Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sam Bradford, Eagles shine in big win over Indianapolis Colts | Report Card

INDIANAPOLIS -- If there is one thing the Eagles know how to do, it is impress in the third preseason game.

One year after dominating the Green Bay Packers in their third preseason game, setting the expectations for last year's team sky high, the Eagles turned in another strong showing Saturday night in Indianapolis, beating the Colts 33-23 in what should be the final action for the starters before Week 1.

Here is a look at how each unit did, and a grade for each:

Offense: Most of the questions coming into the night were focused on the offense, and the first-team unit did they best they could to answer those questions.

Quarterback Sam Bradford finished 17/20 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, with the pick only coming because of the ball bouncing off of wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Bradford had plenty of time to throw, with the offensive line turning in their best showing of the preseason.

The Eagles offense finished with 17 points, 177 total yards and committed just one penalty in the first half.

The receivers, outside of Agholor, also shined for the first time since camp opened. Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham both had touchdowns, and combined for four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown (Huff's score came on the ground).

The biggest takeaway from the receivers? Only one drop, an issue the Eagles have been dealing with over the past few seasons. GRADE: A

Defense: The Eagles' first-team defense has been strong throughout the preseason, and that continued against the Colts.

The defensive line was dominant, spending nearly all of the first half in the Colts backfield, harassing quarterback Andrew Luck. It wasn't just the usual suspects of Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan -- who both had strong games -- but the defensive line got production from everywhere, even from backups such as Beau Allen and Taylor Hart.

The secondary was strong as well, with newly-starting cornerback Nolan Carroll backing up the coaches decision to put him with the first unit, coming away with an interception in the third quarter.

The defense gave up just 129 yards and three points in the first half. GRADE: A

Overall: Will the win over the Colts translate into regular season success?

As the preseason has taught us in the past, it is hard to take too much from what we saw on Saturday night, but it is hard not to feel encouraged by how the Eagles played.

Not only was the offense better, but they cut down the penalties, and moved the ball on a few long, nice drives -- something they struggled with mightily this preseason.

Combine the strong showing from the offense with the usual dominant defensive performance, and the blueprint for how the Eagles can win this season was on display.

Assuming, of course, they can do it when it counts. GRADE: A

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