NFL & Atlanta Falcons

Another Eagles QB goes down, this time Cody Kessler, in preseason win against Jaguars

At this rate, the Eagles will be forced to start Carson Wentz in the traditional preseason finale against the Jets, on Aug. 29, because they won't have any other healthy quarterbacks.

That has no chance of really happening, of course, but the team definitely is trending the wrong way at the most important position, after losing Cody Kessler to a concussion, seven snaps into its 24-10 preseason victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

Wentz's primary backup, Nate Sudfeld, broke his left wrist in the preseason opener. Two meaningless games, two quarterbacks down, which is probably as good an argument as anyone could make in favor of coach Doug Pederson's decision to not play Wentz so far.

Unless Kessler is cleared very quickly, one would expect the Eagles to bring in another quarterback before their Aug. 22 home preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. Before that game they will practice against the Ravens twice next week at the NovaCare Complex.

On the Eagles' first series, Kessler took a brutal blindside hit, just as he threw, from Jacksonville defensive lineman Datone Jones, who came in unblocked from the Eagles' left side. No one obviously missed a block, it just seemed the Eagles had the wrong blocking scheme. Either Kessler or somebody along the backup offensive line probably should have noticed Jones before the snap.

Kessler got up from the hit and was going to stay in the game for third-and-12 from the Jags 42, but the Eagles sideline called timeout and medical personnel escorted Kessler to the sideline, in favor of fifth-round rookie Clayton Thorson.

When the preseason began, it wasn't clear how much game work Thorson would get, working behind Sudfeld and Kessler. But there he was Thursday night, playing nearly the entire game, going 16 for 26 for 175 yards.

Thorson converted a couple of fourth downs, including one that went for the game's first touchdown. He was not to blame for a fourth-quarter interception that intended receiver DeAndre Thompkins juggled and handed to Picasso Nelson.

The fourth-down touchdown play was the Eagles' offensive highlight of the first half. Thorson underthrew a deep ball, on fourth-and-4 from the Jags 38. Wideout and returner Greg Ward, still a solid roster contender in his third Eagles preseason, outjumped rookie safety C.J. Reavis, caught the ball, and turned inside, where he picked up a block from tight end Josh Perkins and scored.

Later in the second quarter, Eagles defensive end Daeshon Hall stripped Jags rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and linebacker Nate Gerry recovered at the Eagles 48, but the offense couldn't do anything with the break.

Just before halftime, Hall got caught celebrating a sack, not realizing the Jags were lining up behind him to spike the ball and stop the clock. He slid – literally slid – back into position just in time. It's unlikely this mollified defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

At halftime, the Eagles held a 7-3 lead. Rookie running back Miles Sanders got five first-quarter carries and was able to show a little of the sharp acceleration that has impressed observers in training camp. He gaining 31 yards before he was removed.

Thorson entered halftime 8 for 16 for 94 yards and the TD to Ward. It was several notches better than his preseason-opening 2 for 9 for 7 yards a week earlier.

Wideout Mack Hollins, who missed the 2018 season with groin injuries, saw his first action of this preseason and caught a 5-yard pass.

In the third quarter, Pederson won his first preseason challenge of 2019. The coach argued successfully that former Rutgers wide receiver Carlton Agudosi got both feet in for a third-down conversion.

Later in the same drive, Pederson made his first challenge under the new rule that allows coaches to ask whether pass interference occurred, when no flag was thrown despite contact from Josh Robinson, on a Thorson ball lofted to Agudosi in the corner of the end zone. Again, Pederson was ruled correct.

The Eagles got a first down at the Jacksonville 1, and Josh Adams powered over the left side, across the goal line, on the next play. The Eagles led 14-3.

On the first snap of the fourth quarter, Jake Elliott hammered home a 52-yard field goal that would have been good from 60, and the Eagles led, 17-3.

The Jags got a TD back, but running back Boston Scott scored the Eagles' final TD at the end of an eight-play, 75-yard drive.

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