Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eagles Defeat Colts, 36-10

The sun was shining over an electric Philadelphia crowd as the Eagles took on Indianapolis Sunday afternoon for the team’s preseason opener, and fans had more than the weather to thank for a cheerful mood. After a slow start, the Eagles’ offense found its rhythm and dominated, ultimately defeating the Colts, 36-10.
Rookies Nelson Agholor and Eric Tomlinson had standout performances, catching for 57 and 61 yards, respectively. Agholor also added a touchdown to his name, the first of his NFL career. The wide receiver connected with quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first for the 34-yard scoring play. Sanchez, who started the game, completed 2 of 7 passing attempts on the day and was part of a quarterback trio that passed for 285 yards.
With regard to the quarterbacks, all eyes were on the Matt BarkleyTim Tebow showdown. Barkley played most of the first half, throwing for 192 yards, while the second half was Tebow time. He threw for 69 yards.
Kick returner Kenjon Barner also kept the crowd interested when he returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown with little time remaining in the first half.
The offense wasn’t the only part of the team clicking either. The Philadelphia defense came up big, holding the Colts to only 10 points on a touchdown and a field goal. The Colts’ touchdown came in the third quarter when running back Josh Robinson dodged through the coverage for a 9-yard run into the end zone.
After that, the defense was locked in. During the fourth quarter, Ed Reynolds intercepted not one, but two Bryan Bennett passes. The first came with 8:34 remaining. The pass was intended for Ryan Lankford, but Reynolds grabbed it at the Philadelphia 2-yard line and ran for 19 yards before he was brought down. He ran his second interception back for 19 yards as well with 6:28 left in the game, allowing the Eagles’ offense to take over at the Indianapolis 13-yard line.
The play resulted in a Cody Parkey 40-yard kick, his third field goal of the game, extending the team’s lead to 19 points. The Eagles’ offense tacked on one final touchdown after linebacker Bryan Braman forced the Colts’ offense to fumble at its own 24-yard line. Tebow ran the ball 7 yards on the scoring play.
The Eagles will return to Lincoln Financial Field next Saturday for their second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Eagles Defeat Colts, 36-10, In Preseason Opener

First Quarter Recap

The Colts received to start the game. With Frank Gore also sitting out on Sunday,Zurlon Tipton got the start at running back. A pair of catches by rookie Phillip Dorsettstarted the opening drive. After an initial first down, a drop from Coby Fleener ended the Colts first series on a third-and-seven.

The Eagles offense got things started with the high-tempo pace on their first series. A failed third-and-one ended the drive.

Andrew Luck’s final series of the day would come on this second drive with a 13-play, 58-yard series ending in a 32-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Luck exited midway through the drive (11 total snaps), finishing the afternoon 5-of-6 for 43 yards (his lone incompletion was a drop). An Andre Johnson reception on a third-and-nine extended the Colts drive, which ended with a Vinatieri field goal at the 5:40 mark of the third quarter. The Colts led the Eagles 3-0.

The Eagles high-tempo got to the Colts on their second series. Indianpaolis had a chance to get off the field on a three-and-out, but quarterback Mark Sanchez eluded Jerrell Freemanand scrambled for a first down. With new life, the Eagles marched down the field and rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor scored on a 34-yard touchdown catch and run. The Eagles led 7-3 with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter.

With Matt Hasselbeck starting the third series, the Colts went three-and-out. The Colts had starters Phillip Dorsett, Coby Fleener, Jack MewhortLance Louis andKhaled Holmes still in on their third offensive drive.

Philadelphia then turned to Matt Barkley at quarterback and wasted no time attacking a banged up Cotls secondary. A five-play, 76-yard drive for the Eagles ended with Kenjon Barner running in from nine yards out. The Colts led 13-3 (they missed the extra point) with 46 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

At the end of the first quarter, the Eagles led the Colts 13-3.

Second Quarter Recap

The Colts and Eagles traded turnovers to start the second quarter.

Phillip Dorsett had a 20-yard completion go for naught when he coughed up the ball over the middle of the field.

