Grading the Eagles in narrow week 5 loss to Lions

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The Eagles rallied from an early deficit to come within moments of snatching a victory from the Detroit Lions, but ultimately it was Matthew Stafford and the Lions who walked away with a much needed win. So just how did the Eagles fare in the 24-23 loss?

Quarterback:
Carson Wentz had another sensational game but it’s likely one that’s going to get lost in the noise after the loss. The NDSU star ended the game with 2 touchdowns, 238 passing yards and completed 25/33 passes, also throwing his first interception of the season.

After a wobbly first drive, Wentz showed arguably his finest form of the season so far. Confidence, poise and accuracy were all traits gleaming from the rookie quarterback and traits that helped lead his team back from the brink and into a narrow lead. Wentz looked incredibly strong on Sunday and did everything that the Eagles asked of him for the fourth consecutive game as he continues to surpass expectations.

Grade: B

 

Running back:
Neither lead running back was able to rush for over 50 yards against a Lions Defense that has been less than impressive against the rushing attack thus far. The Ryan Mathews fumble immediately comes to mind when evaluating the position, but ball security has been a flaw of his for quite some time now.

There was much less of a balance against the Lions, with 2 of the rushes coming from Wentz and 3 coming from receivers on sweep plays. Surprisingly, Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner played just one snap each and didn’t carry the football at all despite such an impressive week 3 showing.

It’s clear by this point that the versatility of the unit is yet to be utilized fully and after seeing Pederson finally work all four backs into rotation with huge success against the Steelers, it’s fair to say the unit took a step back against the Lions.

Grade: C-

 

Offensive line:
Wentz may have been sacked three times, but the pass protection was surprisingly good on Sunday. The Eagles O-Line was able to keep a dominant Kerry Hyder at bay for most of the game and give Wentz plenty of time in the pocket for the second consecutive game..which really helped him find a groove after a wobbly opening drive and give him the confidence needed to lead his Offense down a road of success.

Some great double teams, much better instinct and yet another impressive game from Jason Peters helped the Eagles Offense sustain drives and average over five yards per carry on the ground.

Sure, there were some errors along the way..but the Eagles O-line had another strong showing..but will they be able to do the same without Lane Johnson if his appeal is declined?

Grade: B-

 

Receivers:
It was a varied day for the Eagles pass catchers. An emerging Dorial Green-Beckham continued to carve his role into the Offense and Jordan Matthews overcame a quiet first half by ending the game with 65 yards receiving and catching everything thrown his way. The return of Zach Ertz was less impactful than many imagined, but 37 yards on 3 receptions is hardly disappointing and his presence was felt heavily.

However, Nelson Agholor catching just 2 of 7 passes and seemingly lacking effort on the most important pass of the game, matched with drops from the likes of Trey Burton snuffed the spark that the Eagles Offense attained at times.

It was a quiet game by the receivers standards, but the ball was spread around much more evenly..other than Agholor’s seven targets. There’s definitely room to grow..but the corps gave Wentz just enough firepower to help mount a near Eagles comeback.

Grade: C-

 

Defensive line:
Three sacks, plenty of tackles for a loss and seven quarterback hits saw the Eagles Defensive line continue to prove its worth among the leagues elite. The interior duo of Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan drew hoards of attention and predictably allowed the Defensive ends to run rampant.

From a rare Marcus Smith sighting to an electric performance from Vinny Curry, the line was able to thwart the Lions rushing attack after a wobbly first half and force Stafford to extend plays on a consistent basis. The core of the unit continues to strengthen..and it’s scary to think that they’ve played and can play much better.

Grade: B

 

Linebackers:
Bradham’s absence early on left a catastrophic effect on the linebacker corps. Kendricks struggled in coverage and allowed some huge plays while Tulloch found it tough to find his footing. The Eagles gave up points on all three of the Lions opening drives..and when Bradham was inserted into the game, their efficiency sky rocketed.

Hicks and Bradham carried the unit through the second half..but if Bradham were to pick up an injury or a suspension, the rotation options are worrying at best.

Grade: D+

 

Cornerbacks:
From the word go, the Eagles cornerbacks were in trouble. Without a successful pass rush or run Defense early on, the unit ran out of lifelines after three weeks of escaping criticism despite some worrying play. The return of McKelvin certainly took some pressure off, but it didn’t solve everything.

Nolan Carroll was beaten off the line of scrimmage for a big play within a matter of moments, McKelvin re-injured his hamstring which again thrust Jalen Mills onto the stage and Ron Brooks had a relatively quiet game..which is good news.

The unit only batted away one pass and the coverage was hesitant at times..but once again, the cornerbacks are not the main problem here.

I’ll be focusing a lot more heavily on the individual play in tomorrow’s cornerback All-22 analysis, but at a first glance, the unit was simply average. It looked extremely questionable when the support cushion was swiped away but stood on its own too feet during the second half.

Grade: C-

 

Safeties:
Rodney McLeod continues to shine as an Eagle, leading the team in tackles while Malcolm Jenkins could only manage two on the day. Jaylen Watkins had a minor role to play as well but overall, the Eagles Safeties did their job.

The longest reception given up on the day was just 13 yards..which says a lot about the strength of coverage downfield and also enabled McLeod to be dominant in other areas of the game.

The Safeties were one of the bright points in what was a tough pill to swallow..and something that will likely continue in weeks to come.

Grade: B-

 

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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