The Eagles were able to cling on to a lead that almost slipped away against the Colts, but who really shined at Lincoln Financial Field? Here are this weeks grades and analysis.
Carson Wentz was back to his wizarding ways on Sunday, but there was some inevitable rust to shake off. Two poor decisions led to key turnovers that gave a Colts offense a sign of life. Converting just 16% of their third down attempts, this game should’ve been buried much sooner but those turnovers gave out a lifeline that the defense ripped away. Wentz had some remarkable moments and the rust is bound to take a little while to shake off given it’s his first taste of an NFL game in 9 months. This was a huge positive for Wentz and the Eagles.
In a game where depth once again alluded the unit, the running backs came out swinging. Wendell Smallwood showed a strange amount of versathttps://phillysportsnetwork.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wpseo_dashboardility and averaged a whopping 5.8 yards per carry. Josh Adams averaged 5 yards per carry in his NFL debut and Corey Clement performed as expected, despite being less than 100%. This was a statement game for a group that had heard nothing but concern and criticism over the last seven days.
The best offensive front in football had one job; protect Carson Wentz. Allowing 5 sacks and 8 QB hits probably wasn’t the best example of that. They did a fantastic job in the run as normal, but pass-protection seemed to lack and discipline along the line with flags being thrown all over the place stung some key drives.
Peele’s group was simply exceptional on Sunday. Goedert and Ertz both received for 73-yards, while the presence of Josh Perkins helped take attention off of Nelson Agholor when lined up outside. It’s clear Pederson’s plan to get around his lack of wideouts is to use his talented tight ends, just as it always should’ve been…but more on that in a Film room piece!
The Linc roared in unison with Jordan Matthews after his first reception, but he was never going to have a huge impact after only just signing with the team. In fact, only Nelson Agholor and Matthews caught passes, highlighting the lack of depth at the position. It’a tough to grade as Agholor has been carrying the unit so elegantly, but there’s a lot of work to be done yet.
The criticism around the D-line this week is that pressure seemed to dry up entering the second half, but that’s not a knock on the line as much as it is a compliment on Reich’s halftime adjustment to a defense he knows all too well. Barnett had the game of his life and Fletcher Cox did what Fletcher Cox does. The Eagles allowed less than 35 rushing yards to running backs which is just staggering and held Luck to his worst performance since 2014. Put some respek on their name.
Jordan Hicks continues to breakout in his contract year, which is a blessing and a curse for Roseman. Leading the team in tackles again, Hicks was supported by Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill who have been integral to the run defense machine this season. Another quiet game is a sign of big things from a unit silencing any offense that stands in front of them.
Sidney Jones is rapidly becoming a dominant slot cornerback and Jalen Mills bounced back in a big way if not for two damaging PI calls, allowing just 3 TY Hilton receptions all game long. Ronald Darby had a solid day in coverage despite a few errors, but the corners showed a big sign of improvement both in confidence and aggression which reflected in their play.
Rodney McLeod is having a huge year so going down with injury had fans rightfully a little worried. Corey Graham made two massive plays when filling in for the injured former Ram and Malcolm Jenkins was as good as Malcolm Jenkins always is. A strong day for the last line of defense.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports