Sunday, September 10, 2006

Encouraging First Act For Eagles

HOUSTON -- Even considering the opponent, there were plenty of positives to see in the Eagles' opening 24-10 win over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Houston looked like a Super Bowl contender in the game's first series, and then reverted to appearing more like, well, the Texans, the rest of the game. The Texans scored on a 25-yard TD reception by Eric Moulds to culminate a 10-play, 77-yard drive.
That constituted Houston's major highlight of the day.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb spread the ball around, hitting seven different receivers. McNabb looked confident and didn't panic after getting off to a slow start. Donte' Stallworth showed he could be the deep threat that the Eagles sorely lacked.
Remember, about two weeks ago, people were still talking about Todd Pinkston as the Eagles' chief deep threat. Stallworth is no doubt rejuvenated by being with a playoff contender. He will stretch the field and give others better opportunities.
And the Eagles ran the ball 30 times and even averaged a solid 4.3 yards per carry.
After that opening drive, the Eagles defense played took control. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson used two different defensive lines and both performed admirably.
hosting best running threat was quarterback David Carr, who was running for his life most of the second half.
Now again, this was against a Texans team that went 2-14 last year and will struggle to get to the five-win plateau this season.
Still, it was an encouraging performance, especially as Stallworth continues to digest the playbook. What kind of chemistry will Stallworth and McNabb have after one month, two months, and longer?
Next week the Eagles face a legitimate playoff contender in the New York Giants. That will be a real test, but it doesn't mean the Eagles shouldn't be encouraged by their performance.
A win on the road in the NFL, regardless of the opponent, should never be taken for granted. Especially for a team coming off a 6-10 season.