Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews hauled in two touchdowns in the Philadelphia Eagles' 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins in Week 3 of the 2014 NFL regular season on Sept. 21.
Jordan Matthews was one of the sparks in the Philadelphia Eagles' 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins on Sept. 21.
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The Eagles' rookie wide recevier hauled in two touchdowns on Sunday to help boost his team's record to 3-0, per Dave Spadaro of the team's official website:
"Washington's defense had its choices, and none of them were particularly pleasing in the Eagle's NFC East opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. In the end, Washington decided to stack the box and limit the Eagles' running game, and they did that very well, limiting LeSean McCoy (22) and Darren Sproles (20) to a combined 44 rushing yards.
"In the secondary, Washington bracketed tight end Zach Ertz, and left the Philadelphia wide receivers in single coverage. The Eagles won that matchup. Jeremy Maclin had a monster game with eight catches, 154 yards and a touchdown, and rookie Jordan Matthews had eight catches (on nine targets) for 59 yards and a pair of red-zone touchdowns in the breakout game of his first NFL season as Philadelphia rallied to beat Washington, 37-34.
"Matthews had just three receptions in the opening two games, but Sunday was his time to shine. His eight receptions were the most for an Eagles rookie in a single game since tight end Keith Jackson caught 10 on September 11, 1988 against (the) Cincinnati (Bengals).
"'That's like a trivia question,' said Matthews, when told of the history-making day. 'That's too big of a deal. I'm just glad we got the win. All the other things aside, the main thing is that we were able to come out there and got another win. They're getting really close. I know Coach Kelly is losing some hair.'
"Matthews' first touchdown with an 11-yard grab in the back of the end zone to bring the Eagles to within 17-14 in the second quarter, and the second was similar -- an 11-yard catch in the back of the end zone with nine second remaining in the first half that, after Cody Parkey's PAT, put the Eagles ahead at the half, 21-20.
"Favorable matchups helped Matthews. Washington had no choice but to put a linebacker on coverage against Matthews, and it was no contest.
"'The key was Nick Foles in the end zone,' said Matthews. 'He put the ball in the perfect place for me to be able to make good plays on the ball. I got a couple of good matchups against the MIKE (inside linebacker) and he knew to put it up high in the back of the end zone and I couldn't ask for a better position on those throws.'"
Prior to his two-touchdown game against Washington, Matthews was sixth among rookie wide receivers in terms of drop rate on passes, notes The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane:
"It's a small sample of professional games for the wide receiver, but Matthews has had a case of the dropsies before. The web site Rotoworld charted his college plays for the top receivers in this year's draft and Matthews had a 7.69 drop rate on passes that were defined as easily catchable.
"Of the top-ranked receivers heading into the draft, that put him sixth behind Mike Evans (4.29), Sammy Watkins (4.49) Brandin Cooks (.469), Allen Robinson (5.43) and Odell Beckham (6.45), and ahead of Kelvin Benjamin (9.68) and Marqise Lee (12.31).
"During the week of Senior Bowl practices in January, Matthews also struggled to hang onto the ball. He obviously caught many passes over his Vanderbilt career -- a Southeastern Conference record of 262 receptions -- but a great majority of them were screens.
"Monday night against the (Indianapolis) Colts, Matthews dropped passes on a bubble screen and a short out. There was another throw that a scrambling Nick Foles made to the receiver, but it appeared a defender may have knocked it out before Matthews had a chance to secure the ball.
"'It's whatever,' Matthews said about the drops. 'You really can't worry about it anymore. That's not really part of my game becauase I hate dropping the ball. I pride myself on catching everything.'
"Asked about Matthews' drops, coach Chip Kelly noted that the receiver bounced back from his drops in the preseason opener against the (Chicago) Bears.
"'So some of it is just concentration, fingertips, eyes to the catch, make sure you're tucking it away,' Kelly said. 'Little fundamental things but nothing we're concerned about.'
"In the regular-season opener, Matthews caught two passes for 37 yards, but his two other targets would have likely been long completions if Foles hadn't misfired. Like the other Eagles receivers, Matthews had space downfield against the Jaguars' zone but had less room against the Colts' man-to-man defense."
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