If NFL games were a Disney movie, last week’s Eagles – Redskins contest could best be described as “Beauty & the Beast”.
There was beauty in the fact that the Birds finally got off the “schnide” and ended their five game losing streak to the Redskins while getting their season off on the right foot. But it was still an ugly win nonetheless.
The Eagles got off to a 13-0 lead and for a while, it looked like it could be a relaxing, smooth sailing kind of afternoon. But Washington clawed back to take a 14-13 lead which began when a tipped Carson Wentz pass led to an interception for a touchdown, cutting the Birds lead to 13-7.
Whether Wentz had an open passing lane to throw on that play could be disputed. But there was no disputing that his first touchdown was a thing of beauty.
The elusive “wiggling Wentz” somehow managed to evade three defenders and launch a pass to a wide open Nelson Agholor, who ran it in for the Eagles first score, bringing back memories of Randall Cunningham against the Buffalo Bills and Donovan McNabb against the Cowboys (both of which were also ironically for touchdowns on the road).
But while Wentz’s elusiveness on the play will make highlight films, his play at times was ugly.
There were at least 3-4 passes he threw up for grabs that could have easily been intercepted. And he failed to connect with wide receiver Torrey Smith on two occasions when the free agent had outrun his defender, overthrowing him on one pass and not throwing it deep enough on another.
I do believe that Carson Wentz is the real deal. And he will only improve with experience. But we as Eagles fans will have to endure his growing pains along the way, which is perfectly fine with me, especially considering that the alternative was having Keanu Reeves (Sam Bradford) still here as the starting quarterback.
This week we move from “Beauty and the Beast” to “My Tutor” (which no one in their right mind would ever confuse with a Disney movie). But it is the perfect title for what awaits this Sunday, as the pupil, Doug Pederson, squares off against his former coach, Andy Reid.
Reid, or “Big Red”, as we know him in these parts, was only the 2nd coach to ever guide the Eagles to the Super Bowl. But his clock management and penchant for throwing the ball too often eventually got the best of him, and after a successful 12-year run as coach of the Birds, he moved on to Kansas City, where he has also turned the Chiefs into a winner.
I’ve said for a while that Andy Reid is the “Marty Schottenheimer of the Millennium”, a coach that will turn a team into a winner, but, for one reason or another, just won’t win a championship.
Schottenheimer made winners of the Browns, Chiefs, and Chargers, but would always come up short in the playoffs, much like Andy has been prone to do. Reid does seem to have a Chiefs team that’s capable of going deep in the playoffs, especially after last week’s drubbing of the Patriots, but somehow Andy, poor Andy, will probably screw it up.
What he might not screw up is this Sunday’s game, especially considering that he would have had ten days to prepare his team. For that reason, coupled with the fact that it is the Chiefs home opener, I was pretty steadfast on going with Kansas City. But while writing this, I’m not so sure.
While Reid does know Doug Pederson’s tendencies, that argument can actually go both ways, as “Dougie P” used to be an assistant coach for Kansas City before he took the Eagles job in 2016. Reid also doesn’t know this Eagles team that well, having been gone for five years now. And being only one game into the season, he does not have a lot of game footage to go off of.
Pederson has something to prove to his mentor and his team will want to put on a good show for him. The Chiefs could also be a little too high on themselves especially following last week’s game, and may be in prime shape for a letdown. For those reasons (and the fact that I will be in attendance at Arrowhead), I’m taking the Birds, 28-27.
Afterwards, Carson Wentz celebrates by taking his lineman hunting on the prairie and barbecuing whatever they catch.
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week:
EAGLES at Chiefs 1:00 PM (FOX)
Titans at Jaguars 1:00 PM (CBS)
Cowboys at Broncos 4:25 PM (FOX)
Packers at Falcons 8:30 PM (NBC)
Lions at Giants 8:30 PM (ESPN) – Monday