The Eagles bounced back in a big way on Thursday night, dominating the Giants in a 34-13 win. The team will get a welcome break before hosting the Panthers on October 21. Let’s jump right into the grades.
The numbers speak for themselves: 26/36 for 278 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 122.2 quarterback rating. What else can you ask for? Carson Wentz was stellar and continues to look better and better each week. He again extended plays with his legs and made some impressive throws. We talked about it earlier this week: this guy is an absolute stud and he continues to demonstrate it on a weekly basis.
Running Backs: B
At first glance, the numbers don’t look overwhelming: 29 carries for 94 yards. But Corey Clement found the end zone, and more importantly the running game helped the offense stay ahead of the chains. In addition, the backs provided enough of a threat to help play action be effective. The numbers weren’t glamorous, but the backs played their part in an effective offense that helped the Eagles dominate the game.
Wide Receivers: A
I’ve been tough on the wideouts this year, and today I’ll give them their due. The unit as a whole finally stepped up and had an impact on the game. Alshon Jeffery was fantastic with eight catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Matthews had two huge third down receptions, and Nelson Agholor made an impressive heads up play while contributing three catches for 91 yards. As a unit the receivers produced 14 catches for 202 yards, with four different wideouts catching a pass.
Tight Ends: B+
Zach Ertz continued his remarkable season, grabbing seven catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Dallas Goedert added one catch for seven yards. The unit didn’t produce the big yardage numbers we’ve seen from them so far this season, but a big part of that is due to their friends on the outside helping out. The tight ends continued to be effective and to be a strength on this team.
Offensive Line: B
The line was far from perfect, but there was some improvement. Carson Wentz was sacked only once and was hit just five times. Considering both tackles were dealing with injuries, the performance was acceptable. The interior of the line played well. There’s still room for improvement, but Thursday was a step in the right direction.
Defensive Line: B
The only thing keeping this group from getting an “A” is the fact that Saquon Barkley rushed for 130 yards and averaged 10 yards per carry. Granted 50 of those yards came on a single carry, and the Eagles are far from the only defense to struggle to contain the electric running back.
Otherwise the unit was solid, piling up 20 tackles and three tackles for loss. In addition, they bothered Eli Manning all night long, netting three sacks and getting 12 hits on the Giants QB. Fletcher Cox continued to be a beast, Michael Bennett made his presence felt, Derek Barnett was effective, and Treyvon Hester and Destiny Vaeao even contributed.
Just like the defensive line, the linebackers get docked for struggling to contain Barkley and also for some tackling issues. But overall the unit played well, compiling 17 tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB hit, one sack, three passes defended and an interception. I’ve knocked the group for a failure to make impact plays, and they did that on Thursday night, particularly when Jordan Hicks and Kamu Grugier-Hill combined for a deflected pass and interception. A very solid outing from this group.
The secondary had some tackling issues of their own but played infinitely better than they have up to this point. The group had six passes defended, with Ronald Darby knocking away four passes on his own. The unit, in particular Darby, did an excellent job limiting Odell Beckham Jr., holding him to six catches for 44 yards and a long of 12. The Giants wideouts combined for 12 catches for 133 yards. They failed to reach the end zone. Cody Latimer had a long of 39 and Sterling Shepard had a long of 20, but outside of those and a couple explosive plays from Barkley, the Eagles did a better job of limiting big plays and mitigated the impact of the bigger plays they did allow. For a unit that has been struggling, this group stepped up Thursday night and deserves credit.
Special Teams: A-
Jake Elliott missed a long field goal but hit two shorter ones and was a perfect 4/4 on extra points. Cameron Johnston put two of his five punts inside the 20 and averaged 48 yards per kick. DeAndre Carter provided a spark in the return game, particularly on punts. He had five punt returns for 47 yards, including a 23 yarder. He looked slippery and tough in that role. He also returned to kickoffs for 34 yards and could have had more if he hadn’t gone a little too fast for his own good and run right into a defender as he tried to decide which way to go. Meanwhile Odell Beckham had three punt returns for zero net yards.
Let’s start off by saying that Doug Pederson bounced back nicely after a rough performance against the Vikings. He was again a bit too pass-heavy early in the game and that’s why he’s not getting an “A” for Thursday night. Eventually the offense balanced out, unlike the last few weeks, which is a positive. He helped the offense get into a real rhythm. I liked seeing more of Ertz and Goedert on the field together, something that the Eagles can exploit to create matchup problems. Most importantly, he had the team ready to play from the opening kickoff and they were much more disciplined. A nice response from Doug after Week 5.
The offense was in rhythm and converted both on third downs and in the red zone. The defense played cohesively, allowing the individual units to play off each other. The Eagles were ready to play from the start and put together by far their most complete effort of the season. In desperate need of a performance like this, the Eagles delivered and now have something to build from.