Olympic hurdler Devon Allen lined up on the right side of the Eagles’ formation. At the snap, he was gone, a blur.
He made a twisting cut and blew past the Browns’ flailing cornerback, and when the safety stepped up to cover someone else, Allen was wide open.
Third-string quarterback Reid Sinnett threw a long ball over the middle and Allen made an over-the-shoulder catch for a 55-yard touchdown.
There were no Browns defenders in sight.
It was Allen’s first NFL touchdown.
It was Allen’s first NFL catch.
BIG HURDLE TO CROSS
He celebrated appropriately — simulating some hurdling in the end zone. His teammates were joyous, sprinting to the end zone to celebrate.
Allen’s touchdown and Jake Elliott’s extra point were the final points in the Eagles’ 21-20 win at Cleveland.
Allen, 27, hasn’t played football since 2016 at the University of Oregon. His stock shot up with that one play. He isn’t guaranteed a spot on a roster loaded with wide receiving talent.
But Allen has a rare quality: world-class speed. You can’t coach it and it’s hard to defend.
If Allen doesn’t make it with the Eagles, that one play alone might get him a look with another team.
EAGLES’ DEFENSE BURNED
The perception of the Eagles’ roster is depth galore. The starters are solid and playoff-worthy, some are Pro Bowl-likely.
Experts believe the second-stringers are solid, too, that some are only back-ups because of the superior skill of the starters.
The Cleveland Browns’ back-up offense took a bite out of that theory on their first drive in the Eagles’ second preseason game Sunday.
The Browns carved up the Eagles’ second-string defense, moving the football at will to tie the score at 7. The Browns needed eight plays to go 83 yards. They gained 68 yards on six carries.
Eagles rookies Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean were on the field but had little impact on a rampaging Browns offense.
Browns quarterback Josh Dobbs ran 7 yards for the tying touchdown. On the previous play, he scrambled for 36 yards down the left sideline. He completed his only pass for eight yards on the first drive.
SIRIANNI NOT HAPPY
The television broadcast showed Eagles coach Nick Sirianni wearing a scowl after the Browns’ touchdown. He clearly wasn’t pleased.
He was diplomatic in a televised halftime interview.
“It’s been good,” Sirianni said about the first half that saw the Eagles ahead 14-13. “Offensively, we obviously were going up and down the field.
“We got to tighten up a little bit on defense. They went right down [the field].”
ONLY AN EXHIBITION GAME
This is the preseason so you need a disclaimer: THIS IS PRESEASON FOOTBALL. What happened in Cleveland on an overcast Sunday afternoon in August isn’t a barometer of how the Eagles’ season will unfold.
There were no Eagles’ starters on the field — except Cam Jurgens at center — so what you were watching wasn’t the Eagles team you will see on Sept. 11 at Detroit.
Still, you want to see crisp play, smart execution and some success.
What does this mean? Maybe the Eagles’ back-ups aren’t as good as everyone believes. Maybe a reminder that Davis and Dean are rookies and undergoing on-the-job training.
The Eagles’ offense, on the other hand, looked unstoppable in the first half under the guidance of veteran back-up quarterback Gardner Minshew.
The Eagles took a different tact against the Browns than they did against the Jets. In their first drive against the Jets, the Eagles took exclusively to the air.
In their first drive against the Browns, the Eagles ran, ran and ran some more. Boston Scott carried 10 times for 33 yards, including the final yard for the touchdown. He also caught a pass for 11 yards.
The Eagles went 76 yards in 14 plays — short passes and runs, nothing downfield.
Minshew went 4-for-4 for 43 yards on the first drive.
In their second series, Kenny Gainwell was the exclusive running back. He gained 46 yards on 11 carries. In the third series, Jason Huntley gained six yards on five carries.
Minshew was effective, completing 14-of-17 for 142 yards. Although he nearly gave up a 98-yard interception return on a fourth-and-goal but the Browns defender dropped the pass.
Wide receiver Deon Cain had five catches for 66 yards, including a spectacular, twisting grab deep in Browns territory.
Andre Dillard looked strong at left tackle. The former first-round pick has started nine games in two years behind Jason Peters and now Jordan Mailata.
The word in camp was how Dillard reworked his body, got much stronger and improved his game. That looked to be his story Sunday.
For the game, the Eagles’ defense allowed an unacceptable 174 yards on the ground and 229 through the air.
The Eagles’ offense gained 144 rushing and 200 through the air.
The Eagles are 1-1 and play at Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday. Expect more of the same — no starters on field.