford, and they settled for a Caleb Sturgis field goal.

*Josh Huff was injured during the big Ertz pick-up after being hit from the blind side by safety Corey Graham, but he returned.

*Bradford made a bad decision to take a sack at the two-minute warning, leaving extra time and yards for Buffalo, but he got away with it.

*Bradford went 18 quarters without throwing an interception — dating back to the first half of the Carolina game — before being picked by McKelvin early in the fourth. Brent Celek appeared to come up with the catch a few yards shy of the goal line before McKelvin snatched it out of his hands. The play was reviewed and it appeared the ball may have hit the ground, but the officiating crew said there was “no clear evidence” and the call was upheld.

*Bradford connected with  Agholor for a 53-yard score with 10:38 left in the second quarter. Facing a 2nd-and-26, Bradford ripped one down the middle to Agholor, who was able to gain a little separation from safety Corey Graham late and snared it for the biggest play of his young career.

Agholor had three catches for 62 yards. His high in receiving yards to this point in the season is 64 (Washington).

*Pretty ball by Bradford to Riley Cooper on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage that was initially ruled a 44-yard catch, but the ruling was overturned when replay showed that Cooper let it hit the turf.

*Agholor dropped a would-be first down later in the quarter.

*Ryan Mathews (13-38) got the start as the Eagles went with a heavy back rotation. DeMarco Murray (11-34) was the next man in. Darren Sproles  (7-41) scored from a yard out on the Eagles’ opening drive. Showed good balance and toughness on a 15-yard run before the score, a bulk of the yards coming after contact.

*Murray picked up a couple first downs on short-yardage situations early in the second half. There appeared to be a little more north-south to his game Sunday.

*Jason Peters hobbled off the field early in the second quarter. He was replaced by Dennis Kelly on the next series, but Peters eventually returned.

SPECIAL TEAMS/MISC

*Poor decision by Cooper in the third quarter, hitting Thigpen out of bounds on a punt return to add an additional 15 yards to the play. Gillislee tied it up moments later with a 19-yard touchdown run.

*A big day for the Watkins family. Jaylen Watkins came barreling in to put heat on Bills punt returner Thigpen, who fumbled away Donnie Jones‘ offering early in the second quarter. Bryan Braman recovered at the Buffalo 37, and the Eagles turned it into six a few plays later. Watkins, the half-brother of Sammy, spent most of the year on Buffalo’s practice squad.

*Earlier in the half, Jones boomed a 63-yard punt that helped tilt field position in the Eagles’ favor.

*Caleb Sturgis hit a 45-yard field goal with five seconds left to push the lead to 17-10.

*There was some confusion at the end of the half after a review of a Cooper catch and run determined that he was down before running out of bounds. The Eagles had to call a timeout to avoid a 10-second runoff.

*Ed Hochuli’s crew seemed shaky at times. They called 20 penalties in all — 15 of which were on the Bills.