The Philadelphia Eagles recorded their first touchdown of the season Thursday night on a beautiful bomb from Nate Sudfeld to Marken Michel. The backup quarterback started in place of a resting Carson Wentz and seized his opportunity to the tune of a 75-yard touchdown to the undrafted free agent.
The throw came with 11:35 remaining in the second quarter and gave the Eagles a 10-6 lead over the Titans. Sudfeld dropped back from his own 25-yard line and launched it to Michel who barely had a step on Tennessee cornerback Adoree Jackson. It was a thing of beauty.
Wentz and the majority of Eagles starters rode the pine in the preseason opener. Head coach Doug Pederson put Sudfeld under center from the outset against Tennessee, along with Jordan Howard at running back and a trio of receivers: Charles Johnson, Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Dallas Goedert got the start at tight end, with an offensive line featuring Matt Pryor, Stefen Wisniewski, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata and Ryan Bates. Rookie Miles Sanders mixed in quite a bit with Howard in the backfield.
The Eagles won the coin toss and Donnel Pumphrey Jr. handled the kick-return duties. They endured a three-and-out on their first possession.
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Nate Sudfeld Learning from Nick Foles
Nate Sudfeld has ascended high in his first trip atop the depth chart as Eagles backup quarterback. During his first two seasons in Philadelphia, he had the privilege to sit back and watch from one of the best second fiddles in NFL history, Nick Foles.
Sudfeld, the third-year pro out of Indiana, is expected to start Thursday night’s preseason opener. Make no mistake, he’s ready to grasp the moment.
“You know nothing is ever handed to you,” Sudfeld said back in May. “I’m trying to be the best version of myself, work on my craft. I know if I can become a better player, it will all take care of itself.”
Sudfeld recently talked about what he learned from that other fabled backup quarterback and how that inspired him to perform in the same role.
“What an amazing experience watching him operate for the past couple of years and how he handled it, and how he was able to perform and put it all together, it was really inspiring,” Sudfeld told NBC Sports’ Derrick Gunn. “You know, I’ve said it before, he was unashamedly himself. He was who he was. He knew who he was and he was really good to everyone and he was a great locker room guy, and everyone loved him.”
Sudfeld has gone 20-for-25 in his NFL career for 156 passing yards and one touchdown. However, he has played in nine preseason games and racked up 1,122 yards with eight touchdowns. While it’s easy to draw confidence from Foles’ magical run, it’s even more important for Sudfeld to be himself.
“Nick was just a great resource to learn from, and Carson [Wentz], too,” Sudfeld said. “But I have to be myself.”