Trending Up? Eagles Move Ball at Will, Allow Zero TDs Against Panthers

Trending Up? Eagles Move Ball at Will, Allow Zero TDs Against Panthers

It’s only preseason, and believe me, the Eagles still have plenty of kinks to work out. A pair of turnovers cost the offense an opportunity to jump all over the opponent early, an opponent that may have left the defense off the hook a few times due to their own inefficiency.

When the gun sounded though, Chip Kelly had his first win as an NFL head coach – unofficially of course. While the Birds gave some points away, they were able to move the ball up and down the field with ease, and what they did manage to score was enough for a defense that ultimately did not allow the Carolina Panthers to cross the goal line once. After a very encouraging first half, the backups were able to come in and salt away a 14-9 victory.

Where Thursday’s game was a major departure from the Eagles’ first exhibition last week was defensively. The Patriots may have been able to march right down the field on their opening two possessions, but the Panthers had no such luck, punting the first couple times they saw the ball. That set up Nick Foles to get off to a fast start, and he was looking good dinking and dunking his way down the field.

The second-year quarterback was having some trouble handling the shotgun snaps on his first series however, which would eventually result in a turnover. Foles bobbled another Jason Kelce delivery at Carolina’s 8-yard line, and before he could recover and go through his progressions, the rush was on. He tried to throw the ball away out of the back of the end zone, but couldn’t get enough on it with Greg Hardy draped around his body, his attempt snared by Josh Thomas in the back of the end zone.

Foles shook off the mistake on his second try, leading the Eagles on a five-play scoring drive. He ran the ball in himself on a seven-yard keeper, beating stud linebacker Luke Kuechly to the perimeter.

Vick was up next, and in the midst of moving the offense down the field for another shot at six. This time it was running back Chris Polk – not one of the QBs – with the costly mistake. Polk was stripped by Thomas Davis on an inside run, and Charles Johnson dove on the loose pigskin for the Panthers.

Like Foles before him, Vick was undaunted as well. He got the Eagles right back on the move, first through the air, then with his legs. The 10-year veteran stayed on the attack, setting up LeSean McCoy for an easy one-yard waltz into the end zone.

Foles finished 6-for-8 for 53 yards and the pick, and ran twice for 13 and the TD. Vick was nearly perfect, going 9-for-10 for 105 yards, plus two carries for 20. He did toss an interception on the final play of the half, a hopeless heave as time expired – no harm, no foul. It’s beginning to become clear the latter is the front-runner for the job, although both players have looked more than capable.

In the meantime, the first-team defense had held Carolina to a pair of field goals, and the second string limited them to just one more. For the game, the Panthers managed less than 300 yards from scrimmage. Also telling, they were 4-for-14 on third downs, which means the Birds’ D was getting off the field. Cam Newton undoubtedly missed a few throws, and his offensive line didn’t always hold up in protection, but it was a strong rebound considering where defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ unit was a week ago.

Then again, as we stated heading into the game, the Carolina Panthers are not exactly the New England Patriots.

We’ll get into more in-depth evaluations in the coming days, but on the whole it was a positive experience from almost every angle. We should probably give props to the special teams as well, as they’ve been nothing short of superb through two preseason games. Looking forward to going over this game tape a lot more than last week’s, that’s for sure.

>> BOX SCORE [ESPN]

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook became the first player with five consecutive triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-92 on Sunday night.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. The Thunder have won all five games during Westbrook's triple-double stretch. It was Westbrook's 10th triple-double of the season and the 47th of his career.

Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Victor Oladipo added 15 points for the Thunder.

Anthony Davis, the NBA's leading scorer, had 37 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans. Buddy Hield, who led nearby Oklahoma to the Final Four last season, scored 16 points in his first game back in the state (see full recap).

Rose, Anthony help Knicks hold off Kings
NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony each scored 20 points and the New York Knicks held off the Sacramento Kings 106-98 on Sunday night for their eighth win in 11 games.

The Knicks took a 21-point lead in the first half, gave up 18 consecutive points in the third quarter but outplayed the Kings down the stretch to win their third straight overall and improve to 9-3 at home.

Brandon Jennings added 19 points for New York and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, but shot just 9 for 30 and looked fatigued while struggling late while playing the entire second half (see full recap).

Ibaka's big night leads Magic past Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and blocked four shots, helping the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 98-92 on Sunday night.

Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson made his season debut after missing Detroit's first 21 games with knee tendinitis. He had 18 points in 23 minutes. Marcus Morris led Detroit with 21 points.

Orlando won for the third time in four games while Detroit had its three-game winning streak snapped.

On Jackson's first possession, the Pistons went to their bread-and-butter play -- he and Andre Drummond running a high pick and roll. Jackson came off the screen and hit a 3-pointer, bringing a cheer from the small crowd. Jackson played the first 5:50 of the quarter as Detroit built a 16-10 lead (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Paul Byron scored the clinching goal in the fourth round of the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens avoided a winless swing through California with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who won for just the second time in seven road games. Montreal had only one win in its previous 11 games in California before scoring three times in the four-round shootout.

Alexander Radulov and Andrew Shaw also scored and Carey Price made 27 saves for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who lost for only the second time in eight games. Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots (see full recap).

DeKeyser gives Red Wings OT win over Isles
NEW YORK -- Danny DeKeyser scored 1:02 into overtime to give Detroit a victory over New York.

Mike Green scored twice and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist for Detroit, which improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games. Peter Mrazek stopped 32 shots to improve to 3-0-2 in his past five starts.

Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey scored for New York, which had won a season-high three straight. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves.

Detroit's Frans Nielsen had an assist while facing his former team for the first time since leaving the Islanders for a six-year, $31.5 million deal with the Red Wings last summer. The 32-year-old Danish center was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2002 draft and had 119 goals and 230 assists over 10 seasons in New York (see full recap).

Late goal lifts Jets over Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and Winnipeg edged Chicago.

Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post.

Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the post, to spoil Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month. Panarin completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane, beating Hellebuyck to the glove side.

Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.

Little's power-play goal with 43.4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury (see full recap)