Photo Credit: Washington Post
There were so many questions surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles coming into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both the Eagles and Steelers came into the game with a 2-0 record, but no one gave the Eagles much of a chance. After all, there was a big difference between these two teams; one team had the league’s number one offensive unit led by a 4-time Pro bowl and 2-time Super Bowl champion quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. The other was led by a rookie quarterback who was selected with the number 2 overall pick in this past year’s NFL draft, Carson Wentz.
The Steelers came in to the game having beaten the Redskins and Bengals, two playoff teams from a year ago. The Eagles, on the other hand, beat two of the league’s worst teams, the Browns and the Bears. While Wentz played very well in his first two games against Cleveland and Chicago, no one gave him much of a chance against the Steelers and their fast defense. In Wentz’s first two games, he faced big names like Joe Haden, Jerrell Freeman, and Danny Trevathan. But in his third game, he was going to have to find ways to get around Cameron Heyward, Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, and William Gay. While those guys aren’t huge names, they are still bigger than most of the names on the Browns’ and Bears’ defenses. The other side was the defense. The Eagles defense played incredibly well against both Chicago and Cleveland. But like I said, those are two of the league’s poorer offensive units.
If the Eagles were going to win against the Steelers, they were going to have to shut down big name players such as Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams, and of course, Ben Roethlisberger. Most people didn’t think that Jim Schwartz’s defense had a shot. Then came Sunday, game time at 4:30 PM ET at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over the 3 hours at the stadium or at home on CBS, you saw the Birds demolish the Steelers by a score of 34-3. Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns (a 12-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 73-yard touchdown to running back Darren Sproles), while the Eagles ran for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground (a 1-yard touchdown run by Wendell Smallwood, and an 8-yard touchdown run by Kenjon Barner). While the Eagles’ defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger 4 times (twice by Fletcher Cox and once each by Brandon Graham and Bennie Logan), they also forced and recovered a fumble (forced by Fletcher Cox, recovered by Brandon Graham) and intercepted a pass (by Rodney McLeod). All of a sudden, all of the people who thought the Eagles didn’t have a chance against the Steelers found themselves asking the same question… “Are the Eagles for real?”
Here are the facts: the Eagles have scored 92 points in three games, and their defense has given up 27 points. Carson Wentz has thrown 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The Eagles’ running backs (Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood) have rushed for 337 Yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. The Eagles’ defense has forced 3 fumbles, intercepted 3 passes, and recorded 10 sacks. Three weeks into the season, the Eagles’ offense has scored the 2nd most points of any team in the NFL, and their defense has given up the fewest points of any team in the NFL. Add all of that up, and in most cases, it will lead to a playoff team. After 3 weeks, the Eagles are one of 5 teams that remain undefeated (the Denver Broncos, the Baltimore Ravens, the Minnesota Vikings, and the New England Patriots). The Eagles are the most surprising of the 5 after being ranked 28th in ESPN’s preseason NFL power rankings. With that being said, who could’ve seen this kind of success coming?
But even after all of those numbers, we are still left without an answer to that question… Is this team for real? As of right now, we can’t say for sure, but this should be a very fun team to watch down the stretch. Could Carson Wentz, a rookie quarterback, really lead this team to the playoffs? Or is this just “fool’s gold” as Bart Scott would say? For right now, we Eagles’ fans will enjoy our ride on the “Wentz Wagon”… let’s just hope we won’t be getting off any time soon.