For a while, it looked like Broad & Pattison would turn upside down.
For the first thirty minutes of the Eagles season opener, in a season of high expectations, the Birds looked flat, confused, and disoriented, and the Jaguars capitalized, turning three turnovers into a 17-0 halftime lead.
Things looked so bleak that even the poor dogs who were performing tricks as the halftime entertainment were subject to the fans ire whenever they failed to catch a frisbee in their mouth, being greeted by the signature “BOOOOOOO…” that we are so famous for.
But one play in football can quickly change a team’s fortunes. Early in the 3rd quarter, with the Eagles failing on a 3rd and short opportunity and facing a 4th & 1, Chip Kelly had already instructed his team to go for it even before the fans started pleading the team to do so.
It was now Jacksonville who looked lost and confused, and without the proper defensive alignment, it seemed as if the seas had parted as newly acquired running back Darren Sproles took the handoff and galloped into the end zone without much resistance, cutting the Jaguars lead to 17-7 and kickstarting the Eagles 34 unanswered points en route to a 34-17 victory.
Another bright spot during the afternoon was that rookie kicker Cody Parkey kicked another 50+ yard field goal, which must have given coach Chip Kelly some comfort that he made the right decision in cutting Alex Henery. It probably also means that Cody can extend what is most likely a “month-to-month” apartment lease for another month.
What to make of the Birds after one game? If an Eagles fan had managed to see the final score without viewing the game, he/she would of thought it was along the lines of what was expected. But it was how the Eagles got to the final result that is a little unnerving.
Nick Foles made too many mistakes in the 1st half, often dancing around the pocket as if he was taking salsa lessons for the first time and realized that he had two left feet (Good ole Nick doesn’t look like the type who will be seen competing on “Dancing with the Stars” anytime soon, but that’s perfectly fine with me). And while Foles did play much better in the 2nd half, many of his passes seemed to consist of checkdowns to the running back, with the wide receivers being almost nonexistent.
Perhaps that’s what the defense was giving him…or perhaps the loss of DeSean Jackson was more important than we thought. Either way, when the Birds face the Colts this Monday night, getting off to a start like they had against Jacksonville would certainly doom them for the remainder of the game.
The Colts are not in rebuilding mode like Jacksonville is, and will be playing with a sense of urgency as a loss Monday night would make them 0-2 on the young season. The Eagles would do well to get off to a good start to have any chance of winning the game, but will be playing with two fill-ins on the offensive line. The Colts will be without their star defensive linebacker Robert Mathis, which should help the Birds passing game.
The Eagles will keep this game close and have a chance in the end, but I think the Birds fall short, 35-31. It’s all good though…this season is still on track for good things. Barring any salsa moves by Nick Foles…
The Last Word:
Knocking another stadium off of the bucket list as I head to Indy for the game on “Mondayyyyy Night Football” (as Al Michaels used to say before he started working for “Sundayyyyyy Night Football”).
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless stated otherwise):
Falcons at Bengals 1:00 PM CBS
Seahawks at Chargers 4:05 PM FOX
Eagles at Colts 8:30 PM ESPN (Mon)