Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson made their Monday Night Football debut and came away from Soldier Field with a 29-14 win over the Bears.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears – 2016 Week 2
Eagles 29 – Bears 14
The Philadelphia Eagles coupled a calm first half with an explosive second half in order to top the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, 29-14.
It seemed as if the cards were stacked against Eagles rookie Carson Wentz for his first road game.
Key word: seemed.
Wentz impressed in his second career start Monday night, finishing 21-for-34 for 190 yards, one touchdown and ZERO turnovers. His one touchdown pass came to TE Trey Burton, while RB Ryan Mathews plunged in for two scores of his own. While Wentz’s stats don’t jump out at first glance, the substance and circumstance surrounding them must be taken into consideration.
Receivers Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor both were guilty of costly drops (most notably in the first half) which led Philly towards field-goal-fever. Wentz’s offensive line was the culprit of several drive-killing penalties, including one hold on center Jason Kelce that negated a sharply-timed throw by Wentz in which he was hit hard. Aside from that play, Wentz took many other hits, the scariest coming from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan late in the second quarter, sending Wentz airborne. As if the target on Wentz wasn’t big enough, head coach Doug Pederson called six straight pass plays to start the team’s opening drive.
None of this seemed to phase Wentz.
Pederson said as much in his post-game press conference.
“The dialogue on the sideline with players and coaches with him (Wentz) is something a nine, ten-year vet would do,”
This dialogue wasn’t limited to the sidelines. Wentz seemed to take command of the huddle Monday on the field as well. Wentz called “kill” before several plays, showing he has an ability to read defenses before the ball is even snapped. Following pre-snap chess, Wentz was able to make a plethora of throws that spoke clearly to his franchise QB potential. Perhaps his most beautiful throw came during the Eagles two-minute drill to close out the first half. Wentz rolled out to his left and was able to rocket a throw across his body to Agholor at midfield.
Wentz said after the game:
“It (Monday Night Football) was cool… but at the same time for me it’s something I try and just not make it bigger than it needs to be,”
Cool, calm and collected.
While Wentz continued his poised performance from Week 1, the Bird’s defense also held up their end of the bargain. Aside from Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery blowing past rookie defensive back Jalen Mills, the Bears offense was largely held in check Monday. Safety Malcolm Jenkins got the party started with a ten yard sack of Jay Cutler on the Bears opening drive. In the second half, the Eagles D started to take the ball away from Chicago. Cutler was slammed by Eagles rookie defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao causing a fumble. Later in the half, newly acquired Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham nearly ran back a Cutler pick for a touchdown, and Bennie Logan caused a Bears fumble to all but preserve an Eagles victory.
Overall, the Bird’s defense surrendered only 284 yards of total offense to Chicago, including only seven points. Chicago’s only other touchdown was scored on a punt return by Eddie Royal.
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Looking ahead, the Eagles will face their toughest battle yet Sunday at the Linc against the in-state-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The status for injuries to Zach Ertz, Leodis McKelvin, Mychal Kendricks and Isaac Seumalo are all day-to-day, according to Coach Pederson.
It’s important to note that Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson’s 10-game suspension appeal hearing has been set for October 4, but the star will still be eligible to play this week against the Steelers, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.