Football is officially back in Philadelphia. In their preseason opener, the Eagles came out on top, downing the Buccaneers, 17-9. Here are the biggest takeaways from the game ...
Wentz Makes His Debut
With 1:19 remaining in the second quarter, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz made his Eagles debut to the sound of cheering fans at Lincoln Financial Field. His first completion of the night was a 19-yard pass to tight end Zach Ertz, bringing the team to the Tampa Bay 49-yard line, but the offense was unable to move the chains again during the half.
Wentz then saw the bulk of the team's snaps in the following half, playing deep into the fourth quarter. He finished the night 12-of-24 for 89 yards and one interception. The quarterback also picked up 15 yards on the ground in his first NFL action.
Special Teams Key
On the opening play of the game, linebacker Najee Goode forced a fumble of Tampa Bay's Kenny Bell which was recovered by safety Chris Maragos at the Buccaneers' 18-yard line. Three plays later, running back Ryan Mathews ran in the Eagles' first score of the preseason with a 5-yard touchdown.
Defense Forces Turnovers
Over the course of the game, the Eagles' defense was dominant, especially in the turnovers category. In the first quarter, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox sacked and forced a fumble on quarterback Jameis Winston. That play ultimately led to a Chase Daniel 3-yard rushing touchdown, putting the team up 14-0.
Then later on in the second quarter, safety Chris Maragos came up with an interception for the Birds. At the 4:36 mark, quarterback Mike Glennon threw a pass deep, aiming to connect with former Eagles wide receiver Jonathan Krause. Instead, Maragos jumped up and made the catch at the Philadelphia 26-yard line. Rookie linebacker Quentin Gause also came away with an interception, picking off Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Griffin and returning it 8 yards with 13 minutes left in the game.
A third interception came with 50 second remaining in the game. Cornerback C.J. Smith, also from North Dakota State, picked off Griffin in the end zone and took a knee. The play sealed the team's victory.
Kicking Battle Continues
As head coach Doug Pederson said earlier in the week, kickers Cody Parkey and Caleb Sturgis split time during the game. However, Sturgis had the opportunity to kick a field goal during the fourth quarter. He connected on the 42-yard attempt, giving the Eagles a 17-6 lead.
Quarterback Sam Bradford checked out of the game after the Eagles' early score. Guard Brandon Brooks suffered an injury to his right bicep. He did not return, but the injury is not considered serious. Later on in the game, guard Josh Andrews left the field with a right ankle injury and was taken in for X-rays. He did not return.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to Philadelphia as the Eagles kicked off their preseason at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles took home the victory 17-9.