The Eagles enter week 6 with a 4-1 record. That in itself should send shivers down the spines of Eagles fans everywhere…but if it doesn’t, the way they played on Sunday will do just that. Here are grades and analysis for each position after Sunday’s 34-7 win.
Carson Wentz somehow topped last week’s performance and put up his most complete game as an NFL quarterback yet. Completing 21/30 passes for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns, Wentz picked apart the Cardinals defense with a new sense of confidence. He was unbelievably surgical on third down, aggressive and eye-poppingly accurate with his many deep shots down the field (two of which went for touchdowns) and as vocal as ever at the line of scrimmage. Carson Wentz keeps doing Carson Wentz things, and it’s propelling the Eagles offense to new heights.
Considering that the team were without Wendell Smallwood or Darren Sproles, 111 yards of rushing is extremely impressive. LeGarrette Blount is averaging 5.8 yards per carry this season and is ripping through the trenches like a human battering ram. After a hot performance last week, the veteran added another 74 yards on the ground and was backed up by some big runs from Kenjon Barner and Corey Clement. Even as a makeshift committee, the Eagles backfield is pounding away at Defenses that are notoriously good against the run…and it’s just exciting to watch.
The Eagles lost Lane Johnson due to a concussion at halftime and yet somehow kept Wentz upright nearly all game. The O-Line allowed just three hits on their quarterback and the athleticism up front is shining on a weekly basis. Jason Kelce appears to have rekindled his fire as a run-blocker and had a key role to play in the deep bomb to Nelson Agholor, covering two interior linemen. Halapoulivaati Vaitai came in as an emergency tackle and filled in soundly for Lane Johnson, while the rotation at left guard is veering 60/40 in favor of Wisniewski…which is no mean thing. Brandon Brooks was as reliable as ever and overall, this unit put in one of their best performances of the last two years. Low on penalties, high on aggression, high on picking up protections. Just the way we like it.
For the first time this season, all three tight ends registered a reception. Two of them scored touchdowns. Zach Ertz added 61 yards to his total for the season, while the versatile Trey Burton was able to beat Bucannon on a fade route for the touchdown. Brent Celek’s blocking was as important as ever, and for the fifth game in a row this unit was nearly faultless. It’s hard to ignore just how productive the Eagles tight ends have been.
Torrey Smith’s first touchdown as an Eagles? Check. Nelson Agholor flashing first round potential? Check. This was an impressive outing from the Eagles receiving corps that even featured appearances from Marcus Johnson who registered a catch, and Mack Hollins. Drops are no longer plaguing the unit and the Eagles are picking their way through opposing defenses with ease, ranking as the fifth best passing offense in the league. The only downside is that Alshon Jeffery still hasn’t been able to break out as an assertive number one receiver…but his ability to open the offense again has to be appreciated.
The Eagles may have only sacked Carson Palmer twice, but 7 QB hits, a dismal 31 yards rushing allowed and consistent pressure in the backfield did a tremendous amount of damage. The defensive ends from Curry to Barnett were running rampant and this allowed Brandon Graham to feast as he does so often. In absence of Fletcher Cox, Beau Allen, Justin Hamilton and Elijah Qualls all played a part, with Qualls recording his first tackle as a Philadelphia Eagle. This front four is ruthless, even without their prized DT.
Nigel Bradham made a huge run-saving tackle early in the game and went on to lead the team in tackles, while Jordan Hicks continued to be a force in coverage, amassing another four tackles. Michael Kendricks had a smaller role to play this game, but what more could you want from your linebacker group?! They blitzed effectively, were solid in coverage and very rarely made a mistake. That’s EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.
Jalen Mills lined up against one of the league’s most renowned wideouts and contained him with confidence. Two pass breakups and back-to-back big plays early on set the tone for Mills, while Rasul Douglas was able to get in the way of a pass as well as registering three tackles. The big surprise came from Patrick Robinson, who continued his red-hot streak of just shutting down all air-traffic in the No Fly Zone. Robinson knocked three passes down and could have had a pair of interceptions too. His athleticism, instincts and incredible coverage out of the slot transposed to the outside where he was just as impressive.
For the safeties, the case was the same. Corey Graham and Rodney McLeod were called into blitzing situations early and often and came flying through the trenches like something out of Star Wars. Malcolm Jenkins had an extremely solid game with four tackles to his name, but this game to me showed just how much potential lies within the secondary.
The scary part is, we haven’t even seen Sidney Jones yet and are still waiting for the return of Ronald Darby.
Kenjon Barnes’s iconic 76 yard punt return will steal the headlines here, but Jake Elliott was money once again across the board. The Eagles allowed a longest punt return of 22 yards and on the other side of that, Donnie Long Ball lived up to his reputation for what feels like the 573rd time. Oh and did we mention a blocked field goal? It was a great performance all round from Fipp’s unit.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports