PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz has the Philadelphia Eagles on the right track. Robert Griffin III has the Cleveland Browns on the road to nowhere.
Wentz had 278 yards passing and two touchdowns in his NFL debut, a tenacious defense left Griffin hurting and the Eagles beat the Browns 29-10 on Sunday.
Sure, it’s only one game. But, the two teams seem headed in opposite directions.
“This is just one game,” said wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who had one of the TD catches. “This is not the Super Bowl. We have to get ready for Chicago.”
The Eagles (1-0) face the Bears (0-1) on the road next Monday night. The Browns (0-1) host the Ravens (1-0).
RG3 plans to play against Baltimore despite suffering a sprained left shoulder late in the fourth quarter. His mother was so worried she called him during his post-game news conference.
“She’s really concerned about me,” Griffin said. “I’m in pain, but I’ll be OK.”
Josh McCown threw some warmup passes but Griffin stayed in despite the lopsided score.
“He wanted to be back out there,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I thought it was important there for him to be back out there with the guys and finish the game the right way. And he did.”
Griffin was Cleveland’s 25th different starting QB since 1999 and made his first start since end of 2014 season when he was with Washington.
Wentz dazzled in his first game action in one month — he injured his ribs Aug. 11 and missed the last three preseason games. Facing the team that could’ve drafted him, Wentz looked like a potential franchise player. He finished 22 of 37 with a 101.0 passer rating.
“I felt very confident,” Wentz said. “It’s a great first start.”
The Browns were the same old Browns. They’ve lost 12 straight openers.
Here’s some things we learned from Philadelphia’s win over Cleveland:
NOT MISSING SAM: Trading Sam Bradford to Minnesota eight days ago paved the way for Wentz to jump from No. 3 QB to starter. The Eagles certainly didn’t take a step backward by trading away their starter. “I knew he was a good quarterback — a starter,” Eagles LT Jason Peters said. “When Sam got traded, I knew Carson could step up and make plays for us.”
MEDIOCRE NO MORE: The Eagles’ receivers hear a lot of criticism, but they had a strong start. Matthews had seven catches for 114 yards and one TD. Nelson Agholor had four catches for 57 yards and one TD. “It’s a great performance by our receiver,” coach Doug Pederson said. “I’ve got trust in confidence in them.”
HUDDLE UP: Now that Chip Kelly and his up-tempo offense are in San Francisco, the Eagles run a more traditional — and so far successful — offense. Wentz led a 75-yard drive culminated by a 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews on the opening possession. It was the first time the Eagles scored a TD on their first drive of a season since 2008. They didn’t have a first-drive TD until their ninth game in 2015 and didn’t even score a TD in the first quarter until Week 6. “Going down, moving the ball, getting that touchdown right off the bat, was huge for my confidence and was huge for this team’s confidence,” Wentz said.
UNIMPRESSED: The Browns don’t regret their decision to trade the No. 2 pick to the Eagles, not after one game. “So I thought he did some good things and it looked like he had some poise and was able to lead them to victory,” Jackson said. “But again, I thought we had our chances.”
LEARNING CURVE: With 17 rookies on the roster, the Browns are going to experience growing pains. Jackson resorted to trickery on fourth-and-5 on the Browns 41 early in the second quarter. It backfired. Duke Johnson took a direct snap and was stopped for a 6-yard loss. “It was totally my responsibility,” Jackson said. “I thought it put our defense in a tough spot.”
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