The Eagles were the superior team Sunday in a 29-10 win against the Browns, and it was evident the minute the two teams took the field.
Regardless of the level of talent Cleveland brought to the table, Hue Jackson was outcoached, out prepared and out maneuvered.
The Carson Wentz era burst onto the scene thanks in large part to execution. But the crash course Doug Pederson gave Wentz in the week leading up to the game was downright remarkable and certainly led to the rookie's success.
By the time the first drive concluded — a march that went 75-yards and saw Wentz hit Jordan Matthews with a deep touchdown strike — the script had been acted to perfection.
“Going into a game, I'll script 30 plays that are first and second down thoughts," Pederson said. "And then once you get past that, it's — as a play caller you're continuing to script plays. I have these cards on the sideline that I continue to put drives together and plays together based on the information that not only are we getting from the defense, but from the coaches upstairs and on the sideline. You're constantly putting drives together, so you never get stuck. You never want to be in a position to not have a finger on a call. And so you're constantly using about four or five of these cards throughout the game and continuing to script plays even throughout the game.”
The constant planning ahead allowed Pederson to focus on the game. He didn't waste time-outs — a criticism he received in Kansas City and Andy Reid, his mentor, heard constantly.
A great deal of success comes from a team playing like a team, and communicating like a team. According to Pederson, the coaching staff and players were chatting the entire time, helping one another to make decisions and execute properly.
"I'm always listening to the players, whether the offensive line is telling me we need to keep running the football, we got these guys or the quarterback, in this case Carson, is seeing something defensively. It's great to kind of take all that information in."
Pederson was able to watch the game and make rational, quick and well-prepared decisions. And that's why the Eagles looked so good Sunday. His best decision came in the third quarter, deciding to go for it on a fourth-and-4.
"Where we were at the 40-yard line, fourth-and-4, to me … It was a five-point game at the time," Pederson said. "I felt like we were moving the ball and right there, if you punt … You are outside of field-goal range, so you can't kick the field goal. If you punt the ball, the chances of it going in the end zone and having a touchback, comes back out. You are only, what are you gaining? About 15 yards. And if you don't make it, OK, the defense is playing well, they get the ball at the 40-yard line and let's go play."
Sound logic. Rarely heard in NFL press conferences these days.
Pederson tried to keep the burden off of Wentz, who threw 37 passes but also was greatly aided by a run game that took some pressure off.
"I mean, 133 yards, at the same time it was very close to even being better than that," Pederson said of the ground game.