Matthews, the rookie out of Vanderbilt and the cousin of the G.O.A.T., Jerry Rice, broke out in Week 3 with eight catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets for the Eagles. His two scores really utilized his size and speed running out of the tight slot in Chip Kelly’s offense.
His first was a classic play-action seam route. The fake inside handoff to Darren Sproles sucked the linebackers up and in toward the line of scrimmage, and Matthews was able to run a little seam route into the end zone. This was an easy read and easy score for quarterback Nick Foles.
Matthews’ second touchdown was significantly higher degree of difficulty for both quarterback and receiver. Matthews runs a route right up the hashes and again gets a linebacker on him in coverage. He makes a quick inside juke before heading to the back of the end zone, and as soon as Foles sees that linebacker turn his back to trail, he pulls the trigger on the throw.
A lot of credit to Foles here for putting the pass right where it needed to be: right above the linebacker’s head and inside of the now-pursuing safety. Matthews’ height and catch radius comes into play, as Foles can trust that his big redzone target will come down with a higher pass. Matthews makes the catch in traffic, and gets two feet inbounds.
Bortles playing in relief at home against the Colts defense is much different than Bridgewater taking over on the road in New Orleans against Rob Ryan’s defense.
I also felt like he was afraid to take shots down the field at times. He missed at least two opportunities for touchdown passes by not pushing the ball deep. Once, he was under a little pressure when his tight end Kyle Rudolph was open on an out route from the slot to score. The other time, he chose to throw short even though Greg Jennings had inside leverage on his man up the seam with nothing but green grass in front of him. I would never want my quarterback to throw the ball up willy-nilly just for the hell of it, but no quarterback is going to get as much as he should out of the talent around him if he is afraid to take a few chances.