PHILADELPHIA — No fullback, no third tight end, no problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.
All they did before Sunday's 29-10 season-opening victory over the Cleveland Browns was turn to their enormous backup defensive tackle, 330-pound Beau Allen, and ask if he was up for some double duty.
Allen was installed on a third-down play late in the game to be the lead blocker for Ryan Mathews down at the goal line, and he delivered, smothering poor 210-pound Browns safety Ibraheim Campbell to help clear the way for the game's final touchdown.
"It was a lot of fun," Allen said. "They approached me about it. I think Coach [Doug Pederson] has done it before in Kansas City with Dantari Poe as the lead blocker on the goal line, stuff like that, so I got my opportunity today and it was great. We'll see if that continues throughout the season.
"But that was an absolute blast. I never thought I'd be able to say I played fullback in an NFL game. I can check that one off the bucket list."
So what's next? An actual carry?
Let's not put the cart ahead of the horse," Allen joked.
Utilizing Allen in that situation was an improvisation by Pederson, who had hoped tight end Chris Pantale would make the team as a fourth tight end and double as the fullback. Pantale didn't make it, though, and then two days before the game, they lost another potential option when No. 3 tight end Trey Burton was felled by a calf injury.
Burton's injury actually forced the Eagles to re-sign linebacker Najee Goode on Saturday.
The team likely had intended to bring back Goode, who did not survive the final roster cuts, after the opener to save money because he's a vested veteran and his salary would be guaranteed if he's on the roster on opening day.
But with Burton going down, the staff obviously felt the void he left on special teams would be too great for them to fill without bringing Goode back ahead of schedule.
Century mark: Wide receiver Jordan Matthews led the Eagles with seven receptions for 114 yards. He's produced 100-plus receiving yards in three of his last four games and 50-plus receiving yards and a TD in four straight games. That's the longest streak by an Eagle since Terrell Owens in 2004.
This, despite two drops that left Matthews feeling less than satisfied.
"It was an all right day," he said. "I don't really dwell on any of the negatives or anything like that. It's all stuff that you learn from, but like you said, you don't take losses if you learn from them. So I just have to put it behind me and keep playing."
Mind-boggling start: Of all the great things Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz did in directing his team to a victory in the first game, the end result of his first series, which resulted in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Matthews, might have been most impressive.
Incredibly, it was the first time the Eagles scored a TD on a season-opening drive since 2008.
It's a numbers game: One reason the defense played so well is that the offense controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes, ending with a 39:20 to 20:40 advantage in time of possession. … Darren Sproles, who totaled 59 yards on four punt returns, surpassed Bosh Pritchard (975) for the fifth-most punt return yards (1,011) in team history. … Fletcher Cox has recorded at least one sack in four of his five season openers. … The Eagles ran 73 offensive plays with a pass-run ratio of 41-32. Wentz was sacked twice and scrambled for gains two other times, which is why he actually attempted ony 37 passes.
Quote of the day: "The best thing about Coach Pederson is just his authenticity. He's played the game and not only has he played the game, but he's been in our shoes. And when I say 'our shoes,' he's played in the city of Philadelphia. Playing in the city of Philadelphia, it's not like any other sports state. When they're playing football in here, it maximizes that much more. So he's been in those trenches before. When I see him, it's not even as much as I see a coach, it's like 'Yo Pops, I got you.' That's a blood brother right there, no different from those guys in the locker room. Sometimes Coach Pederson doesn't even have to say much. We already feel that family vibe from him, so we just really want to go out there and win for him. I feel like that's his best asset. I felt like he called a great game." — wide receiver Jordan Matthews.