NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One play. A chance to make something special happen. For wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who played his collegiate football at nearby Vanderbilt University, everything fell into place on Sunday. His 56-yard catch-and-run on a pass from quarterback Carson Wentz broke the ice for the Eagles' offense in a heartbreaking 26-23 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
Matthews, lined up on the left side of the formation on a first-and-10 play from the Philadelphia 44-yard line midway through the second quarter, ran past cornerback Malcolm Butler and hauled in Wentz's perfect pass and streaked into the end zone, knelt down in prayer, and celebrated as the Eagles erased a 3-0 deficit.
"We want to be able to finish games like this, so it's disappointing to walk out with a loss," Matthews said. "That's what matters the most. Our expectation is to win and to put teams away when we have the opportunity. We didn't do that.
"On the touchdown, they were in Cover 4 and we knew that if we saw that coverage we would have a chance to hit one deep. It's like getting a handoff from Carson on balls like that. We had a 'scissors' concept and the safety took (tight end Dallas) Goedert and I had outside leverage and it was bombs away."
Matthews was an All-American selection at Vanderbilt in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, Matthews set Southeastern Conference records with 112 receptions for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished his career with the Commodores with 262 career catches for 3,759 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
It's been a gratifying last couple of weeks for Matthews, who signed with the Eagles prior to last week's win over Indianapolis and caught two passes for 21 yards in the 20-16 victory at Lincoln Financial Field. On Sunday, with the Eagles enjoying the return of Alshon Jeffery to the wide receiver corps, Matthews capped an eight-play, 97-yard drive with his big catch and sprint to the end zone. On that drive, Wentz was a perfect 5-for-5 for 85 yards.
For Matthews, reaching the end zone was emotional.
"It's been a crazy journey and for a lot of people, I'm probably the last person they expected to be in the end zone," Matthews said. "Everybody is acting like I'm slow or something. That's not the case. I can catch the balls deep and when I have that opportunity Carson is going to hit me. When you get open, he's going to put it where it needs to be.
"It would have been a loooottt better if we had been able to get the win."
Matthews had his parents in attendance, thanks to his agent, Bus Cook. Cook represented the late Steve McNair, the former great Titans quarterback. After McNair's death, the Titans provided Cook two tickets at the 50-yard line for each home game. Cook gave them to Matthews and on Sunday's Matthews had his parents in the seats.
"What are the chances that in my second game in the city that I live now, that my parents would be here for me?" Matthews said. "It's just funny how things work out sometimes."
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans.