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Rebounds in season opener by Ben Simmons, who also scores 19 points

Nothing to be concerned about

Posted by Eric Fisher On August 9

If this game took place four weeks later, there would be cause for concern. However, with the Eagles’ top two quarterbacks, their starting tight end and all of their starting receivers out of action, nobody should be overly concerned with Thursday’s 31-14 loss to the visiting Steelers on Thursday.

Football was back at Lincoln Financial Field, and that’s all that really mattered.

Well, it wasn’t all that mattered. Rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, a second-round draft pick, looked in fine form, catching four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the rookie dropped one pass, but his ability to get open should have Carson Wentz and Nick Foles salivating over the possibility of lining Goedert and Zach Ertz up in the same formation.

The touchdown pass came from Nate Sudfeld, who shook off a bad interception on the Eagles’ first series to complete 10 of 14 passes for 140 yards. Sudfeld threw two touchdown passes, including a beautiful 63-yard deep ball to Shelton Gibson. On the 15-yard touchdown pass to Goedert, Sudfeld stepped up to avoid the rush, patiently rolled to his right, looking like Foles and Wentz for reasons other than stature, and found Goedert open at the goal line.

On the other hand, Sudfeld threw two interceptions. On the second one, though, there seemed to be a miscommunication with receiver Bryce Treggs, so that one may not have been Sudfeld’s fault.

The touchdown pass to Gibson (2 catches, 77 yards), who also did a fine job returning kicks, cut the Steelers’ lead to 15-14. As on the first Eagles’ touchdown, there was a Steelers penalty on the extra point. But the Eagles’ scored on their first 2-point conversion. On this one, after removing the tying point off the board, the Eagles failed to score when Wendell Smallwood was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles never scored again.

On the positive side, Fletcher Cox was dominant during the Eagles’ first defensive series. He roared into the backfield for a sack on second down and then read a screen play, chasing the receiver down from behind, on third down. The first team defense played well.

The starting offensive line was also good. Eagles running backs frequently had big holes to run through. When the Eagles were back up to their own 1-yard line, Jay Ajayi burst through a big hole on the left side for 22 yards. The Eagles’ rushing attack was effective, with rookie Josh Adams making his case for a roster spot with 30 yards on six carries. Corey Clement gained 30 yards on five carries.

Rasul Douglas, battling to remain on the roster at cornerback, had an up-and-down game. He intercepted a pass one play after Sudfeld’s second interception. This shifted the momentum. Three plays later, Sudfeld hooked up with Gibson, Douglas’ teammate at West Virginia, for the 59-yard touchdown at the two-minute warning. On the bad side, Douglas was victimized on two first-half touchdown passes, a 71-yarder to JuJu Smith-Schuster to open the scoring and a 29-yard pass to Damoun Patterson with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.

Isaac Seumalo, trying to stick with the team as a backup center, snapped the ball over the head of back quarterback Joe Callahan and seemed to send some other snaps back without enough zip. Second-year defensive tackle Elijah Qualls also attracted some unwanted attention with two defensive holding calls.

Although Douglas, Seumalo and Qualls might have reason for concern, Thursday’s defeat didn’t give Eagles fans anything serious to worry about.

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