The Eagles are in California for today's showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers. Our live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. with The Kickoff Show presented by Axalta. Fans can see the Eagles-Chargers game on FOX with kickoff set for 4:05 p.m. Once the game is over, join us for the Postgame Show presented by Ricoh as we'll provide highlights, analysis, and head coach Doug Pederson's and quarterback Carson Wentz's press conferences. Here are other news and notes ahead of today's game.
1. Can Jason Kelce Have Another Strong Performance?
The Eagles gained 193 yards on the ground last week against the Giants. The Chargers rank 31st in the league in run defense. Kelce has a tough matchup today against two good interior linemen in Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane.
2. Did You Know?
- The Eagles rank first in the NFL in average time of possession (34:12). The Eagles also led the league in that category a year ago (32:16).
- Philadelphia ranks second in the NFL in first down per game with 23.3, trailing only New England (25).
- Since the start of 2016, the Eagles have 16 games of 20 or more points, which is the fourth most in the league behind Atlanta (18), Green Bay and New England (17).
- The Eagles lead the league with 53 plays of 10 yards or more and is tied for second with 41 completions of 10-plus yards.
- Philadelphia is third in the NFL in the amount of points allowed per opponent's red zone drive (3.7) which is behind only Baltimore (3.4) and Seattle (3.6).
3. Jake Elliott's Award-Winning Week
Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal to beat the Giants was not only the longest in franchise history but tied for the seventh farthest in league history.
The rookie was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He was also voted by the fans as the NFL Rookie of the Week as well as the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week.
4. Trends To Watch
1,150 – The last time these two teams met in 2013 they combined for 1,150 total net yards. The Eagles racked up 511 total yards while the Chargers put up 539.
77.7 – Philip Rivers has a 77.7 completion percentage (56 of 72 attempts) against Philadelphia, his highest against any one opponent. The Eagles are the only team Rivers has yet to throw an interception against.
3 – The Eagles have given up just three points in the first quarters of games this season.
5. Frank Reich Faces Former Team
Before joining Coach Pederson in Philadelphia, offensive coordinator Frank Reich spent three seasons with the Chargers, the last two as offensive coordinator.
He played a sizeable role in helping Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers earn the Comeback Player of the Year award back in 2013. According to Reich, the Eagles are preparing to face off against one of the NFL's most-proven veteran signal-callers.
"Philip, in my mind, is an elite quarterback in this league. He's proven it over a lot of seasons. He can do it all," Reich said. "Make all the throws, great leader, mentally and physically as tough as they come, just an excellent player in every way."
Reich has the difficult challenge of replacing Darren Sproles' elite playmaking ability with the running back done for the year with a torn ACL (and broken forearm). Reich announced Sproles' duties on offense will now fall upon second-year running back Wendell Smallwood, who gave the Eagles run game a significant spark in last Sunday's win. Smallwood brings to the table an aggressive up-tempo running style of his own and his proven to be reliable in protecting quarterback Carson Wentz.
"There's no doubt Wendell is going to have an increased role. He's the guy. I think all the guys have some third-down ability but Wendell has really improved in that area," Reich told reporters at the NovaCare Complex. "He's showed natural aptitude for it early both from a protection standpoint and from a route-running standpoint. I'm not sure you can ever replace (Sproles) in that regard. I mean he's just a unique player but I feel good about Wendell and him stepping up.
"I know Carson has a lot of confidence because as a quarterback it's important to be standing back there and knowing with everybody moving around that this guy is going to get the right guy. There's a high degree of confidence in Wendell in that regard."
6. Last Time They Met
Back in September 2013, the Chargers squeaked out of Lincoln Financial Field with a 33-30 victory over the Eagles in a game that came down to the wire. The Week 2 loss was the first of three straight for the Eagles before the team would eventually rattle off wins in nine of their final 12 games to earn a postseason appearance.
After a 3-3 tie at the end of the first, Rivers spotted Eddie Royal for the game's first touchdown early in the second. Later in the quarter, Michael Vick responded hitting Riley Cooper for an 11-yard touchdown that left the Eagles trailing 13-10 at halftime.
Royal continued his strong play midway through the third quarter and the Chargers took a 10-point lead on a 24-yard score. The Eagles, however, knotted the game up thanks to an Alex Henery kick and a 61-yard cannon from Vick to DeSean Jackson. Both teams would enter the fourth quarter squared away at 20 apiece.
The Chargers struck first in the fourth on a field goal, but the Eagles took their first lead of the game with just 7:06 remaining. A Vick dash up the middle set the mark at 27-23 in favor of Philadelphia. With less than four minutes to go, the tandem of Rivers and Royal would thump the Eagles for a third time on the afternoon, this time on a 15-yard touchdown connection to put the Chargers in front 30-27. The Eagles responded quickly with a game-tying field goal that left 1:51 on the clock. But the Chargers scored the game's final points on a 46-yard field goal with just 11 seconds remaining.
The offenses had a field day. Rivers shelled out 419 passing yards and three touchdowns. Vick bested Rivers with on the stat sheet with 428 yards, two passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. Tight end Antonio Gates put up 124 yards for the Chargers.