A closer look at the ballers and fallers in Eagles impressive win over Chargers
There’s no sweeter feeling than a victory Monday. The Eagles stand at 3-1 after an impressive win over the Chargers that saw breakouts from unlikely places. Here is an in-depth look at some of the team’s top performances and some that left a little to be desired.
It would be easy to single out LeGarrette Blount after his dominating 136 yard performance that included two rushes that went for more than 15 yards, but that would be an injustice to the effort by committee. When Blount ran out of steam, the combination of Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement was enough to keep the Chargers on edge and ensure that momentum remained with the Eagles. There was never a drop off in production, only a change of style.
Most impressively, it was the undrafted free agent who was given the ball on the Birds’ final drive, and the underrated free agent who helped secure the win by moving the chains.
The Eagles running backs were simply astounding. Led by a veteran who ran like a man possessed, the unit were responsible for keeping the Chargers Offense on the sidelines in the minutes that mattered most. The Eagles currently have the third ranked rushing unit in the league, and that says a LOT after the struggles in the opening two weeks.
The Eagles quarterback had himself a game. Protecting the ball throughout, Wentz has now thrown three times as many touchdowns as he has interceptions this season. The sophomore signal-caller threw for 242 yards, completing 17/31 passes and spread the ball around the offense with ease.
What stood out most was his confidence in slinging it downfield. Averaging 7.8 yards per attempt, Wentz hit his stride in deep targets to Zach Ertz and company, with four receivers having a longest reception of over 15 yards. This tested a weakened Chargers secondary with some of the most accurate and aggressive play we have seen from Wentz since he stepped into the league.
In a one possession game in the fourth quarter Wentz was surgical with his passes and helped carve the Eagles field position to win the game. This was a big day for Wentz, and one that highlighted just how much potential he has.
Ertz led the Eagles in receiving once again with 81 yards as he continued to build his rapport with Carson Wentz. While he was dangerous through the air making several impressive catches downfield, Ertz really made an impact elsewhere.
Ertz made a HUGE block on THAT LeGarrette Blount run and was a prominent blocker to help open the run all game long. It’s something that has never really been a huge part in the game of the Stanford product, but Ertz showed that while he is almost certainly one of, if not the most productive receiving tight end in the league, that doesn’t mean he can’t help the Eagles offense thrive in other areas.
The Eagles leading tight end is on pace for a career year and despite the offensive makeover, continues to shine as the Eagles most lethal weapon.
After two impressive performances, the rookie teething problems began to push their way to the surface. Douglas was burned twice…and burned badly. While his coverage was sound for the most part, those two mental errors served as painful daggers in the heart of an Eagles Defense that was doing all it could to keep a fuming Phillip Rivers at bay.
There’s a long way to go when it comes to the progress of Rasul Douglas, we knew that coming into this season. Short memory served Douglas well, but this game was very much a “back to reality” wake up call after he took to the NFL like a Duck to water.
The return of Ronald Darby lingers in the distance which should take some of the weight off the shoulders of Douglas moving forward, but there’s no doubting that this game was a little disappointing after how high he soared during his first two starts.
Smith was targeted three times on Sunday, making one catch for 9 yards. That one catch was in a game-deciding spot on 3rd &2, but where Smith struggled was the other two targets. The former Ravens wideout dropped two passes…one of which should have been taken to the house for a touchdown.
Smith has five drops through the opening four games of the season and though the Offense continued to flourish in spite of this, it definitely hurts his future with the Eagles. Mack Hollins has proven he can come out and make a big play, but how long will it be before the Eagles decide to let him run loose for an extended period of time? If Smith’s inconsistencies continue, that scenario may be just around the corner.
The Eagles starting kicker has been sidelined with an injury over the last three weeks. An injury which forced the Birds to dig deep into their research and pluck Jake Elliott from the Bengals practice squad. The stunning 61-yard field goal to propel the Eagles to a win over the Giants may have been regarded by some as a fluke, but it no doubt hurt the stock of Caleb Sturgis. One week later, that kick is a fluke no more.
Elliott was money from all of his field goal attempts on Sunday, and they didn’t exactly come from easy positions either. Elliott connected from 40, 47, 47 and 53 yards out in the win over the Chargers, sending a clear message that he’s here to stay.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports