With the Offense graded from todays win, it’s time to move onto the Defense and special teams. The Eagles did everything they could to halt one of the biggest surpises of 2015 in Tyrod Taylor and of course former Eagle LeSean McCoy..but how did they do?
Defensive Line: A
One word sums up the Defensive line tonight…pressure. With two tackles for a loss, a sack and eight combined tackles..Fletcher Cox alone dominated from the get go. With Vinny Curry showing leadership breaking down the huddle whilst Thornton and Logan did a great job in ensuring Shady was forced to bounce around by closing every hole as soon as it opened, the Line was spectacular today.
Much better performances from Connor Barwin and co helped the Eagles put a constant threat on Taylor and the backfield. Not to mention that it was linebacker Bryan Braman who recovered the punt! Alonso was still very shaky and towards the end of the game over-ran a crucial play that lead to a rushing touchdown but with Kendricks 8 tackles and even Graham’s involvement..as a whole this unit played very well.
This is where things get a little messy. Byron Maxwell was constantly beaten by Sammy Watkins (surprise surprise) but did actually make some tasteful plays. This led to Davis…get ready for it ACTUALLY ADJUSTING
and moving Rowe to cover Watkins. This move saw arguably the best performance of Rowe’s career. The rookie was unphased by the physicality of Watkins and constantly made sure he was not a valid target. 4 tackles and a pass deflection topped off his night.
Malcolm Jenkins was a one man McCoy stopping machine en-route to tying for the team lead in tackles..as soon as you saw him set the edge..you knew McCoy would not rush for more than a few yards.
Thurmond was a little quieter than usual but still was almost faultless and of course..the man who sealed the win was safety Ed Reynolds who saved a sub par performance with one big play.
The Secondary was by no means perfect and there were some minor flaws..but overall, the beast in the east made quite the return.