Eagles vs. Bears Final Score: 10 Things We Learned
The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 after beating the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football by a final score of 29 to 14. Here’s a look at 10 things to be learned from this game.
1) The Eagles are off to a strong start
The Eagles own the best point differential in the NFL (+34) after two weeks. Yes, it helps that they’ve faced lesser competition. The Browns and Bears are arguably two of the worst teams in the league. Still, it’s not like the Eagles are barely getting by against weaker competition. Philadelphia is beating their opponents decisively.
Have the Eagles looked perfect? No, of course not. This team has weaknesses and issues to clean up, such as the secondary allowing big plays. But early on it sure looks like the Eagles were right to think they can compete in a weak NFC East this year.
Fun fact per ESPN: Since 1990, 63% of NFL teams that started 2-0 have made the playoffs.
2) No second game slump for Carson Wentz
All eyes were on the Eagles’ rookie quarterback after his impressive outing in Week 1. Wentz did not disappoint. He completed 62% of his passes for 190 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions, and an 86.6 passer rating. The truth is he was even better than the stats indicate. He had two would-be touchdown passes dropped; one by Jordan Matthews and another by Nelson Agholor (more on that later). He also had another deep pass dropped by Agholor.
Wentz once again showed great poise and savvy in the pocket. He never looked rattled despite playing in a road game with the national spotlight on him. The rookie quarterback continues to look like the real deal. Wentz is the only rookie passer since 1970 to start and win his team’s first two games of season without throwing an interception. For what it’s worth, Wentz is also the highest graded quarterback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus after two games.
It’s not all perfect with Wentz. He still needs to do a better job of avoiding unnecessary hits. His accuracy could also stand to improve. His deep throw to Agholor was a little underthrown.
Overall, though, Wentz has shown the makings of a real franchise quarterback.
3) Another good performance from Doug Pederson
Speaking of no second games slumps, how about Pederson? The Eagles’ head coach has been successful despite low expectations. He called a great game for the most part.
It feels like Pederson has shown more aggression on fourth down in two games than Chip Kelly did during three years in Philadelphia. Pederson’s decision-making has paid off as the Eagles have converted all four of their fourth down attempts this year.
As an Andy Reid disciple, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think Pederson would be prone to wasting timeouts. But unlike his mentor, Pederson hasn’t really done that so far.
Pederson deserves a lot of credit for this team’s early success. The Eagles look like a well-prepared and well-coached football team.
4) Jim Schwartz’s defense is holding up
Philadelphia’s defense has allowed the least amount of points scored in the NFL this year. Schwartz’s unit has recorded six sacks and four turnovers. The Eagles have knocked out the starting quarterbacks of their first two opponents. It’s not like the Eagles have faced an elite offense, but it’s still a strong start. Schwartz was hired because he has a great track record as a defensive coordinator. He’s living up to the hype so far despite some issues in the secondary.
5) Trey Burton deserves more looks on offense
No Zach Ertz, no problem. Burton filled in just fine. The Florida alumnus, who entered the game with three career catches, finished the night five receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. Make no mistake: Burton isn’t some dynamic game-breaker. He’s not a star talent. But he’s a very solid player who deserves more offensive snaps. He’s sure-handed and finds ways to get open.
6) Eagles receivers still can’t catch
As mentioned earlier, Wentz had to deal with some big drops. Matthews dropped a potential touchdown pass that was right in his hands. It was a great throw from Wentz, too. How did he not finish the play here?
Jordan Matthews dropped this ball. pic.twitter.com/yysp6lLT6F
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 20, 2016
Matthews finished the night with six receptions for 71 yards, so it wasn’t all bad. Agholor also had four receptions for 42 yards despite two touchdowns. These numbers could have easily been better, though. In future games against higher level of competition, the Eagles won’t be able to afford so many mistakes.
7) The run game isn’t efficient but it’s effective
The Eagles have rushed well in volume. Philly has 233 rushing yards through two games. They haven’t been efficient, though. The Eagles are only averaging 3.5 yards per carry, which isn’t ideal.
Still, the Eagles’ run game can be described as “functional.” Ryan Mathews ran hard against Chicago’s defense and had a great second-effort touchdown in the red zone.
Wendell Smallwood quietly had a nice little performance with 16 yards on two carries.
8) Jason Kelce is struggling
Part of the reason why the Eagles haven’t been able to get the run game going more efficiently is because the offensive line isn’t getting great push. This is especially true on the interior. Kelce, who struggled in Week 1, had some more bad moments in Week 2. He killed a drive early on by getting penalized twice in a row. The 28-year-old blocker struggled last season and he hasn’t shown signs of returning to Pro Bowl form.
9) Jalen Mills was up and down
With Leodis McKelvin out, the rookie cornerback got some looks playing outside cornerback. The seventh round pick had some good moments and bad moments. The good moments included an open field tackle on a Bears receiver to prevent a first down. The bad moments included a whiff on Eddie Royal and then getting burnt deep on a double move from Alshon Jeffrey. Mills showed he was vulnerable to the deep ball during training camp practices and preseason games. He doesn’t have fantastic speed (4.61 40-yard dash).
10) Caleb Sturgis needs to be more consistent
Sturgis was fortunate to have the Bears try to ice him because he missed his initial 53-yard attempt wide right before nailing the one that actually counted. The Eagles’ kicker appeared to suffer an injury at one point but Pederson insisted he’s “fine” and just had cramps. In any case, Sturgis missed an extra point. He also missed a 46-yard kick in the season opener, so he’s still far from automatic.