Image Courtesy of Michael Perez/ AP Photo
PHILADELPHIA – Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley paced the Eagles offense with touchdown drives in the first quarter en route to a 36 – 10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon. The offense overall seemed in good form racking up 412 total yards. Andrew Luck started the game for the Colts and went 5 of 6 for 43 yards before his day was finished.
With Sam Bradford sitting out this game, the Eagles chose to start backup Mark Sanchez. Sanchez struggled with accuracy though going just 2 of 7 for 52 yards, and over throwing open receivers. He did however find rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who took the short pass and sprinted 34 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Matt Barkley entered the game towards the end of the first quarter and stayed in the game until midway through the third going 12 of 20 for 192 yards and an interception. Kenjon Barner, who is competing for the 4th running back spot, contributed in a big way in the first half, running for a 9 yard touchdown and an electrifying 92 yard punt return for a touchdown to end the half.
Tim Tebow entered the game midway through the third quarter to an enormous round of applause from the fans, and chants of “Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!” The fans were so loud that several times Tebow had to tell the fans to be quite while in shotgun formation. Tebow showed some signs of improvement and despite being under constant pressure (sacked 3 times) completed 6 of 12 passes for 69 yards, capping off his day with a 7-yard touchdown run.
The Indianapolis offense seemed to struggle for much of the game racking up just 281 yards of total offense. After Andrew Luck started the game, veteran Matt Hasselback and undrafted free agent Bryan Bennett each saw time at quarterback for the Colts going a combined 12 of 33 for 107 yards and 2 interceptions, both thrown by Bennett. The Colts did not find the end zone until well into the third quarter on a 9 yard run by sixth round draft pick Josh Robinson.
The Eagles also chose to rest star running back Demarco Murray. Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and Demeco Ryans, the teams top three inside linebackers, also did not play due to various injuries.
Like the Eagles, the Colts elected to rest some of their starters including star cornerback Vontae Devis, WR T.Y. Hilton, and RB Frank Gore.
Neslon Agholor showed why he was the Eagles top pick of the draft. He showed off his game breaking speed and run-after-the-catch ability on his 34 yard touchdown catch. Despite his great play on the touchdown, he dropped a couple easy passes.
“One thing you can see with Nelson is that dynamic ability and explosiveness,” said Chip Kelly is his post game press conference.
Second round pick Eric Rowe had a nice game in the secondary causing a fumble with a “Charles Tillman-like” punch on ball after getting initially beat by the receiver. He finished the game with 5 tackles, good for second on the team.
Undrafted free agent tight end Eric Tomlinson had a good showing late in the game with 5 catches for 61 yards. It should be interesting to see if the coaches are willing to keep four tight ends on the roster, or if he can beat out Trey Burton, who was terrific on special teams last season.
Indianapolis’ first round pick out of Miami, Philip Dorsett led all Colts receivers with 4 catches for 51 yards.
Sixth round pick Josh Robinson led all running backs with 44 rushing yards and the teams only touchdown.
Second year players Ed Reynolds and Marcus Smith had strong showings for the Eagles defensively. Reynolds, who was playing with the 3rd team defense in practice, had two interceptions and was flying all over the field in the 4th quarter. Marcus Smith, last years first round pick, after a very disappointing rookie season showed the improvement the coaches have talked about. One of the issues for the Eagles was their depth at OLB coming into the season. If Smith can be a regular contributor, there depth will look a lot better than most thought. After the game Chips praised Smith for his performance.
“Marcus has really showed up in our training session and he really showed up today. We’re excited to see where he goes.”