Two plays later, the Colts would get the ball back. Outside linebacker Bjoern Werner did a nice job recognizing a play-action bootleg and tipped a pass from quarterback Matt Barkley. The deflected ball fell into the arms of rookie linebacker Amarlo Herrera

The Colts couldn’t take advantage of their own takeaway. A three-and-out would follow the turnover.

Philadelphia would then have a three-and-out of its own. A nice pressure from outside linebacker Cam Johnson forced the Eagles punt.

With just a couple of offensive “starters” remaining, the Colts offense continued to struggle. A 15-yard (post-play) penalty by David Arkin backed things up for the offense. Another three-and-out would follow the penalty.

The Eagles worked their way back into Colts territory but would leave with no points to show from it. On a fourth-and-four from the Colts 15-yard line, the Indianapolis defense stopped Philadelphia short on a running play.

The Colts appeared to gain some offensive steam but a third-down attempt in the direction ofGriff Whalen and Phillip Dorsett fell incomplete. Pat McAfee showed he was in midseason form with a 64-yard punt.

It was another drive in Colts territory for the Barkley-led Eagles offense. The drive stalled at the Colts 22-yard-line, with kicker Cody Parkey connecting on a 40-yard field goal. The Eagles led 16-3 with 1:16 left in the first half.

The first half ended with the Colts going three-and-out and the Eagles special teams making a massive play.

After another booming punt from Pat McAfee, return man Kenjon Barner broke several tackles in taking the punt 92 yards the other way.

At halftime, the Eagles led the Colts 23-3.

Third Quarter Recap

The Eagles got thing started in the third quarter with a quick 1:56 drive, ending in a 48-yard field goal from kicker Cody Parkey. The Eagles now led 26-3.

Undrafted rookie Bryan Bennett entered the game at quarterback to start the third quarter. The Colts put together their best drive of the day behind the legs of Bennett and a couple of other young skill players. A 16-yard catch by Duron Carter and the compact lower body ofJosh Robinson sparked the offense. A nine-yard touchdown run from Robinson brought the score to 26-10 with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.

The loudest cheer of the afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field came on the next Eagles drive. Tim Tebow entered the game at quarterback to a mini standing ovation. Tebow drove the Eagles deep into Indianapolis territory but Cody Parkey missed wide on a 42-yard field goal attempt.

The third quarter came to a close following a Colts punt.

At the end of the third quarter, the Eagles led the Colts 26-10.

Fourth Quarter Recap

Rookie running back Josh Robinson continued to be a bright spot for the Colts. An Indianapolis drive would stall though following a drop by Duron Carter.

The Colts defense responded with a solid drive, highlighted by a sack from defensive endEarl Okine.

With some nice field position, the Colts could not take advantage. A deep ball from Bryan Bennett, intended for wide receiver Ryan Lankford was picked off by Eagles safety Ed Reynolds.

The Indy defense would continue it’s solid pass rushing pressure in the second half. A second sack from inside linebacker Junior Sylvestre led the pressure group with Zach Kerrand David Parry not far behind.

Any movement through the air for the Colts third-team offense was absent in the fourth quarter. Reynolds once again made a play by stepping in front of undrafted rookieQuan Bray for a pick of Bennett.

Starting at the Colts 12-yard line, the Eagles would pad their lead. While the Colts defense made a stand, Philadelphia kicker Cody Parkey knocked home a 40-yard field goal. The Eagles lead was now 29-10 with 4:46 left in the fourth quarter.

The next Colts drive would end rather quickly as Bryan Bennett was stripped by outside linebacker Bryan Barman.

This time, the Eagles would take full advantage of the turnover deep in Indianapolis territory. A seven-yard touchdown run by Tim Tebow pushed the Eagles lead to 36-10 with 2:02 left in the preseason opener.

The final score on Sunday was 36-10 in the Eagles favor.

Starters Sharp As Cardinals Open Preseason

If there was an MVP to be named for the two weeks of training camp leading into the Cardinals’ first preseason game, it would have been Carson Palmer. Or Tyrann Mathieu.
It only made sense to have the two perform the same in their brief appearances Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium during a 34-19 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Call it #CardsCamp continued.
“You want to be on the same page with everyone,” Palmer said, and that’s exactly what the Cardinals (0-1) got out of their starters.
“We accomplished what we wanted to – we got a good start for our first-team offense and defense,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Then we found out a lot about young guys. Some can’t tackle, others hold on running plays.

“We don’t judge now. We judge when we watch the tape. But there were enough good things, and enough really, really poor things to take away from tonight that we will grow off of.”
Palmer got his one series but it was seven plays and generated a touchdown. The quarterback completed all four of his passes for 77 yards, the longest of which was a 57-yard laser to running backAndre Ellington, splitting two defenders and hitting Ellington in stride.
“I was just very focused,” Palmer said. “I was excited all day until I got here, and there’s just a great focus – going through my plays in my head, my reads, my checks, my adjustments. Just a very business-like, very workmanlike day.”
Ellington, who didn’t truly have a full day of training camp practice until Thursday because of a hamstring issue, looked good. He had a total of five touches on the seven-play drive. The last play was a two-yard touchdown run, although the Cardinals had hoped his long pass would have ended in the end zone and not the Kansas City 5-yard line.
“I told him to get in shape because he had never been caught before,” Arians said.
“They gave me a hard time, but that’s alright,” Ellington said. “I’ve got some work to do.”
That was enough for the entire starting offense, with all 11 leaving for good for the night.
“That’s just what we’re capable of,” Ellington added. “We have playmakers. We can score on any drive.”

And the entire starting defense – minus cornerbackJerraud Powers, who was held out – also only had a single series, punctuated by Mathieu. In five plays, the Chiefs lost two rushing yards and then Alex Smith’s down-the-middle pass was picked.
“He's like a magnet to the football,” defensive endCalais Campbell said. “I don't know how he does it."
Mathieu has had a handful of interceptions in training camp already, so it only made sense.
“I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been getting my hands on some balls in practice, so it definitely translated to the game today,” Mathieu said.
The rest of the game wasn’t as smooth. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead the Chiefs (1-0) scored the next 31 points, until rookie defensive end Rodney Gunter sacked Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray for a safety.
In the battle for third-string quarterback, Logan Thomas looked relatively solid in the pocket, his interception not his fault after a bullet pass hit receiver Jaron Brown in the chest and ricocheted to Kansas City linebacker Ramik Wilson. Phillip Sims threw a late touchdown pass.
The running game never found a lot of room, though, and defensively, many of the young players fighting for spots on the roster struggled, including a secondary that made veteran backup quarterback Chase Daniel (17 for 21, 189 yards, three touchdowns) look like a Pro Bowler.
But there are still three preseason games and two full weeks of training camp practices left to sort that out.
“It was a night to see if the young guys could win the game,” Arians said. “They couldn’t get it done.”

Kansas City Chiefs Defeat the Arizona Cardinals 34-19

Arizona's Carson Palmer was flawless in a brief appearance, Kansas City backup Chase Danielthrew for three touchdowns and the Chiefs beat the Cardinals 34-19 in the teams' preseason opener Saturday night.
Palmer, in his first game since tearing an ACL last Nov. 9, was 4 for 4 for 77 yards, directing a seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to start the game before sitting down for the night. Palmer threw over the middle to Andre Ellington on a 57-play to highlight the seven-play, 80-yard drive.
Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Alex Smith's pass on the Chiefs' first possession to set up a field goal to put Arizona up 10-0. The Kansas City reserves scored the next 31 points.
Daniel was 17 for 29 for 189 yards in two quarters of play.
"It's great to be back and play on this grass again in front of our fans and in our stadium," Palmer said. "It's been a long time coming. It's been a lot of days since I saw this day in the future."
On the big play, Palmer found Ellington through a tight window. Ellington, who nursed a foot injury most of last season and has missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, scored on a 2-yard riun on third-and-goal.
On Kansas City's first possession, Smith was under pressure when he threw the pass intended for open Jason Avant. The pass was well behind the intended receiver and Mathieu, who was slowed noticeably last season after coming off knee surgery, easily picked it off.
"Luckily, the quarterback threw the ball right to me so I didn't really have to break and get a good route to the receiver," Mathieu said. "He kind of just threw it right to me."
Smith completed 6 of 10 for 42 yards.
Daniel threw TD passes of 13 yards to Fred Williams, 14 to Frankie Hammond Jr. and 3 yards toDa'Ron Brown.
Chandler Catanzaro's 52-yard field goal try early in the fourth quarter was deflected by the outstretched hand of 6-foot-7 rookie David Irving.
Kansas City starting right guard Jeff Allen left the game early with a knee injury.
Arizona rookie Rodney Gunter tackled quarterback Aaron Murray from the blind side for a safety.

