Nick Foles led a terrific game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to vault the Eagles to a 31-24 win, improving Philadelphia's preseason record to 2-1 under Chip Kelly.
The Eagles return to action next Thursday night with a matchup against the New York Jets, the final preseason game for both teams. Philadelphia begins its regular season with an away game against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
For now, here are five observations from the Eagles’ Week 3 preseason game.
Nick Foles Outplayed Michael Vick
In his first outing since being named starting quarterback, Michael Vick had an up-and-down performance. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, leading the Eagles to 16 points before being removed in the third quarter.
Vick did have an awful interception, throwing off his back foot to an area to which no Eagles receiver was even close. Vick also took an bad sack right before halftime. He did look elusive, rushing for 53 yards on seven carries.
When Nick Foles came in, he was remarkably efficient.
He led the Eagles to 15 points in the fourth quarter, erasing a 24-16 deficit. His most impressive drive came when he took over with the ball just inches from the end zone, and proceeded to march Philadelphia 99 yards in 4:47. Foles finished 10-of-11 passing for 112 yards, putting his preseason completion percentage at an 84.0 percent clip thus far.
Bryce Brown Still Hasn’t Cured His Fumbling Woes
The fact that Bryce Brown fumbled the football (and lost it) is disappointing. The fact that he did so near the Jacksonville Jaguars’ end zone when he was about to punch it in is even more upsetting. And replays showed Brown holding the football far away from his body.
This is something coaching should be able to fix, but there comes a point when the coaching staff can only do so much with Brown.
He possesses elite speed, but if he can’t cure his fumbling woes, he won’t see time this year. For what it’s worth, he did put up 92 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries tonight.
Damaris Johnson Just Makes Plays
Damaris Johnson looks like the next big thing as a punt returner. He returned four punts for 61 yards, an average of 15.5 yards per return, including a 37-yard runback in which Johnson showed off his elusiveness and speed. He also returned four kicks for an average of 28.5 yards per return, giving him 175 return yards for the day.
Johnson did lose a fumble, but he hasn’t had a history of fumbling problems. It seems new special teams coach Dave Fipp has done wonders with Johnson thus far.
Mychal Kendricks Had Another Great Game
Last year, Mychal Kendricks really tailed off after a handful of solid games that marked the start of his NFL career. He will move to inside linebacker in this year's 3-4 defense, a transition that should highlight his sideline-to-sideline speed.
Kendricks finished today with three tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack and a near-interception in the first half. That’s a dynamic performance from a linebacker who may be poised for a breakout season.
The Run Defense Needs Some Work
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles finished just 23rd in run defense. So far this preseason, it doesn’t look like there has been much improvement.
The Eagles were torched by the New England Patriots for 248 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries in the first preseason game. Billy Davis’s defense played much better the following week, limiting the Carolina Panthers to 74 yards on 25 rushes. Then the Jacksonville Jaguars put up 202 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries tonight, including a ridiculous 63-yard run by backup Jordan Todman.
That’s an average of over 175 yards per game, which would have placed the Eagles dead-last among NFL teams a year ago.
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