Takeaways from Eagles’ Win over Colts
The Eagles earned their second win of the season, and their first win with Carson Wentz under center since December of last year, with a 20-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday. The day brought career highs in both receiving yards and catches for rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, but thankfully for Philadelphia, the he wasn’t the sole bright spot.
Here are a few quick takeaways:
A big day for Dallas Goedert
One of the biggest critiques of the Eagles offense this season has been the lack of targets for rookie tight end Dallas Goedert - not today.
The return of Carson Wentz saw a focus on the tight end position, with both Goedery and Zach Ertz gaining 73 yards in the game on Sunday. The duo combined for 12 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown. Goedert finished the game with seven catches for 73 yards, both career-highs for the rookie, and his first NFL touchdown.
“That was really cool, you know, the first drive of the game," Goedert said about scoring his first NFL touchdown. "Nothing better than getting the first one out of the way. It felt real good.”
"It's just time to play and cut him loose a little bit and don't keep him back," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson explained. "It was part of the game plan again to do that with two tight ends, three tight ends, but at the same time, as he gets more and more comfortable with the offense and find specific plays for him, he's just going to get better and better. It's a combination, really, of all those comments."
It marked the first time two Eagles tight ends registered 70+ receiving yards in the same game since Ray Poage (5 receptions, 142 yards) and Pete Retzlaff (6 receptions, 118 yards) on 12/5/65 vs. Dallas.
Eagles defense shines
After a rough outing on the road in Tampa last week, the Eagles defense dominated and made several key stops in Sunday's win over the Colts.
Against the Colts, the defense made a couple of key plays, including a huge sack by Derek Barnett to essentially seal the victory. They also stepped their game up on third-down, limiting Indianapolis to just 2-of-12 (16.7%).
“That’s one of the things we always take pride in – getting off the field on third down – and trying to get our offense the time of possession," Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham said.
Philadelphia had its issues getting to Ryan Fitzpatrick a week ago, but sacked Colts quarterback Andrew Luck two times and hit him four other times, including on a key fourth-down in the red zone to seal an Eagles victory.
"Yeah, great play," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said about the key sack by Barnett. "This kid keeps getting better and better. I have been pleased with how he works in practice. He's an unselfish ballplayer. He'll play special teams if you ask him. He'll rush the passer if you ask him. He does so many great things, and we're so excited to have a player like Derek and a young player like Derek who can play extensively and work in the rotation. It just seems like somewhere in the game, 96 is going to show up and make a play, and he did that several times today.What changed?"
The Eagles held the Colts to just 1-of-5 (20.0%) in red zone situations.
The Eagles got a ton of production from their running game on Sunday, but quarterback Carson Wentz put together an impressive outing after missing the entire preseason, the first two games this season, the final three games of last season and all of the playoffs.
The third-year QB engineered his third-career game-winning drive with a 17-play, 65-yard possession that lasted 11:18 and culminated with a 4-yard rushing TD by Wendell Smallwood.
"It was exciting to get him back out there," Pederson acknowledged. "All week, really, it started back on Tuesday with our walk-through and stuff. Then the whole week, just seeing him just how he got in the huddle, talking with guys, communicating with the skill guys throughout the game today, and just kind of getting back to his old self. Again, like always, we'll evaluate. I know he would probably want to get the fumble back, he'd want the pick back, and things like that, and those are things that can't happen, especially backed up on our end of the field. But I thought, overall, he did some nice things. He moved around well [and] extended some drives for us, whether he was running or escaping the pocket, and making some plays down the field. I thought for the first time back, not too bad."
Wentz finished the day completing 25-of-37 passes for 255 yards with one touchdown and one interception while rushing three times for 10 yards.
• Tight end Zach Ertz was targeted a team-high 10 times by Wentz, and caught five of those.
Ertz has posted 5+ receptions in 5 consecutive games (dating back to the Divisional Playoff vs. Atlanta on 1/13/18) for the third time in his career (also 6 games from 1/1/17-10/8/17; 5 games from 12/13/15-9/11/16). Ertz is currently 1 reception shy of tying Jeremy Maclin (343, 2009-14) for the 9th-most receptions in franchise history.
With a 13-yard reception in the first quarter, Ertz surpassed Calvin Williams (3,840, 1990-96) for the 12th-most receiving yards in Eagles history (now 3,879).
• The Eagles appear to have made it out of Sunday’s game virtually injury-free, though safety Rodney McLeod had to leave the game, and did not return with a knee injury.