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Week 3 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 0, Cleveland Browns 5
What you need to know
The Eagles offense was stuck in neutral for most of the game against a rising Cleveland defense. While a few key offensive players were in the lineup for Philadelphia, most of the running backs, Carson Wentz
, Alshon Jeffery
, and Nelson Agholor
were notably not. Wentz is still a question mark for when his 2018 season will begin and this week centered on featuring players fighting for roster spots.
It was a low-scoring affair when the Browns met up the Eagles in the Week 3 of the preseason. The Cleveland starters played for the first half of the game, although starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor
had an injury scare which caused him to miss two offensive series. Taylor landed awkwardly on his left arm after a pass attempt and came up holding his arm while he hurried to the sidelines. Taylor wound up dislocating the pinky on his left hand and was able to return to the contest. The Browns also lost rookie cornerback Denzel Ward to back spasms and Baker Mayfield
had to be checked for a concussion after getting high/lowed on his final pass of the evening. He later cleared the leagueís concussion protocol.
Foles drew the start against the Browns, but showed poorly in the preseason dress rehearsal for Philadelphia. Early in the game everything was a short pass, looking to establish rhythm. Plus, the Browns front seven was dictating the line of scrimmage far more than the struggling Eagles offensive line. Even when protected, Foles was generally a beat late on his throw and lacking drive. Foles should have been intercepted when late on an outside throw to the far side of the field, a chance for an interception. Later, Foles was intercepted twice as he hung a pass to a well coverage DeAndre Carter
deep down the sideline and forcing a pass at the goal line towards Zach Ertz
. Foles’ pocket navigation was a struggle as well, losing a fumble on one occasion and stumbling on a play fake in the end zone for a safety. With Carson Wentz
uncertain to start the season following his 2017 knee injury, Foles did little to elicit confidence after this magical Super Bowl run as the Eagles starter.
Adams saw some action in the second half against the Browns as he fights for a roster spot in the crowded Eagles backfield. For a bigger back, Adams showed quality movement to elude backfield penetration. On two occasions Adams showed power inside, one being a third-and-long conversion. In pass protection, Adams is a work in progress as he lack feel and anchor to shield his defender for long.
With Jay Ajayi
, Corey Clement
, and Darren Sproles
notably out of the lineup, Smallwood drew the start for the Eagles against Cleveland and dominated the snaps in the first half. On a rare carry or two Smallwood showed adequately on inside runs, but generally was brought down immediately by a bigger defender on the interior. Smallwood’s best trait was in space on perimeter runs and when he was able to get to the second level with quality blocking. Smallwood has a slashing style and his power game, at best, is breaking arm tackles when he has an angle to exploit against defenders.
Wallace was high Eagles receiver highest on the projected depth chart to play in the preseason dress rehearsal for the Eagles. While others were featured as they fight for roster spots, Wallace had sparse opportunities. When he was targeted, Wallace was stuffed on a receiver screen and Nick Foles
was intercepted when floating a deep pass toward Wallace in tight double coverage. With Alshon Jeffery
working back from shoulder surgery, Wallace is an important veteran receiver for the Eagles early in the season.
Ertz played a significant amount of snaps against the Browns with most of the other notable skill position players out for the Eagles. Ertz’s routes were primarily inside of 10 yards, but the established veteran showed nice hands on a notable target away from his body. Ertz’s lone touchdown opportunity was a forced pass near the end zone which was intercepted.
Goedert played most of the game in the regular season tune-up against Cleveland. While he saw some snaps in the first half with the starters as the No.2 tight end to Zach Ertz
, Goedert saw more time later in the game. Goedert dropped a low target, but also hauled in one of the better passing plays from Philadelphia all game with a nice full extension in the hole of zone coverage in the fourth quarter. Goedert is on track to see first-team snaps to open his rookie season.
