Where do we even start? For small stretches, the Eagles showed some good things. For much longer stretches, we saw the bad football team that we've seen for much of the first two weeks of the season. Despite that, the team still had an opportunity to win the game.
On one drive in overtime, the Eagles twice got to the edge of Jake Elliott's field goal range, only to twice commit penalties to push them back out. Somehow, it got worse. After an excellent stand from the defense that included two sacks, the Eagles got the ball back late in overtime with an excellent chance to win the game. They again marched into Elliott FG range, and with the kicker setting up to attempt a game winning 59-yard attempt, Matt Pryor committed yet another penalty. Then, with only 19 seconds on the clock, Doug Pederson basically decided to play for the tie, punting instead of giving Elliott a shot at a 64-yarder. As a result, the Eagles are 0-2-1 on the season. With that, let's dig into the studs and duds of Week 3.
STUD: Darius Slay
They saw one of the best indicators of strong cornerback play is not hearing his name from play-by-play announcers on game day. That was largely the case with Slay on Sunday. The big offseason signing once again spent much of his day showdowing the opponent's best receiver, this time limiting A.J. Green to a quiet five catches for 36 yards. He piled up seven tackles and a pass defensed and continued to make his presence felt.
DUD: Nate Gerry
Gerry lands on the dud list for a second consecutive week. Just like last week, his box score looked good with a team-high eight tackles, and yet once again it was Gerry who was out of position on key play after key play. As one astute observer on Twitter put it..."Nate Gerry is always around the ball...when something bad happens."Gerry is simply in the middle of too many of the defense's breakdowns.
STUD: Greg Ward
The Eagles were already light at receiver with Jalen Reagor hurt and Alshon Jeffery still out. Then, DeSean Jackson went down...again. Ward took advantage and stepped up for the Eagles, piling up eight catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Desperate for anyone to make plays on the offensive side of the ball, Ward was one of the few Eagles to answer the call.
DUD: Carson Wentz
Three weeks into the season, three dud performances by the quarterback. Before we dig in here, we will give a bit of credit. Wentz several times displayed the escape artist act that has made him such a dangerous quarterback in the past. He used his legs to his advantage, several times turning potential sacks into small positive gains, and he rushed for a touchdown. He finished with nine carries for 65 yards and a touchdown.
However, he continued to miss throws, including an egregious miss of Miles Sanders down the sideline that would have been a huge play. In addition, he again threw two bad interceptions. The turnover issue is exacerbated by the fact that the defense is incabalbe of forcing turnovers of their own. Wentz also looked a bit gun-shy at times, and on several instances he pulled the ball down when he seemed to have an open receiver. The bottom line is Wentz hasn't been good enough.
STUD: Miles Sanders
It seemed the only person who could stop Miles Sanders on Sunday was Doug Pederson, which will discuss further shortly. Still, even with his head coach holding him back, Sanders put together another nice game, rushing for 95 yards on 18 carries (5.3 YPC) and adding four catches for 12 yards and it should have been five catches for a whole lot more yards and maybe even a touchdown. When given the opportunity, Sanders put the Eagles ahead of the chains and came up with big plays.
DUD: Doug Pederson
Doug continues to struggle. We'll give some credit for moving Wentz out of the pocket a bit more, but otherwise Pederson came up short. The decision to punt instead of trying the game-winning field goal doesn't make sense, and the three key penalties that ultimately cost the Eagles opportunities to try field goals are indicative of an undiscipled, unfocused team. It's the coach's job to make sure his team is, in fact, disciplined and focused. Meanwhile, the offense continues to be larglely stale and predictible.
Perhaps the biggest indictment of Pederson on Sunday, however, was the Miles Sanders situation. After gaining 41 yards on six carries over the first two drives of the game, Sanders went two straight possessions without even getting a carry. That's inexcusable. Sanders should have ended up with at least 25 carries, and Doug's habit of abandoning the run game, even when it's working (or when it's really the only thing that's working) continues to hurt this football team.
STUD: Defensive line
This group desreves some credit. The Eagles piled up eight sacks on Sunday and only gave up 48 yards on the ground. They held Joe Mixon to just 2.9 yards per carry. Particularly late in the game, the defense (led by the defensive line) stepped up to give the offense another chance to go win the game. Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett each had two sacks while Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat added one each and Malik Jackson chipped in half a sack. The inability of the defense to force turnovers has become a huge problem and the defense hasn't been good enough, but the guys up front did their job on Sunday.
DUD: Corey Clement and Boston Scott
Clement and Scott combined for six rushes and produced 13 yards. With Pederson already limiting the total number of carries, every carry is important, and the guys who aren't named Miles Sanders have to be better than two yards per carry. With the Eagles down so many weapons on offense, it becomes even more important for the role players to step up and produce. The fact that Clement and Scott couldn't contribute anything to an offense that was already struggling hurt the Eagles on Sunday.