By Peter Gleason
Rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox was one of the bright spots yesterday as the Eagles’ secondary was woeful yet again.
They couldn’t cover and they couldn’t tackle.
Maddox made his NFL debut, and he made an impact right away with an interception that led to a field goal just before halftime.
Maddox, the Eagles’ fourth-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh, was used in dime packages yesterday because the Eagles placed starting safety Rodney McLeod on injured reserve the day before.
Corey Graham, typically the extra defensive back in dime, was starting in McLeod’s place.
Maddox intercepted Mariota near midfield and returned the ball to the Titans’ 17 with 26 seconds left. The Eagles ended the half with a field goal.
The Eagles never attempted a pass into the end zone after Maddox’s interception. Wentz’s first pass was a 7-yard completion to Zach Ertz, who got out of bounds, stopping the clock with 18 seconds left.
Wentz threw incomplete on second down, then handed the ball off to Ajayi on third down for a two-yard gain. Jake Elliott then kicked a 26-yard field goal to end the half.
Pederson explained why the Eagles ran the ball on third down rather than throwing into the end zone.
“Get the first down (on the run), burn the timeout, and then have maybe eight seconds to start taking shots at the end zone,” Pederson said.