Eagles dust off Mathews, grind out win over Falcons

By | December 21, 2017

The Patriots running back became the first player in NFL postseason history to score a touchdown in three different ways — kickoff, reception, rush — and generally looked like a nightmare X-factor in New England’s 34-16 win over the Houston Texans.

Lewis’ career started as a 2011 fifth-round draft choice of the Eagles before he was traded to the Browns in 2013 for linebacker Emmanuel Acho. After Lewis’ breakout performance on Saturday, Acho took to Twitter to ruminate.

Second-year Giants star Landon Collins continues to rival Arizona’s Tony Jefferson as the premier playmaking box safety in the league. In addition to a game-high 12 tackles, Collins added an interception and a sack, augmenting his already strong Pro Bowl case.

After failing to pull off a deadline trade for a proven deep threat such as San Francisco’s Torrey Smith, the Eagles opted to audition former Cal speedster Bryce Treggs in the role. The undrafted rookie hauled in a 58-yard bomb off play-action and was targeted deep down the sideline in the fourth quarter. Expect him to be utilized as a situational downfield threat going forward.

The Jaguars are picking in the top five for the sixth consecutive year. Their last first four top picks have been a mixed bag: Jalen Ramsey has been outstanding, while Dante Fowler, Blake Bortles and Luke Joeckel haven’t quite lived up to where they were selected. It sounds like they are committed to Bortles. They should focus in this draft on surrounding him with more support along the offensive line and potentially at running back.

The Chargers have a new head coach (Anthony Lynn) and a bunch of needs to fill on the roster. They nailed their top pick last season (Joey Bosa), but they need to do the same thing again this spring. Philip Rivers doesn’t have many prime years left in his career — they need to give him more weapons in the passing game and upgrade the offensive line.

Credit Doug Pederson with astute game management late in a tight contest. Mathews’ two-point conversion gave the Eagles a six-point lead with just under seven minutes remaining. Pederson then opted to play it relatively safe with a 48-yard Caleb Sturgis field-goal attempt on fourth-and-1, extending Philadelphia’s lead to two scores — thus preventing another cardiac comeback attempt from Ryan. Regardless of the tight race in their own division, the Eagles are right in thick of a wide-open NFC wild-card picture.

Breaking out with authority in his second season, Falcons edge rusher Vic Beasley has flashed a lightning-quick first step reminiscent of Von Miller’s in Denver. With two more sacks and a forced fumble on Sunday, Beasley is up to 9.5 QB takedowns on the season — behind only the 10 of Lorenzo Alexander and Dee Ford.

After all, it was only a year ago that the current No. 1 seed in the NFC, the 13-3 Dallas Cowboys, were licking their wounds following a four-win campaign and last-place finish in the NFC East. They were our No. 1 pick to make the jump from worst in their division to first in 2016.

Who’s going to make such a leap in 2017? Below are the last-place finishers from each division, ranked according to their chances to vault to the top of the heap by next January.

ESPN’s Tim McManus reported last week that Cox stayed away “to spend the week with his family,” a decision that might not please Eagles fans — but, again, these workouts are technically a voluntary exercise.

Bottom line: It’s the end of May. Cox and the rest of the NFL’s players have plenty of time to get into prime shape for training camp. With no bad blood between the Eagles and their star lineman, this should be the last we hear of it.