Mayfield wound up entering the game earlier than expected and got to lead the first-team offense on two drives. He looked good out there but the Eagles were resting several starters on their defense. Mayfield continues to be elusive in the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield even when the pass rush is coming. He slipped out of the grasp of several defenders on Thursday evening. In the second half, Mayfield showed excellent arm strength on a cross-field throw to C.J. Board and also showed his accuracy in threading the needle on another pass to Board down the middle of the field. It wasn't a perfect outing for Mayfield as he did fumble once, although the Browns recovered. He simply held onto the ball too long and allowed the defense to get to him. Mayfield's night ended on a down note as he threw an interception on his final pass attempt. The rookie quarterback was high/lowed on the pass, taking a big hit. He was checked for a concussion on the play but was cleared. Mayfield appears to be the No. 2 quarterback ahead of veteran Drew Stanton
Taylor's final stat line looks decent but he failed to lead his team to a touchdown in four tries on 1st-and-goal from the one-yard line. Outside of that, the veteran quarterback took care of the ball and kept his offense moving, for the most part. He was slated to play the entire first half but he left late in the first quarter with a dislocated pinky. He wound up missing two series and returned in the middle of the second quarter. Taylor did come close to passing for a touchdown when he hit tight end David Njoku
for a 10-yard completion. The pass was completed behind the line of scrimmage and Njoku took care of the rest, ultimately getting stopped at the one-yard line. Taylor then targeted Jarvis Landry
three-straight times in the end zone but couldn't connect. Landry was held up by the defense on two of the passes and was campaigning for a pass interference flag but didn't get one. Taylor enters the regular season as the unquestioned starter for the Browns at quarterback.
Chubb operated as the clear backup to Carlos Hyde
yet again in Week 3 of the preseason. He did get one first-team carry when Hyde needed a breather after a long run. Chubb made the most of that rep, picking up a 21-yard gain. The rookie looks powerful when running the ball. On his 21-yard run, Chubb juked and then shed the tackle of the first defender to reach him before turning upfield for the big gain. He returned to the game in the second half but he struggled to find holes with the second-team offensive line.
Hyde looked good as a runner and operated as the team's bellcow for the first half of the game against Philadelphia. He lost one carry to rookie Nick Chubb
, and that was when he needed a breather after he ripped off a 33-yard gain. Hyde is running with power and has proven to be difficult for the first defender to bring down in the preseason. In addition, this is the second-straight preseason game where offensive coordinator Todd Haley opted to feed Hyde often with the first-team. Hyde heads into the season as the team's clear No. 1 running back for early downs.
Johnson has been used sparingly during the preseason. He saw just three carries against the Eagles and has not caught a single pass in his three preseason contests. It appears the Browns are just playing it safe with their pass-catching back, who is one of the best receivers on the team. He will be featured in the passing game more once the regular season begins.
Landry was targeted a whopping 10 times while playing just the first half of the game. Even more important, the veteran receiver drew three-straight end zone targets from quarterback Tyrod Taylor
from Philadelphia's one-yard line. The two weren't able to connect but the chemistry between Taylor and Landry has been excellent this summer. Landry was knocked around by his defender on two of those end zone targets and after each of those two plays appeared to want a pass interference call from the officiating crew. He didn't get one on either instance as the contact was incidental and not enough to warrant a flag. The month-long absence of Josh Gordon
has really allowed Landry to establish himself as the team's No.1 wide receiver in training camp.
Getting the ball to Njoku has been a focal point of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Njoku came close to scoring on a red zone target toward the end of the first quarter. From the 11-yard line, Tyrod Taylor
completed a pass to Njoku behind the line of scrimmage. The big tight end did the rest as he raced toward the goal line. He attempted to leap over a few Eagles into the end zone but was ultimately brought down at the one-yard line. He later caught two straight passes while the Browns were running their hurry-up offense at the end of the first half. Njoku suffered what the team called a minor ankle injury during the game but was able to practice on Sunday, indicating that this is nothing to be concerned over.