It was a game of streaks and firsts for the Eagles in the crazy 38-31 preseason win over the Dolphins on Thursday night.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks continued his interception hot streak with a 31-yard pick-six and rookie running back Corey Clement recorded his second rushing touchdown as many games. But the show ultimately belonged to wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, who both collected their first Eagles touchdowns in front of the fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It's pretty cool. Especially being that it's my first time here. So I'm just glad that we were able to connect on it," Smith said of his touchdown. "It's something we've been able to have success in practice with but to have it happen in a game setting is always fun."
Smith went into Thursday's contest without a single target in the Eagles' first two preseason games. That quickly changed early in the opening period. Less than three minutes into the game, quarterback Carson Wentz delivered a perfect dime to Smith after he dusted cornerback Byron Maxwell for a 50-yard touchdown catch that sent the Philadelphia fans into a frenzy.
"It was quarters. It was a great play call," Smith commented. "The offensive line did a great job as well and I knew I just had to beat my guy outside and I was able to do that. Carson made a great throw."
His running mate on the outside, Jeffery, had catches in both games prior to Thursday's matchup but he too saved his best showing for the starters' final outing of the exhibition. The drive leading up to Jeffery's touchdown was picture-perfect execution by the offense. In 3:35, the Eagles took the ball 93 yards on eight plays that featured a 20-yard hookup between Wentz and Jeffery, a 12-yard pass down the middle to tight end Zach Ertz, and a 16-yard bull rush running back by LeGarrette Blount. The final 15-yard connection to Jeffery over the middle was icing on the cake.
"We practice it all the time so it worked out great for us," Jeffery said. "We went down and scored."
Jeffery's score marked the final time Wentz and the starters would trot out onto the field. Wentz, however, was excited to see just how problematic his new receiving targets can be for opposing defenses.
"It was great to do it here, to do it in front of the fans. The fans get really excited about that so that's really cool," Wentz said. "Like I said all along, I felt really confident in our chemistry with those guys going back to the spring, but to finally do it in a game-like situation is really good to see."
Head coach Doug Pederson said prior to the Thursday's game that his starters could play into the second half. But after watching Smith and Jeffery find the end zone, he quickly decided he'd seen enough.
"I feel real comfortable with where they're at," Pederson stated. "You know their focus is obviously now in a couple of weeks and they can get some really good one-on-one work in these next few practices and kind of get ready for the regular season. So (I'm) happy to get both those guys tonight in the end zone and kind of catapult the offense into the regular season."
Eagles fans will have to wait until opening day against Washington to relish the quarterback-receiver combination that is Wentz, Jeffery, and Smith. But one thing is for certain, the new-look receiving corps will be a staple in the offense this coming season.
"It was great for everyone, for me and him both ways, and Nelly (Nelson Agholor). Whoever's out there it goes hand and hand," Jeffery said. "Whoever is out there take advantage of our matchup and then roll with it."
The Eagles defeated the Dolphins, 38-31, in their final home preseason game of 2017. Check out photos from the matchup.