The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles lost the third game of their 2018 preseason schedule on Thursday evening. The Cleveland Browns defeated the Eagles by a final score of 5 to 0. Read on for observations from the game.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
First drive: Wendell Smallwood lined up at running back on the Eagles’ first offensive play. Nick Foles completed his first pass to Dallas Goedert for a first down. 12 personnel on that play with both Goedert and Zach Ertz on the field. DeAndre Carter lined up at first team slot receiver with the Eagles shifting back to 11 personnel. Interesting. The Eagles offense showed some good rhythm by driving past midfield. Foles almost got pick-six’d on a throw out wide to Shelton Gibson. He was lucky Terrance Mitchell was playing the receiver and not the ball. Foles threw #ShortOfTheSticks to Gibson on third down to set up 4th and 5. Doug Pederson went for it, because of course he did. Foles overthrew Ertz on fourth down but offsetting penalties gave the Eagles a second chance. The Eagles’ penalty was Halapoulivaati Vaitai getting called for holding while being driven back by Myles Garrett on a bull rush. Foles then completed a pass to Ertz that was #ShortOfTheSticks. Turnover on downs.
Second drive: Foles tripped in the Eagles’ own end zone and was touched down by Garrett. Safety.
Third drive: Foles got strip-sacked after holding on to the ball. He wasn’t helped by Vaitai getting dominated by Garrett again.
Fourth drive: Foles threw a terrible pick. Super Bowl MVP not looking so hot.
Fifth drive: Foles completed a 29-yard pass down the sideline to Carter. Good ball. Then Smallwood had some nice gains, running hard. Much better from him. Unfortunately Matt Jones screwed up the Eagles’ drive by fumbling after making a short catch. Been a terrible preseason for him.
Sixth drive: Ertz did a nice job of avoiding a tackle to convert a first down (YAC Ertz). Carter had a nice gain on a screen play for a first. Showing some juice! Eagles moved into the red zone with the help of some good Smallwood runs. Then Foles threw ANOTHER interception. Tried to fit in a tight space and Jamie Collins picked it. Brutal.
The Eagles sent in the second team offense to start the second half. Starters done for the preseason.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
First drive: The Eagles won the coin toss and elected to defer so their defense was up first. Sidney Jones lined up at first team nickel corner. Destiny Vaeao got the start next to Fletcher Cox. Jalen Mills badly whiffed on a quick throw to Jarvis Landry. Then the Eagles settled down and forced a Browns punt. Derek Barnett (!) had coverage on the third down stop.
Second drive: Kamu Grugier-Hill in at first team weakside linebacker. Missed tackles by Mills and Barnett on two separate plays allowed the Browns to rush 54 yards into the red zone. Bad. Jim Schwartz’s unit made up for it with a nice goal-line stand. Jordan Hicks knocked down a Tyrod Taylor pass on fourth down. Turnover on downs.
Third drive: Baker Mayfield takes over for the Browns with Taylor getting hurt. Haloti Ngata had Mayfield for a sack but the rookie QB spun out of it. Barnett drew a hold with the Browns going for it on fourth down.
Fourth drive: Fletcher Cox strip-sacked Mayfield but the Browns recovered. Cleveland moved into position to make a 54-yard field goal attempt.
Fifth drive: Taylor returned to the game at QB for the Browns. He was welcomed by getting sacked by Ngata. Veteran DT showed up tonight. Browns have to punt.
Sixth drive: Jim Schwartz brought the zero coverage blitz on third down and Hicks took Taylor down to force a stop.
Seventh drive: The Browns failed to get into field goal range as the half expired.
LaRoy Reynolds made a nice tackle on the opening kickoff.
DeAndre Carter got the first punt return and didn’t do anything with it since there was someone in his face as he decided to not call a fair catch. Carter’s second return went for 29 yards.
Cameron Johnston’s first punt went for 60 yards. His second was a 38-yarder that went out of bounds at the 7-yard line to pin Cleveland in their own territory. Encouraging.
Jake Elliott missed a 33-yard kick attempt for the second week in a row. Those struggles aren’t going away.
Long snapper Rick Lovato put a big hit on a Browns punt returner! What a beast.
Nick Foles: 13 of 17, 127 yards (7.4 average), 0 TD, 2 INT, 57.4 passer rating
Nate Sudfeld: 11 of 21, 72 yards (3.4 average), 0 TD, 0 INT, 60.0 passer rating
Carson Wentz: Did not play. Looked pretty good in warmups prior to the game, though.
Joe Callahan: Did not play.
Christian Hackenberg: Did not play.
Foles was a disaster. His stat line through two preseason games: 16 of 26, 171 yards (6.6 avg), 0 TD, 2 INT, 48.7 passer rating. Plus: 2 fumbles lost (one recovered for TD), 1 safety taken, 6 sacks taken. Another way to look at things:
There have been better preseasons than the one Nick Foles has compiled this year...— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2018
Fumble lost (defensive TD)
It’s only the preseason, and we’ve certainly seen Foles bounce back from bad games before. But even including training camp practices, it has not been a good summer for No. 9.
Sudfeld almost made an amazing touchdown throw to Davis. Too bad it got called back. Sudfeld failed to lead a comeback on the final drive of the game but he had some nice moments in there.
Avonte Maddox would’ve had a pick six on Mayfield if he didn’t manage to get tripped up along the sideline during his return. Nate Gerry did a great job of legally jamming Mayfield’s target off his route to disrupt the timing on the route. Also credit UDFA DE Danny Ezechukwu for getting pressure on the QB.
Rashard Davis came so close to making an incredible deep touchdown catch from Sudfeld. His front foot was JUST out of bounds.
Josh Adams had some nice runs, including one on 3rd-and-11 where he fought through contact to pick up a first. The rookie looks good.
Another nice game by Carter. He finished with 73 yards on four receptions. Maybe he makes the team as a sixth receiver?
Matt Pryor had a really bad snap in pass protection.
Bruce Hector got into the game before Elijah Qualls once again. Had a nice run stuff at the line of scrimmage.
Josh Sweat shot into the backfield for a tackle for loss.
Joe Ostman also had a big tackle for loss after going into the backfield unblocked. He avoided a pull block.
Rasul Douglas got called for pass interference due to a push off.
Winston Craig made a nice hustle play to chase down a scrambling Mayfield on 3rd-and-long.
Steven Means managed to pick up a sack. Dude continues to kill it in the preseason.
Jason Kelce had to leave the game on the first drive after going down in pain. Seemed like he hurt his back. Isaac Seumalo came in for him. Then Kelce returned to the game on the Eagles’ second drive and stayed in the game.
Fletcher Cox came up limping a little but seemed fine on the sideline.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai had to leave the game in the first half after getting dominated by Garrett for the billionth time. Seumalo came in for Vaitai after briefly playing at left guard at one point with Stefen Wisniewksi not on the field. Big V re-entered the game in the second half.
Tre Sullivan walked off after going down and staying on the ground for a long time.
The following Eagles players did not play (hat tip to the Inquirer): Donnel Pumphrey, Mack Hollins, Carson Wentz, Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs, Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Chris Maragos, Darren Sproles, Asantay Brown, Jason Peters, Markus Wheaton, Kamar Aiken, Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins, Timmy Jernigan.
The Eagles return to practice on Sunday. Stay tuned to BGN for more Eagles coverage. Also stay tuned to the BGN Radio feed for the Eagles-Browns recap show with Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak.