The Eagles' win was historic in the sense that no team has ever won a game by at least 17 points after being shut out and trailing by 17 or more points at halftime. That stat is courtesy of longtime NFL personnel exec Gil Brandt, who is now an analyst for NFL.com. The Eagles were tested by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but responded with 34 unanswered points in the second half. There is plenty to celebrate on this victory Monday as the Eagles won their fourth straight season opener.
1. When The Eagles Win, You Win
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2. Hoping For Some Good News
Head coach Chip Kelly addresses the media for his day-after press conference at 1 PM that will be streamed live online and on our app. Fans will be awaiting word on the status of All-Pro guard Evan Mathis, who left in the second quarter of Sunday's game with a knee injury. This morning, Kelly told SportsRadio 94WIP's Morning Show that from what he understands Mathis will not be done for the year.
Mathis was not the only offensive lineman who was injured. Allen Barbre exited the game with an ankle injury later in the same quarter.
Backup tackle Andrew Gardner initially replaced Mathis at guard, but moved to right tackle after Barbre's injury. Backup center David Molk went in at left guard. Gardner had eight games of NFL experience over four NFL seasons. Molk played 12 games as a rookie in San Diego in 2012, but was out of the NFL last year.
"I thought they did a good job," Kelly said. "Most of Gardner's practice time has been on the left side. But we've got enough reps for him on the right side and felt good about him. Molk almost extensively since Julian (Vandervelde) went down has been at center so, to have him thrown in there at guard obviously, it was not the way you wanted it, but I thought those guys went out there and competed."
3. How Tempo Changed The Momentum
The Eagles ran 87 offensive plays Sunday, but the most important might have been the fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars' 49-yard line in the third quarter. There was no hesitation in the Eagles' decision to go for it and the gamble paid off with running back Darren Sproles darting up the middle for his first touchdown as an Eagle. The Jaguars were without starting safety Johnathan Cyprien, who suffered a head injury, and that - combined with the Eagles' tempo - helped result in the score.
"They're a single safety team and they didn't have any safety in the middle, so I think they got their wires crossed and that's maybe a benefit of playing (tempo) for us," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.
The Jaguars failed to convert on each of their first nine third-down attempts and was only successful on 2 out of 14 opportunities in the game (14 percent). The Eagles surrendered a first down on over 40 percent of third-down opportunities last year, which ranked 24th in the league.
As the Eagles began to rally back in the second half, the defense forced three consecutive three-and-outs to start the third quarter.
"We put an emphasis on it and usually, what we focus on, we get better at. The guys did a great job of pressuring the quarterback, covering, playing together and adjusting to the different things they were giving us," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "It's early in the season, so teams give you new looks. I thought our guys did a great job of applying our rules and our tools."
5. The Return Of The Mac
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had four catches for 97 yards and the game-winning 68-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter after missing all of 2013 with a knee injury. Maclin's touchdown was one of six explosive plays for an offense that set the league record with 99 a year ago. Even after the team's first-half struggles, an average of six plays of 20-plus yards per game over the course of the season would put the team on pace for 96.
"The thing about this offense is that we can score fast, and we can score a lot," Maclin said.
Maclin said he felt blessed to be back on the field, but is more focused on seeing the team build on the opening week win.
"We've got a lot of room to improve," Maclin said, "and we need to get better."
Maclin's teammates were happy to see the former first-round pick making an impact.
"It's the return of the Mac, right?" rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews joked with a sly reference to the 1996 Mark Morrison song "Return of the Mack," before lauding his fellow receiver's inspiring work ethic. "He's always hungry, always coming out in practice and making sure he goes out there and makes plays."