How quickly can the Eagles forget the Titans? That's going to be a major storyline this week as the Eagles must rebound from Sunday's gut-wrenching defeat in Tennessee. The Eagles are 2-2 after the 26-23 overtime loss, and a desperate Minnesota Vikings squad will come to Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday looking to avoid a 1-3-1 start. Plus, there's that whole 38-7 thing the Vikings will be looking to avenge.
Head coach Doug Pederson speaks to the media at noon, which we will carry live here. Until then, we kick off today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft with a silver lining from Sunday's game.
1. Alshon Jeffery Sparks The Offense
He missed the first three games recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He only practiced once this week due to an illness.
It didn't matter for Alshon Jeffery.
The 6-3, 218-pound wide receiver had a sensational season debut, instantly reviving that chemistry with quarterback Carson Wentz, as he hauled in eight of nine targeted passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. In fact, Sunday marked his first 100-yard outing as an Eagle, which is difficult to believe.
"We didn't win the game, but it's something we can build from," Jeffery said afterward, focused more on team outcome rather than his performance.
He made his presence felt early in the second quarter with an over-the-shoulder grab from Wentz down the left side of the field for a 31-yard gain. He exited briefly as he had the wind knocked out of him. More importantly, he landed on the injured shoulder and was just fine.
That first catch converted a third-down situation and was a prime example of what was missing from the offense in the first three games. Six of Jeffery's eight catches resulted in a first down. In the third quarter, he got the Eagles in a goal-to-go situation after snaring a back-shoulder throw from Wentz, using that big frame to shield off cornerback Malcolm Butler. He finished off the drive with a contested-catch touchdown, not allowing cornerback LeShaun Sims to knock it away.
In the fourth quarter, Jeffery's 15-yard reception helped shorten the length of the field goal attempt by Jake Elliott that sent the game to overtime. On the Eagles' final offensive possession in the bonus time, Jeffery's first-down catch got the ball into Titans' territory and led to another field goal. Head coach Doug Pederson said it was "exciting to watch" Jeffery back on the field.
"He was aggressive. He attacked the football. Kind of a spark for the offense," Pederson said. "It was great to see him back and keep him coming."
2. Eagles Unable To Finish
Dave Spadaro was on the scene in Nashville as the Eagles allowed the Titans to erase a 17-3 deficit and beat Philadelphia in overtime. Here's Spadaro's depiction of what happened as wide receiver Corey Davis hauled in the game-winning touchdown and what led to the comeback:
A split second after Tennessee wide receiver Corey Davis caught the 10-yard touchdown pass to break the Eagles' hearts on Sunday, defensive lineman Chris Long slammed his helmet to the ground and it rolled toward the Eagles bench as Tennessee Titans players raced across the field to celebrate a 26-23 overtime win in a back-and-forth game that was there for the Eagles' taking many times. In the end, it came down to one thing, and one thing only.
A failure to close.
"It's very disappointing that we didn't close it out," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "That's what we're used to doing and today we didn't get it done. It's a lousy feeling."
The Eagles let a 17-3 lead get away and had to rally late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then, after Jake Elliott's 37-yard field goal put the Eagles ahead 23-20 in the extra period, the Eagles' defense allowed three fourth-down conversions by the Titans – one a fourth-and-15 play – and lost in excruciating fashion at Nissan Stadium. Instead of finishing the first quarter of the regular season 3-1, the Eagles are 2-2 with Minnesota visiting Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday.
3. Carson Wentz 'Not Too Worried' After Defeat
Another positive takeaway from the loss was how sharp Carson Wentz looked in his second game of the season. Wentz completed 33 of 50 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and one fumble. Graham Foley has the quarterback's reaction:
After his second game of the 2018 regular season, quarterback Carson Wentz stood at the podium at Nissan Stadium and expressed his clear frustration with the Eagles' 26-23 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
But the Eagles' leader also showed confidence in his team and a lack of panic following the early-season loss that dropped the Eagles' record to 2-2.
"We'll have to watch the tape, especially this week, but I think overall we're just hurting ourselves too much," Wentz said. "I think it's something little here, here and there, and those little things just add up. At the end of the day, I'm not too worried. It's a frustrating one but it's one we can learn from and bounce back from."
4. Familiar Setting, Unfamiliar Result
Eagles fans have become accustomed to thrilling finishes this season. The season opener came down to Ronald Darby making sure Julio Jones' final-play catch was out of bounds. Last week against Indy, it took a Hail Mary attempt falling to the ground before the win was secure.
The defense, however, was not able to get that final stop on Sunday. Alex Smith has more:
On the Titans' game-winning drive, the Eagles had three different fourth-down opportunities to end the game and head back to Philadelphia with a win. On instances of fourth-and-15, fourth-and-4, and fourth-and-2, the Titans found a way to convert each of those make-or-break plays.
"There at the end in overtime, I thought we made plays on defense, but just from a situational standpoint, really made some elementary mistakes," safety Malcolm Jenkins said after the game. "It's one of those things where we just have to wear that. Hats off to that team for fighting and making plays. They had some good play calls at the end, but we just gave up one too many and survived some other mistakes really. It's one of those things where we'll be critical about the tape and keep hacking at it.
"At the end of the day, you don't let them get behind you. You sit at the sticks, you make them throw it in front of you, and you run up and make a tackle. To let a ball get behind us, that's one of those things you talk about and you gameplan for. We let it get outside of our grip."
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans.
5. A Nice Homecoming For Jordan Matthews
In his second game back as an Eagle, wide receiver Jordan Matthews had one of the biggest plays of the season for the Eagles as he hauled in a 56-yard touchdown to get the Eagles on the scoreboard. It was extra special as his parents were in attendance. Matthews played his college ball at nearby Vanderbilt in Nashville. Dave Spadaro with the details:
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."
6. Toyota Player Of The Week Nominees
Vaughn Johnson unveils the Eagles who are up for the Toyota Player of the Week honors. You select the winner, and could have a chance at a brand-new Toyota:
QB Carson Wentz
Wentz played valiantly in defeat, completing 33 of his 50 pass attempts for 348 yards and two touchdown passes while taking punishment from the Tennessee defense.
Complementing Wentz's impressive numbers were the long drives he led in crunch time. Wentz led the Eagles to a game-tying field goal late in regulation after six plays.
In overtime, he drove the Eagles 56 yards on nine plays to help the Eagles regain the lead with another field goal.
WR Alshon Jeffery
If there were any concerns of Jeffery being rusty after missing the entire preseason and the first three games of the regular season, he quickly put those concerns to rest after a stellar performance against the Titans.
Jeffery eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, reminding people just how much of an impact he can have on the Eagles' offense.
TE Zach Ertz
Ertz continued to cement his place as one of the best tight ends in Eagles history Sunday with 10 receptions on 14 targets for 112 yards.
He also moved up the Eagles' record books, passing Jeremy Maclin for the ninth-most receptions in team history. He also has the fourth most among tight ends in franchise history.