Texans QBs have solid preseason debut

The trio of Texans quarterbacks, Brian HoyerRyan Mallett, and Tom Savage, all had a solid debut Saturday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

“I have to watch the tape, but I thought those guys went out there and operated the offense pretty well,” head coach Bill O’Brien said after the Texans 23-10 win in the preseason opener.

Brian Hoyer threw a touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III on the opening drive and added a successful two-point conversion to DeAndre Hopkins. Ryan Mallett finished the rest of the first half and completed 10-of-11 passes for 90 yards. Second-year quarterback Tom Savage added the second touchdown of the day, a 10-yard pass to rookie Jaelen Strong in the third quarter. Savage was 8-for-14 for 97 yards and the score. 

It was a record day for the quarterback group.

“I think all three of us have had good training camps so that kind of translates over onto the field,” Hoyer said. “There’s been some good and some bad so we are learning from our mistakes and will keep doing the things we do well to improve our play.”

O’Brien sees progress in the Texans red zone offense but wants to see improvement there and specifically in goal-line offense next week. On Mallett’s first series, the Texans were unable to score from the San Francisco one-yard line despite five attempts by four different backs:Alfred BlueJay ProschKenny Hilliard, and Jonathan Grimes.

“We’ll have to look at it,” O’Brien said. “We were in some big people groupings down there, and wer were in some smaller groupings. We’ll have to look at it. Give San Francisco credit. They stopped us right there. In the end, we won the game, which was good, but we have to correct that part of what happened tonight, no doubt about it.”

Ryan Mallett will start on Saturday against Denver in the Texans second preseason game.

49ers Drop Preseason Opener to Texans, 23-10

A year ago, Blaine Gabbert began the preseason against the Baltimore Ravens by completing just 3-of-11 passes for 20 yards and an interception.
In the buildup to this week’s exhibition opener versus the Houston Texans, Jim Tomsula fielded several questions about the backup quarterback’s progress since 2014. The first-year coach responded each time by proclaiming, “I’m a believer in Blaine Gabbert.”
Well on Saturday night at NRG Stadium, Gabbert made his coach look mighty smart.
Although the San Francisco 49ers fell to the Texans, 23-10, Gabbert shined in extended action, finishing his evening 8-of-11 passing for 86 yards, a touchdown and a 125.6 passer rating. He led the offense to its only two scoring drives, one of 99 yards and the other 54 yards.
“It was good to see Blaine out there with a nice supporting cast,” Tomsula said. “I wanted to see him function like he does in practice. I think he showed that today.”
Other bright spots in the game included the defensive line and Jarryd Hayne. The former turned in a wildly impressive goal-line stand while the latter rushed five times for 63 yards in his NFL debut. The Australian import was also strong on special teams, picking up gains of 11 and 13 on his two punt returns and 33 yards in his lone kickoff return.

