The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their 2015 preseason schedule with a win on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 36-10.
The game wasn't pretty, but such is preseason. Overall, there was more good than bad for the Eagles. There's a lot to talk from the game about so let's get right to it.
First team offense
Mark Sanchez started at quarterback with Sam Bradford out. Ryan Mathews was the first team running back with DeMarco Murray active but not playing.
Sanchez targeted Trey Burton deep on the first Eagles offensive play. Burton was open for a touchdown but the ball was underthrown and the Colts defender was able to catch up in order to defend the play. Sanchez got the Eagles to 3rd and 1 after a pass to Riley Cooper but then overthrew Darren Sproles on third down. Not a great opening series for the team's backup quarterback.
Sanchez picked up a first down by running on 3rd and 5. Big cheers from the crowd. Then Mathews picked up 13 yards. Sanchez hit Jordan Matthews for a first down conversion on a hospital pass. Matthews took a big shot to the back but got up like he didn't feel a thing. Sanchez overthrew Matthews for a wide open touchdown. Brutal. But then Nelson Agholor made up for it by making a very impressive grab and then catch and run for a touchdown. Wow. What a play.
First team defense
Jaylen Watkins started with the first team at nickel cornerback. The defense allowed a first down before a Coby Fleener drop forced the Colts to punt. Not bad.
Najee Goode and Jordan Hicks replaced the combination of Brad Jones and Emmanuel Acho on the second series. The Eagles run defense, highlighted by nose tackle Bennie Logan, looked good as the Colts tried to move the ball on the ground but failed. Indianapolis had success moving the ball through the air into field goal range, however. In the red zone, Marcus Smith (!) had three good plays to force the Colts to settle for a kick. First, Smith helped make a run stop. Then he had tight coverage on Fleener over the middle. Lastly, he got nice pressure up the middle on an inside stunt to rush Hasselback into a bad throw. How about that?
Riley Cooper was back to field Philadelphia's first punt return. Um, that's ... different. But a good decision to not put Darren Sproles in a position to be injured.
Rookie UDFA running back Raheem Mostert fielded the first Colts kickoff for a touchback.
Cody Parkey missed his second PAT attempt from 33 yards out. He also missed a 34-yard field goal attempt. Bit of a concern. He did make a field goal from 40 yards out.
Kenjon Barner returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown. Surprise: Philadelphia's special teams unit still looks good.
Mark Sanchez: 2 for 7 (28.6%), 52 yards, 7.4 average, 1 TD, 0 INT, 97.6 Rating
Matt Barkley: 12 for 20 (60.0%), 192 yards, 9.6 average, 0 TD, 1 INT, 71.2 Rating
Tim Tebow: 6 for 12 (50.0%), 69 yards, 5.8 average, 0 TD, 0 INT, 66.7 Rating, 1 rushing TD
Sanchez did not look sharp. His accuracy was way off. He missed too many easy plays. Even his touchdown pass to Agholor was off target.
Barkley looked surprisingly solid. He hasn't really been that great in camp.
Tebow was rough. A lot of passes off target and he took too many sacks (3 for a loss of 28 yards). He looked exactly how you expect a guy who has been out of the league for two years would look.
The big plays
Nelson Agholor's touchdown, holy crap. The rookie looked so good. He kept making defenders miss on a regular basis.
Weren't really a huge factor, which is always good.
Matt Barkley looked good filling in for Mark Sanchez. Who would have thought? First he hit Jordan Matthews for a big gain then he connected on a deep pass down the field to Miles Austin. Two very legitimate throws. The catches were good as well, especially for Austin.
Kenjon Barner with a touchdown run. And then a punt return score. Not bad.
Eric Rowe got beat in coverage over the middle but made up for it big time by punching the ball out as he tackled the Colts receiver. Chris Prosinski recovered. Very nice job by the rookie.
Diaheem Watkins looked pretty solid in run support. There's a good chance you don't even know who that is. He's a backup outside linebacker the Eagles recently signed.
Chris Maragos did a nice job of forcing a fumble that the Colts ultimately recovered.
Brad Jones made a good open field tackle early in the game on defense. He also had another good solo tackle on special teams.
E.J. Biggers had a nice pass breakup on third down.
Raheem Mostert caught a short pass from Barkley, made a defender miss, and then burned down the field for a big gain. The rookie certainly has speed.
Jaylen Watkins with a huuuuge whiff to allow the Colts to score a rushing touchdown. Yikes. Travis Raciti and Jordan Hicks also missed tackles on the play.
Rookie UDFA Eric Tomlinson made some nice catches. Have to believe he's pushing for a fourth tight end spot, especially with Zach Ertz banged up.
Rookie seventh round pick Brian Mihalik had a nice sack on Bryan Bennett.
Rasheed Bailey made an incredible one-handed catch on a Tebow pass.
Ed Reynolds with an interception! Bryan Bennett's pass was way overthrown, but kudos to the safety for getting in position and making the play. And then another interception for Reynolds. Good showing for the 2014 fifth round pick.
Bryan Braman destroyed Bryan Bennett. After strip sacking him, Braman suplexed Bennett. Holy crap.
UDFA OLB Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo left the game early. I think that's about it.
Another seven Eagles players did not play in Sunday's game due to injury.
The Philadelphia Eagles have off tomorrow on Sunday, Aug. 17 before returning to training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
We'll have more in-depth coverage of Sunday's Eagles-Colts game on Bleeding Green Nation coming shortly. Stay tuned.