CHICAGO -- The offense that opened the preseason Friday night for the Eagles will be more dynamic in one month when the regular season begins. The playbook will be more expansive and play-calling more creative, so hysteria about a group that set records one year ago would be premature.
But coach Chip Kelly's offense looked lackluster in its first game appearance. The starters played three uninspiring series, all in the first quarter. Two ended with Nick Foles interceptions. The other ended with a three-and-out. The first-team offense totaled only 44 yards on 13 plays.
The game ended too late for this edition.
Foles' miscues were not the only blemishes from Pro Bowl players. Guard Evan Mathis was twice flagged for holding, while left tackle Jason Peters drew another one. Mathis' first penalty negated a 20-yard pass from Foles to Brent Celek.
The flags were not limited to the offensive line. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who was back in the lineup after missing all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, committed a facemask foul that negated Celek's 13-yard catch.
The Eagles expected a high volume of flags on Friday, and the first quarter proved them right. There were eight combined charged penalties, and that does not include three additional penalties that were declined or offsetting.
Kelly called mostly passing plays with the starters on the field. Running back LeSean McCoy carried only once for no gain, although he had two carries for three yards that were negated by penalties.
New acquisition Darren Sproles replaced McCoy and was featured as a rusher. He rushed three times for 11 yards, including a nice 9-yard scamper, before Foles' second interception.
It was not the entire top offense that is expected to be on the field Sept. 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Riley Cooper sat because of a foot injury, and Jordan Matthews remains behind Brad Smith as the No. 3 wide receiver while adjusting to the NFL.
Matthews, who has excelled during training camp, finished the first half with one catch. The leading receiver was Zach Ertz, who caught four passes for 60 yards and showed why he's the offensive player who could make the biggest leap in 2014. Three of his catches came on passes from backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, who led the Eagles on two second-quarter scoring drives.
Sanchez looked sharp in his Eagles debut. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards in the second quarter and capably handled the tempo of Kelly's offense. Both of Sanchez's scoring drives finished with Matthew Tucker touchdowns.
The other touchdown came on rookie Josh Huff's 102-yard kickoff return. Huff was elevated to the top return duties because Nolan Carroll was absent, and the third-round pick made the most of the role that he might fill this season. The Eagles are intrigued by what Huff can do with the ball in his hands.
Huff's touchdown gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead. The Bears' first-team offense scored one touchdown in two drives against the Eagles' top unit. The Bears feature one of the NFL's top passing offenses, so Jay Cutler's 112.7-passer rating was also an indication of the potential of Chicago's offense. But the lack of a pass rush did not help.
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