The Eagles sent Chicago back home with their tails between their legs. A dominant 31-3 showing showed just how dangerous this team can be, but also presented a flaw or two that had previously not been an issue. It’s time to take a look at the report card for what was an emphatic home victory.
Carson Wentz wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to throw for 3 touchdowns and 227 yards, completing 23/36 passes. When you factor in some wizardry to escape a dead play, Wentz did a fantastic job of making smart decisions with the Football and putting his team in a position to win. Wentz now has 5 games with 3+ passing TDs, which are tied for the 2nd-most such games in Eagles single-season history. If that doesn’t say franchise quarterback, I don’t know what will. The Eagles rode the run towards the end before tailing off to give Nick Foles some late game snaps. Overall, it was the type of performance we have come to expect from one of the league’s rising stars.
Racking up 176 yards is impressive, but fumbling the ball three times is not. Ajayi was lucky his ball was scooped and scored on by Nelson Agholor and aside from that huge run, he was kept silent the entire game. Meanwhile, LeGarrette Blount’s uncharacteristic fumbles caught many off guard. Corey Clement was as impressive as he has been all year and while an average of 5.3 yards per carry is very strong, the ball security setbacks have to be addressed.
Brandon Brooks has allowed one sack since signing with the Eagles…that says all you need to know. Halapoulivaati Vaitai turned in a surprisingly strong performance despite a penalty early on and the Eagles allowed just one sack all game. Paving the way for another explosive rushing game where the backfield amassed 176 yards, the Eagles offensive line can hold their heads high after what may well have been their strongest showing of the season.
Zach Ertz notched his first 100-yard receiving game of the season as he continued his rise to the top of the tight end position rankings. Without Trey Burton, the Eagles relied on Isaac Seumalo as the third tight end, but a valiant blocking effort from Brent Celek and the sophomore guard proved more than enough to help open the run. The Eagles lost some versatility in Burton, but they gained some bodies along the line to help force the run.
Alshon Jeffery’s clinical showing against his former team showed exactly why the Eagles decided to offer him a “prove-it” contract. Two touchdown’s for Nelson Agholor were followed by a pair of receptions for Mack Hollins and a slightly inconsistent game from Torrey Smith. The Eagles activated rookie wideout Shelton Gibson for the first time all season, though he didn’t see a target. The Birds’ receiving group looked as strong as ever, with some brilliant completions from all three of the starters.
Brandon Graham stole the spotlight on Sunday, leading the team in tackles and setting the tone for the rest of his defensive ends. Vinny Curry’s sudden explosion onto the scene was met with a roar cheer from the Philadelphia faithful, as the local town product had a huge tackle for a loss. Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan were just as impressive in the middle as this line gets better and better each and every week. Holding Chicago to a staggeringly low 6 yards says it all. The pressure up front is just ridiculous right now.
Losing Joe Walker hurt the Eagles linebacker group, but they were spearheaded by two more brilliant games from Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks. The duo held strong as their position group was again reduced to its bare bones and the Eagles made the necessary adjustments to ensure that the loss of Walker didn’t chain them down, by adding more defensive backs into the fray. Kamu Grugier-Hill recorded two tackles upon his call to action and Najee Goode followed suit. Kendricks has come on leaps and bounds in coverage this year and Bradham is silently one of the most effective players on the Defense.
There were a few wobbles early on for the Eagles secondary as Trubisky and the Bears took shots down the field, but to keep them out of the end zone completely is an astonishing achievement. The tackling was strong from the very first defensive snaps of the game and even when the team rotated late on with the game sealed, Rasul Douglas had a beautiful interception that was called back before he tipped one to veteran Corey Graham. Add in a Jalen Mills finger-wag and it pretty much sums up the afternoon. Malcolm Jenkins picked off a pass before fumbling, but once again the Eagles secondary were able maintain consistent coverage and for the most part keep plays ahead of them. A few lapses of concentration and silly mistakes would have punished the team if luck had not been on their side early in the proceedings, but the secondary put in a strong effort against Chicago.
Steven Means got phenomenal pressure on an early punt to get in the way of it and with a missed field goal for the Bears haunting them, the Eagles special teams unit did what they do best. Tackle securely, execute when asked in all facets of the game, and provide the team a much needed boost with Jake Elliott back at the helm. It’s hard to forget Kenjon Barner’s brilliant showing of Football IQ by pulling Jaylen Watkins away from a ball that if touched could have been picked up by the Bears. A selfless team who are shining in all areas.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports