BACKUP QUARTERBACKS PUT ON A SHOW IN EAGLES LOSS TO RAVENS
Eagles 40-year-old Josh McCown and Ravens rookie Trace McSorely put on a show before lightning cut short the third preseason game for both teams
There was little to cheer about during last night’s 26-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles didn’t score in the first half.
And when the Birds did mount a bit of a comeback in the second half, mother nature ended the game with 11:54 left in the fourth quarter due to lightning in the area.
The Bird defense – that included many starters - couldn’t stop third string quarterback Trace McSorely from shredding them for 203 passing yards, two touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown and 26 points…all in the first half.
The offense was awful in the first half. Cody Kessler passed for a measly 34 yards in his two first-quarter series. The Eagles rushed the ball 11 times for just 29 yards in the first half.
But newly signed quarterback Josh McCown provided some offensive life, and fun during the time he played, mostly the second and third quarters.
The 40-year-old McCown showed why the Eagles were smart to talk the 17-year veteran out of retirement to become the Eagles backup quarterback for 2019.
McCown was 17 of 24 for 192 yards, two touchdown passes, one sack, no turnovers and a quarterback rating of 122.2. He led the offense to 15 points before giving way to Clayton Thorson, who went three-and out during his brief time on the field.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he was impressed with how McCown commanded the offense after just joining the team at the beginning of the week.
“I thought he did a really good job. He’s a veteran player, obviously,” Pederson said. “The game plan, we just -- I had him just highlight plays he knew in four days and just called off of that. He handled it extremely well, bounced back there in the third quarter and led two touchdown drives and kind of got us back in the game. So, I was obviously pleased with the way he handled himself.”
McCown’s No. 1 target was rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside who caught eight passes for 104 yards including a 34-yard touchdown pass. One of his catches was from Kessler for 18 yards.
McCown talked about his instant chemistry with a player who was just five years old when McCown wads a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals.
"I wish I could tell you it was some magic or something like that, but it was just really him and the coaching that he was getting," McCown said. "His preparedness to play is huge. For a young player, he carries himself the right way and works really hard. To say that I have a rapport with any of these guys after four days, you know I can't take any of the credit for that. It's their work ethic. It's their time spent. I just know from my experience to put the ball in spots. It's a credit to them for being in those spots. Hats off to those guys."
The other backup quarterback, Ravens rookie McSorely, played with the poise and touch of a veteran NFL starter, not a sixth round pick out of Penn State making his first start.
The 6-foot-0, 202 pounder impressed several veteran offensive linemen.
“You can tell that he’s played some big-time college football,” six-year veteran James Hurst said at his locker after the game. “He’s been successful. It’s definitely helped him out. He looks really calm out there, really poised in the huddle early in the game. It was his first time starting but it didn’t really seem like it. I’m really happy for him. That’s the way he’s practiced, He’s been doing a good job for us.”
Hurst was asked if it ridiculous that there were NFL coaches and scouts who wanted McSorely to give safety a try at the combine last spring?
Hurst started to laugh…” Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I think he proved that theory wrong. I think he’s doing a good job playing quarterback.”
The Ravens would seem to have a deep quarterback room with Lamar Jackson as the starter and the oft-injured Robert Griffin III. Hurst was asked that asset, having just played the Eagles, the team that proved how a team can have success even after the starting quarterback is lost.
“Absolutely, it is,” Hurst said. “Everything goes through the quarterback. They touch the ball every single play. The NFL is a quarterback league and just having guys like that being a backup and excelling like that. I’m really proud of him, really happy with the way he played. I’m sue he’s happy too. It’s exciting for a young player to come out and perform like that.”
McSorely talked about his performance Thursday night.
“I thought it was a good night just being able to come out and move the ball efficiently, take care of the football and play winning football. That was just the goal. I talked with [offensive coordinator] Coach [Greg] Roman and [head coach John] Harbaugh to just get back to play winning football, protect the football, and being efficient. We were able to score points and put points on the board so I think it was a good outing.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii