Eagles’ Quez Watkins Burns Steelers for Insane TD: WATCH

Quez Watkins

Getty Philadelphia Eagles rookie receiver Quez Watkins threw up the peace sign after scoring his first touchdown.

Quez Watkins was already a lock to make the final 53-man roster. After his 79-yard touchdown romp in the first preseason game on Thursday night, the second-year receiver might be in the mix for a starting spot. Seriously.

Watkins can flat-out fly and drew comparisons to Tyreek Hill from Philadelphia Eagles’ commentator Ross Tucker on the TV broadcast. Backup quarterback Joe Flacco connected with Watkins behind the line of scrimmage and the Southern Miss speedster turned on the afterburners. He was gone immediately and only got faster the further he galloped down the field. The Eagles would eventually lose 24-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That doesn’t matter.

The highlight-reel play from Watkins gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead. Credit tight end Richard Rodgers for a lane-clearing block on the catch. Flacco replaced starter Jalen Hurts late in the first quarter after two series. Hurts’ best throw came on the Eagles’ first possession when he showed pin-point accuracy on an intermediate throw to Dallas Goedert. The fourth-year tight end rumbled 34 yards for the first down.

Hurts finished 3-of-7 for 54 yards and ran once for four yards. Forget the stat line. Hurts looked sharp. He nearly hit Watkins for a 98-yard touchdown strike in the first quarter, missing a touchdown by about two sneaker steps. Flacco was extremely efficient, too. He went 10-of-17 for 178 yards and that epic strike to Watkins. Third-stringer Nick Mullens was at the opposite end of the spectrum: 1-of-4 for four yards and two interceptions. Yikes.

Head coach Nick Sirianni pulled most of his starters after the first quarter. His goal heading into the contest was to evaluate the talent and let the cream rise to the top.

“Again, I mean, we just treat every practice so much like the game that we feel like we’re going to know exactly what’s happening coming out here. We got ideas what’s going to happen,” Sirianni said prior the the preseason opener. “But there are always some people that surprise you when the lights are on.”

Watkins has had a stellar training camp so seeing him excel under the lights wasn’t that surprising. He also opened the contest as the primary return man and took the opening kickoff 23 yards, from the four-yard line to the 27-yard line.

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Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan Headed to Eagles HOF

The team announced that Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas will be inducted into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame during a halftime ceremony on Oct. 14 when the Eagles host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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The offensive line duo – arguably the greatest right tackle and left tackle in franchise history – started a franchise record 134 regular-season games together from 2000-2008. They were the starting tackles in Super Bowl XXXIX and appeared in five NFC Championship Games.

“Tra and Jon gave us every bit of confidence to execute the brand of offensive football we wanted,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “Both durable and consistent, they were perfect complements to each other and gave us a tremendous advantage on the edges. Tra brought incredible athleticism and technical dominance, while Jon gave us the power and nasty disposition we needed.”

Sirianni Takes on Lead Play-Caller Role

Sirianni took on the role as lead play-caller in the preseason opener, but let offensive coordinator Shane Steichen relay the calls into Hurts. The sideline cameras zoomed in on Steichen who appeared to be doing the heavy lifting for most of the night. He was holding the bigger play chart and communicating with all three quarterbacks before every snap.

“I will be the play caller, and then Shane will be the one talking to the quarterback. So I’ll say a number to Shane and Shane will say the number to Jalen if it’s a wristband play, or I’ll say the number to Shane and he’ll read it to Jalen,” Sirianni told reporters earlier this week. We’ve been in that situation before. That’s just so I can talk to other people too and make some notes here. I just think that’s the communication that he hears every day in practice and that’s why we’ll do it like that in the game.”

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