The Eagles are fresh off a huge win over Carolina in a game where heroes were made and Superman was dethroned. But who really shined on Thursday Night?
The Eagles linebacker corps:
Nigel Bradham had the game of a lifetime on Thursday night. The former Buffalo Bill was a force to be reckoned with all over the field, showing a tendency to always be around the ball. Bradham ended his day with 10 total tackles and 2 passes defensed. Whether it was chasing down running backs, at the goal-line, blitzing Cam Newton or simply shooting the right gaps at the right time, Bradham was nothing short of outstanding.
When Jordan Hicks went down with injury however, fortunes began to change. Mychal Kendricks was forced onto the field and it looked as if Carolina may begin to build some momentum. Build, they would not. Kendricks racked up a staggering 17 tackles and helped carry a corps that at one stage lacked both Hicks who fell injured, and Bradham who picked up a stinger.
The depth of the corps shined through. After two seasons in which it had always been in doubt, this was a game where the linebackers ran the show…and that’s a HUGE win for the Jim Schwartz Defense.
It’s a learning curve for the rookie cornerback. It was always going to be. But an early pick of a tipped pass may have helped his confidence surge enough to put in a shining performance against some dangerous wideouts.
Douglas hit hard and had 3 passes defensed on the night, helping keep Kelvin Benjamin out of the endzone in clutch situations and added a surprising amount of comfort in the secondary. It was a big night for Douglas, who had his best performance as an Eagle so far.
The Eagles wide receivers:
Yes this was the game where Alshon Jeffery FINALLY broke out to lead the Eagles in receiving. But this was a complete performance from the wideout corps…something that we’re not used to hearing when it comes to the Eagles. From Nelson Agholor’s bursting touchdown, to some big catches from Jeffery and Marcus Johnson, every active wideout caught a pass from Carson Wentz. To make things even more interesting, a total of eight players were on the receiving end of the Football last night in a game where Wentz passed for 209 yards. Make no mistake, this unit is revamped and ready to roll.
For whatever reason, Doug Pederson insisted on giving a very hesitant Kenjon Barner the ball in big situations last night. Blount was averaging 4.8 yards per carry and Corey Clement was nearly invisible…but Barner’s five carries totaled seven yards and seemed to all come at a time when the Eagles needed to sustain a drive. After a huge breakout last week on his return to the Linc, Barner slipped back down the slope when called upon against the Panthers.
Sure, the Eagles may have had some (most) penalties go against them, but two crucial PI calls on Jalen Mills pinned the Eagles back against the wall. The second year corner negated a stunning Rodney McLeod interception that sent the Panthers careering down the field. The Green Goblin crossed universes to pick off Superman later in the game to almost seal the deal and make up for a poor performance in which he was beaten several times, but this wasn’t a strong outing for Mills.
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports