Monday afternoon report card: Grading the Eagles week three win over New York Giants

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It’s strange to think that we’re only one day removed from the heroics of Jake Elliott. The Eagles enter week four with a sense of confidence and potential after a rollercoaster game at the Linc saw the Birds fly high over the New York Giants. In a game of intensity and attrition, it’s time to take a look at shined and who didn’t.

 

Quarterback:
Wentz may not have lit up the stat sheet as he did in the opening two weeks, but he also wasn’t forced to throw an absurd amount of times. What the young quarterback did do however, was play extremely smart. Completing 21/31 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Wentz protected the ball and even though he still misfired on deep shots, Wentz was far more accurate than he was in the opening two weeks, composed inside the pocket and as explosive as ever when forced to scramble. With a game-winning drive on the line, Wentz fired a huge pass to Alshon Jeffery and continued to show signs of becoming the franchise quarterback that the Eagles drafted him to be.


Grade: B+

 

 

Running backs:
After two dismal displays, the Eagles running back corps burst into life in week three as they did one year ago. Combining for 171 yards and two touchdowns, a LeGarrette Blount breakout was supported by a solid effort from the injured Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, while Corey Clement burst onto the scene and scored his first NFL touchdown to top his first offensive drive.

The Offense was finally balanced and a variety of runs kept a struggling Giants Defense on the field and guessing. As the Eagles controlled the clock, the tempo was dictated with it…allowing them to run the Defense down and give Wentz the support he craved in the opening weeks.

Grade: A

 

Offensive Line:
Wentz was only sacked three times and hit a further four, which in comparison to last week is a big improvement. The run-blocking was superior and despite a penalty from Jason Kelce, the Eagles center seemed to have one of his strongest games in recent memory. The thing about offensive linemen is they only stand out on highlight plays or mistakes…if they go under the radar, that’s a good sign.

The only negative was how the team approached the left guard position, turning it into an ever-revolving door that would be walked through by Warmack and Wisniewski, creating a sense of instability moving forward.

Grade: B-

 

Tight End:
Zach Ertz had his third big game in a row, catching 8 of 10 targets for 55 yards, falling second to only Alshon Jeffery in receiving yards. Trey Burton was used in the intermediate passing game and suffered a huge hit after a drop, while Brent Celek’s blocking was invaluable to a line that helped pave the way for a stagnating run game. It was business as usual at one of the most consistent spots on the roster.

Grade: B+

 

Wide receiver:
Alshon Jeffery had a surprisingly quiet outing until he made a play only a number one wide receiver could make with the fate of the game on the line. Jeffery wasn’t perfect, but he came through when the team needed him most. Torrey Smith is still waiting to find that rhythm, while Nelson Agholor had a nice flash early in the game but remained relatively quiet throughout.

On another note, it’s AMAZING the difference a number one wideout can make. We’re so used to seeing traffic forced into the arms of Ertz or Jordan Matthews, that seeing the ball spread around the offense so cleanly and effortlessly almost feels strange, but it’s a welcome change and even though it’s expected, it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Grade: C

 

Defensive Line:
Eli Manning may have escaped the day without a sack, but that’s not to say there wasn’t pressure. The Eagles pass rush was CRUCIAL in forcing the Giants to abandon the run. The visiting divisional rival amassed just 49 yards on 17 carries and even though Manning was surgical from the pocket, that was more down to the gameplan than his arm.

When forced to throw downfield, Manning showed the same tendencies he has for a while. McAdoo did a great job of playing fast and getting the ball out before the pocket could collapse. The Giants O-line is porus, so by having receivers run slants and curls, they were able to replicate what Green Bay did one year ago. That said, the D-Line made life as hard as they possibly could for Manning, which is all you could ask.

Grade: B

 

Linebackers:
The loss of Jordan Hicks hurt the Eagles Defense, but Nigel Bradham stepped up in a huge way, compiling 8 tackles, with Mychal Kendricks picking up 7 of his own. I’m not exactly sure what’s changed in the play of Kendricks, but he has been simply outstanding this season after an electric preseason. His closing speed seems to be back to what it used to be, while his instincts of shooting gaps and ability to wrap up ball carriers made the loss of Hicks hurt a lot less.

Grade: A

 

Secondary:
Before anyone mentions the two OBJ touchdowns given up by Jalen Mills, he was targeted more in one game than any other corner has been all season. On 21 targets, Mills had 12 tackles and kept the play ahead of him most of the time. On the other side, Rasul Douglas had his first career interception against Brandon Marshall and showed no signs to be concerned at all. For a cornerback playing in his second ever NFL game, not only was his effort commendable, it was incredibly impressive. Patrick Robinson hauled in his first pick as an Eagle, playing what may be his best game working out of the slot so far.

At Safety, Malcolm Jenkins came through in the clutch to help draw a PI flag on what was nearly a certain touchdown pass after OBJ blew the top of the Defense off. Chris Maragos filled in for the injured Rodney McLeod and proved he’s far more than just a special teams captain.

Given how battered and bruised this unit is, to come out and hold back an explosive Giants Offense that was in a must-win situation, is extremely impressive. Bend and don’t break is the mentality here. It would be fair to say that Jim Schwartz saved the game at times…and the secondary were a huge part of that.

Grade: B

 

Special teams:
Jake Elliott may have missed his second “gimmie” in as maNY GAMES BUT DID YOU SEE THAT ENDING?! Elliott set Philadelphia ablaze with his longest ever kick. The narrative here is almost Miracle at the Linc worthy and to grade Elliott anything less than an A would be criminal.

As for the rest of the unit, a muffed play on a punt return saw a perfectly placed and bounced ball by Donnie Jones sent for a touchback, while coverages tended to be strong and the return game showed flashes of being dangerous once again.

Grade: A-

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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