The 49ers began the game on defense after Phil Dawson officially set the team’s 2015 campaign in motion with a booming kickoff that was returned to the Houston 13-yard line.
Shayne Skov and Nick Moody got the starts at the two inside linebacker spots withNaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite held out of the contest.
The first-team defense quickly forced a 3rd-and-9 with consecutive stops to open the series. But on the next snap, Texans starting quarterback Brian Hoyer found tight end Garrett Graham in the left flat for a first down.
Five plays later, the Texans made the 49ers pay for not getting off the field as Hoyer connected with Cecil Shorts III over the middle for a 58-yard touchdown strike. Shorts got behind Moody before splitting two defenders in the secondary on the catch-and-run.
With the new extra-point rule in effect (moving the field goal back to the 15-yard line), the Texans opted to go for two after the score. Hoyer threw a back-shoulder fade to DeAndre Hopkins, who snatched the ball at its highest point despite solid coverage from Shareece Wright.
On the team's first offensive possession of the year, Colin Kaepernick and Co. began backed up at the 5-yard line due to a wedge penalty on the kickoff.
Following a holding penalty on first down, Kaepernick hitAnquan Boldin in stride for a 14-yard pickup and the only completion of the night for the franchise signal-caller.

Moments later, Kaepernick nearly hit a home run with prized free-agent acquisitionTorrey Smith. With a perfect pocket to throw from thanks to the offensive line, the quarterback stepped up and fired the ball deep downfield for the speed wideout. The pass, however, fell a few feet past of the outstretched reach of Smith, who had Texans first-unit defenders Kareem Jackson and Rahim Moore beat on the play.
The drive, Kaepernick’s only action of the night, ended on third down when the quarterback felt pressure, scrambled to the right and threw the ball away to avoid a loss.
Rookie punter Bradley Pinion flipped the field with huge hang time on his first NFL kick, allowing L.J. McCray to tackle the returner at the point of the catch for a 49-yard net punt.
After surrendering a touchdown on the Texans first drive of the night, the 49ers first-team defense bent again with Ryan Mallet replacing Hoyer for Houston’s second possession. But this time around, the unit did not break. Not by a long shot.
The only changes personnel wise from the starters were Eli Harold replacingAhmad Brooks and Mike Purcell taking over for Ian Williams.
The Texans needed just five snaps to march from their own 22-yard line into the red zone. The big play saw Alfred Blue run 32 yards down the left sideline beforeEric Reid tracked him down to save the touchdown. That tackle proved crucial, as it gave the goal-line defense its opportunity to shine.
The Texans ran seven plays from inside the 49ers 3-yard line but failed to punch it into the end zone. Purcell came up clutch several times, mauling Brandon Brooks at the line of scrimmage and wreaking havoc in the backfield. Purcell’s best moment came when he split the A-gap and tackled Blue for a three-yard loss on a snap from the 1-yard line.

The Texans got an extra set of downs when Tramaine Brock was called for a questionable pass interference in the end zone. Still, the 49ers goal-line unit stood strong, stopping the Texans on four consecutive runs from the 1-yard line for a turnover on downs. Reid, Wright, Moody and Skov all were in on the tackle on fourth down.
Taking over in the shadow of his own end zone, backup quarterback Gabbert came out of the gates firing. Gabbert connected with Garrett Celek andVance McDonald, who started in place of Vernon Davis (coach’s decision), on back-to-back plays for a total of 27 yards.
San Francisco’s most explosive play of the game came via Hayne, who broke off his 53-yard run on the next snap, narrowly missing a touchdown as he was tripped up at the Houston 13-yard line. Two plays later, the 49ers got their lone touchdown as Gabbert threw a nice pass to Celek, who slipped a tackle and sped into the end zone for the score. Jerome Simpson set up the touchdown by clearing defenders out of the left side of the field with a cross route.
The drive went 99-yards in seven plays over three minutes and 15 seconds.
Gabbert went on to lead the 49ers to another first-half scoring drive, with Dawson hitting a 37-yard field goal. The key play on that series saw Jerome Simpson haul in a 25-yard catch from Gabbert. The 49ers were held scoreless in the second half with rookie quarterback Dylan Thompson leading the huddle. A Jaelen Strong touchdown, a sack of Thompson in the end zone and two Randy Bullock field goals provided the final score.
The only injury the 49ers endured was Desmond Bishop, who sustained a lower leg strain.