Eagles news and notes for 10/4
Wentz and the Eagles returned to work Monday morning in South Philadelphia as one of only three unbeaten teams and now we get to see how they handle success, a nice, little problem that many of us did not think they'd encounter at any point this season.
"Obviously we're off to a good start," veteran linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "Now we have to make sure we stay on it, especially with a young team like this. You can't get lackadaisical or think you've arrived. Get your mind right and get ready to get back and improve on the little things and that's what we're looking to do this week."
It was a little unfortunate that the schedule makers plopped the earliest possible bye week on the Eagles' laps immediately after their momentum-building victory over the Steelers, but at least the game coming out of the break is the perfect opponent for the league's most surprising team in September.
What better place than Detroit for the Eagles to go back to work? OK, maybe Cleveland, but that game has already been crossed off the schedule. The 1-3 Lions are a solid second choice for several reasons, the least of which might be the ineptness they have shown so far this season.
Like several other Eagles following Monday's back-from-the-bye practice, Celek wasn't eager to delve into the past.
"You're talking about last year. I can't remember how I felt two weeks ago," he said.
But the subject is part of this week's narrative, given that the Eagles visit Detroit again Sunday, with so much looking so different for the 3-0 NFC East leaders.
Defensive end Brandon Graham deflected talk about revenge - the Lions are hardly bitter Eagles rivals, and it isn't like Detroit did anything underhanded in shredding then-coordinator Bill Davis' defense for five touchdown passes.
But Graham, a Detroit native, did get a bunch of tickets to last year's game for family, and with a nine-day break before the next game, he did stay in the Motor City, forced to marinate in humiliation.
"Because it's my hometown, I do want to get a win. Last year did give me a bad taste, because I had to eat in front of my family, who are big Lions fans. They're BG fans, but . . . I do want to go in there and get a win. You can call it what you want. I'm not going to say 'revenge game,' I'm just going to say we want to go 4-0," Graham said.
1. Philadelphia’s 34-3 win over Pittsburgh looks even more impressive now.
It wasn’t crazy to predict the Steelers would respond to getting dominated by the Eagles by coming out angry at home and taking their attitude out on the Chiefs, but they took it one step further and thrashed a respected 2-1 team, 43-14. The Chiefs didn’t score a point until the fourth quarter, while Ben Roethlisberger recorded a nearly perfect passer rating of 152.5.
The NFL is an unpredictable league, and it’s balanced enough to where inferior teams can pull out surprise wins over heavy favorites, as some may have viewed the Eagles’ victory over the Steelers last week. But after watching Pittsburgh remind everyone why they’re thought of as a Super Bowl contender, it’s tough to not come away with an even more positive view of the Eagles and how that’s the team the Birds dominated (minus Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 144 yards and added 34 receiving yards in his return yesterday.)
The Steelers are now averaging 35 points per game against teams not named the Philadelphia Eagles, and it’s a reflection of how much of an equalizer the Birds’ defensive line is. The Eagles’ secondary played much better than the Chiefs’ secondary did against the Steelers, but Big Ben also showed how lethal he is when he isn’t pressured.
There was no way an Eagles rookie QB was going to light up the Steelers. Right?
Don’t tell Carson Wentz what he can or can’t do. He’s not interested in history, trends or projections. Wentz didn’t try to battle the ghosts of Rod Woodson, Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Joey Porter or Troy Polamalu. Wentz kept it simple and just played football. Find the open receiver and get him the ball. Wentz led the Eagles to 34 points in 3 quarters. They called off the dogs in the final quarter.
I was nervous going into the game. I saw this as a big test for the Eagles. They got up 3-0 and that was cool. You always feel good when the offense produces points on the opening possession. That tells you the gameplan is probably good and the players are focused. Then the Eagles went up 10-0. That almost made me more nervous than before the game. Was this somehow going to tick off the Steelers, who would then really come alive? When Sproles scored on the big play to put the Eagles up 20-3, I finally relaxed a little bit and realized just how well the Eagles were playing.
Wentz and his teammates were ready for the big game. They didn’t show any nerves. The Eagles just went out there and performed at a high level, with scoring drives on 6 of the first 7 possessions. Doing that in any game is impressive. Doing it against the Steelers, in what felt like a big game, that was special. You have to be strong mentally, physically and emotionally to move up and down the field like that. We’ve all seen a team get off to a hot start, only to lose focus and get sloppy. The Eagles kept their foot on the gas pedal until the game was completely out of reach.