Grading the Eagles season-opening win over Falcons

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles barks out the signals during second half of the 2021 Week 1 NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 12, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-0 after an explosive win over the Atlanta’s Falcons. But just how good did the team look in the matchup?


Contrary to what critics may say, Hurts played brilliantly in the season opener. He was clinical in the pocket, dangerous outside of it, and protected the rock at all times. A hat-trick of touchdowns don’t do his play justice. He wasn’t perfect, but he was everything the Eagles needed him to be and flashed the potential of a true franchise quarterback.

Grade: A-

Running back

Miles Sanders led the way with 74 rushing yards but was complimented by a strong showing from Kenny Gainwell. The rookie proved to be exactly what Sirianni needed out of the backfield, working as both a receiving option and a rusher, scoring two (one negated due to a penalty) touchdowns, and opening things up for the leader of the pack. The two should act as a solid one-two punch this year.

Grade: B+

Offensive line

Jordan Mailata took a man’s soul yesterday afternoon, Jason Kelce was ridiculous as a run-blocker, and Jalen Hurts was able to play a game of Madden while waiting for things to develop in the pocket. It was a strong game by the Eagles’ offensive front, who look to be healthy and back to their very best, which is a dangerous sign for the rest of the league.

Grade: A-

Tight end

Dallas Goedert’s acrobatic catch is worthy of a paragraph all on its own, but I am worried that if he maintains this level of form, that he’ll be dealt before the deadline. Zach Ertz may have only had 34 yards, but he looked 34x better than he did last year.

Side note: Jack Stoll getting in-game reps was really cool to see. Hopefully that trend continues as the team look to make the most out of 13-personnel.

Grade: B

Wide receiver

DeVonta Smith had the debut of dreams, Quez Watkins kickstarted the game with a bang, and Jalen Reagor was able to overcome a rocky offseason to score a touchdown in Atlanta. The trio looked lethal throughout the matchup and were largely reliable. Even JJAW contributed some pretty sizeable blocks!

Grade: B+

Defensive line

Javon Hargrave is finally living up to expectations, Hassan Ridgeway got himself onto the stat sheet after a poor preseason, and we saw some saucy new looks from DC Jonathan Gannon, including fronts with stand-up edge rushers. Sure, Atlanta’s o-line was woeful at the best of times, but everyone from Milton Williams to Fletcher Cox and BG did their part on Sunday to get consistent pressure on Matt Ryan.

Grade: B-


It wasn’t pretty. This was probably the most disappointing area of the team on Sunday, especially after such a strong offseason. Alex Singleton looked solid, but Eric Wilson really struggled in the open field, more so than most when playing the run. Genard Avery looked lost in the new SAM role and it was just a bit of a messy day for the position.

Grade: C-


Darius Slay and Steven Nelson both looked pretty solid outside of allowing a first quarter romp from Calvin Ridley. Kyle Pitts was silenced, Ridley was quiet for 75% of the game, and the secondary really bolted up after a woeful opening drive. There was physicality, confidence, and even a little bit of swagger.

However, Avonte Maddox needs to tidy up his tackling. With Zech McPhearson in the wings and his contract expiring soon, time is running out for the Pitt product.

Grade: B-


Down to two safeties after an early injury, it’s safe to say the position held up well. Anthony Harris carried the majority of the weight, while K’Von Wallace was relatively tame in place of Marcus Epps. Not a bad day at the office, but it was a quiet one.

Grade: C+

Special teams

Jake Elliott didn’t miss a kick, Arryn Siposs might actually be the second coming of Cameron Johnston. The special teams unit did a good job of suffocating Atlanta’s return yardage, which is all you could really ask for.

Grade: B

Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire