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 MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

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Photo credit: Ed Mailliard

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

West Chester University baseball is moving on to the 2017 NCAA National Championships.

The Golden Rams won the Division II Atlantic Regional Final on Monday with a 12-7 decision over Winston-Salem State at Russell Diethrick Park.

Sophomore first baseman Jared Melone reached base six times, going 5 for 5 with a walk and four RBIs, while shortstop Nick Ward scored four runs and collected three hits to help West Chester capture its fourth regional title in program history.

Senior right-hander Josh McClain picked up the win in relief with three innings of one-run ball, as the Golden Rams scored five in the eighth inning to win their first regional crown since 2012, the year they won the national championship. 

West Chester is now 40-11 overall and will open national championship tournament play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against North Georgia in Grand Prairie, Texas.

For more details, see below.