That was a fun game for Eagles fans, especially the early part that you actually watched before you got bored. As always, there's bad mixed in with the good. How does it all break down?
1. Sam Bradford
He was literally perfect -- 10 for 10, 12 YPC average, 3 TDs on 3 drives, no mistakes. He's fast getting the ball out, and he's accurate, but to be both at the same time is astonishing.
2. The first half
Philadelphia was in control from the opening kickoff (Raheem Mostert's 67-yard return) through their sixth score with 8 seconds left in the first half. It was a dominating performance that left the Green Bay announcers sputtering about how they couldn't remember any team coming into Lambeau Field -- where Green Bay is nearly unbeatable -- and dropping amost forty points on their heads in the first half.
3. Kenjon Barner's 50 yard screen pass
He didn't score a punt return touchdown for the first time this year, but Kenjon Barner found another way to show that he's one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Darren Sproles' mentee took a screen pass 50 yards downfield without even looking as if he worked that hard.
4. Najee Goode
With Emmanuel Acho waived on an injury settlement, DeMeco Ryans looking half-speed as he recovers from his achilles tear, and Brad Jones moved outside to replace the injured Travis Long, the Eagles need Najee Goode to step up at ILB, and he delivered tonight.
With 12:54 left in the third period, he timed his rush with a running start so perfect that he met QB Brett Hundley and RB J. Crockett in the middle of a handoff, 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. A second earlier and he could have taken the handoff himself for an all-time highlight reel touchdown. Goode drilled Crockett again on a screen for a 5-yard loss in the 4th period, though a roughing the passer penalty on Bryan Braman negated his TFL.
Taylor Hart had a good game, too.
DE Taylor Hart has flashed on a few plays tonight. The light has really come on for him.— Tommy Lawlor (@lawlornfl) August 30, 2015
5. The Fun
Chip Kelly's Ducks teams were a lot of fun to watch. Sure they won a lot, and that's part of it, but they also played exciting ball, between the tempo, explosion plays, 4th down attempts, 2-point conversions and lots of takeaways on defense that were morale-crushing momentum changers.
There have been glimpses in Philadelphia, with the special teams plays last year and Brandon Boykin's interceptions in 2013, but Chip has been holding back. It's a misconception that he's a gambler. In fact, he's more apt to minimize risk than gamble. What he does well is to identify an advantage, small or large, and pound it home relentlessly.
He wasn't going to risk going for it on 4th down, for example, if he wasn't confident that his defense could stop the other team if the attempt failed. Now that the secondary is pulling in a steady two interceptions a game while the run defense remains as tough as anyone's, I predict that the party is coming back to town. We saw tonight that he was wiling to go for two (but don't expect Tim Tebow to be leading those efforts in the future).
1. The Eagles other quarterbacks
Mark Sanchez is very good for an NFL backup quarterback, but the idea that he has some kind of QB competition with Sam Bradford is ridiculous. He's not nearly as accurate with throws, and worse yet he simply doesn't see wide open receivers with alarming frequency. That said, he can move this team up and down the field. Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow simply sucked tonight. I'm not sure why this team should keep either player on the roster when there's a surplus of great skill players like Kenjon Barner and Raheem Mostert. I say, cut them both and let Trey Burton -- who played quarterback at Florida -- be your emergency 3rd QB. Unlike those two, he'll be active already on game day (as he was last year) as a ST ace and a 3rd tight end. If Chip wants to run "Brad Smith plays" in the red zone, Burton is the best candidate anyway. Tebow demonstrated today on his 2-pt conversions that he's not good at it.
2. The second half
As good as the first half was, the second half was painful for the Eagles. They scored no points at all and gave up several long passes to the Packers' 3rd and 4th string. At one point, the GB announcers actually thought they might come back from their 25-point halftime deficit and win. A Randall Evans interception squelched any such thoughts, but that gives you an idea of how sloppy Philadelphia got after the break.
3. Defending screen passes
Maybe it's the lack of game planning in the preseason, maybe it was an over-eager pass rush, or maybe the linebackers had a bad day. (Kiko was out, and DeMeco Ryans showed tentativeness and a lack of speed that he doesn't have any surplus of, probably due to his recovery from an achilles tear at Houston last year.
4. EJ Biggers
Biggers has been a pleasant surprise in training camp and the first couple of preseason games. That ended tonight as he reverted to the poor play that got him cut even from the Skins last year. Green Bay WR Myles White in particular abused Biggers, on one play drawing a penalty on a pass before falling to the ground and making a ridiculous one-armed catch while flat on his back.
5. Having to wait until the regular season begins.
Nuff said! How do you fast forward this thing to September 14th?