Friday Afternoon report card: Grading Eagles stunning win over Panthers

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The Eagles surprised the world last night with a huge win over Carolina in Thursday Night Football. The officials, the road, the mid-week game…it all stacked against a Philadelphia team who fought to an assertive win over the Panthers. Here’s a closer look at how each position performed in the win that sent the Eagles to 5-1.

 

Quarterback
Carson Wentz may not have been as dominant as he was in the opening five games of the season, but he also spent much of his time being hit by defensive players due to lapses in protection from his offensive line. For Wentz to throw three touchdowns and again not turn the ball over is impressive. His rushing ability and will to win were on full display with some in-your-face moves, but had they backfired then this grade would be different. However, his ability to spread the ball around to just about everybody really stood out here. Sure, there were some plays that he will undoubtedly want back, but Wentz continues to develop at a rapid rate and emerge as one of the NFL’s most exciting young arms.

Grade: B

 

Running backs
The Eagles backfield amassed 76 total rushing yards against a Carolina defense that has been nothing short of strong against the run this season. The problem was that Pederson attacked it at the wrong times and repelled it when the Birds needed to sustain the drive. To make things even more confusing, Pederson rode a struggling Kenjon Barner which essentially wasted downs, whew a 4.8 ypc Blount sat on the sideline. This was far less impressive than the last few weeks worth of rushing, but the Eagles still kept things balanced which is a plus.

Grade: C

 

Offensive line
Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s return to starting action was met with fire from Juluis Peppers and company. Wentz was sacked three times and hit a total of 8. Only 2 of those hits came in the second half. The O-Line had a second half resurgence and as the LG by committee role continues to shakeout, the consistency from Jason Peters kept things afloat. This wasn’t  a perfect game, but it wasn’t horrific by any means.

Grade: C+

 

Tight ends
Zach Ertz and Trey Burton were both factors in the passing game on Thursday night, while Brent Celek was reduced to a blocking role again. This unit continues to be among the most consistent on the team, but the production was a little quieter this time around.

Grade: C+

 

Wide receivers
Alshon Jeffery finally led the Eagles in receiving yards for the first time since joining the team, but more impressively, every wide receiver active on gameday made a reception. That’s a HUGE boost for an Eagles offensive unit that has been beginning to incline from a production standpoint each and every week. Agholor struck again and the likes of Mack Hollins and Marcus Johnson became vital cogs on the outside. This may be the most complete WR performance we’ve seen all season.

Grade: A-

 

Defensive line
Fletcher Cox returned to action and made an impact straight away. Constantly in the face of Cam Newton, Cox helped force the shoddy throw that fell into the lap of Rasul Douglas. Derek Barnett’s penalty was backed up by his first sack as an Eagle and Justin Hamilton even got himself on the sack sheet too. The Eagles front four was ruthless and helped contain the Panthers rushing attack, holding the backs to NINE rushing yards when you take away Cam Newton’s 71-yard total. The depth is strong, the starters are aggressive and the numbers speak for themselves. The Eagles have one of the most formidable D-Lines in the league.

Grade: A

 

Linebackers
The fact that Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks combined for TWENTY SEVEN tackles speaks for itself. Int he absence of Jordan Hicks, the Eagles linebackers came up big and made play after play. Even when Nigel Bradham himself went down, Joe Walker and co made a significant impact. Kendricks was fantastic throughout and for Bradham to return from his injury to finish out a game he started so dominantly with PD’s and huge tackles to show McCaffrey who’s boss just shows tremendous character. This unit stole the show.

Grade: A+

 

Secondary
A trio of picks certainly doesn’t hurt, but it could have been four if Jalen Mills wasn’t flagged for pass interference on a Rodney McLeod pick. The Eagles secondary held the Panthers to 239 passing yards…56 of which came from a certain running back drafted eighth overall. Rasul Douglas flashed his showdown potential early and often, while Jenkins really benefitted from a full and flourishing Safety position. The Eagles secondary played with discipline, overcame disappointing and questionable penalties to hold strong and keep Carolina out of the endzone in clutch situations.

Grade: B

 

Special teams
Jake Elliott was M O N E Y throughout the game, while Donnie Long Ball’s long leg pushed the Eagles out of tight spots on several occasions. Despite the occasional big kick return, the Eagles special teams unit lived up to its reputation.

Grade: B-

 

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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