Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Bears
Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz got to play under the national spotlight for the first time in his NFL career. The rookie and his teammates looked to remain undefeated at Chicago on Monday Night Football.
Wentz impressed again while the Eagles certainly had some weaknesses at times on both sides of the ball.
However, when the game hung in the balance, the offense and defense combined to deliver the one-two knockout punch.
Here are Grayson's Grades following the 29-14 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Carson Wentz - Wentz looked like anything but a rookie for the second straight week. He looked comfortable in the pocket, delivered the ball under pressure and made some impressive throws. He completed eight of nine passes for 45 yards on the Eagles opening drive that ended with a field goal. On that drive, he completed a big pass on fourth down to move the chains. Wentz hit Jordan Matthews wide open and in stride for a 32 yard gain. He has a pretty solid mental clock and seems to know exactly when to get out of the pocket. The only big negative I have against Wentz is that he takes some big hits and must take better care of his body. Wentz completed 21 of 34 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown.
Doug Pederson - Pederson again scripted a solid set of plays on the first offensive possession. It included a fourth down conversion and ultimately ended with a field goal. He ran nine pass plays on that opening drive showing just how much confidence he has in his rookie quarterback. Pederson went for it on fourth and goal from the one and got the touchdown. He also went for it on fourth down late in the game to help seal the win. Pederson has a great feel for the game and seems to do a good job of making adjustments to exploit the opposing defense.
Ryan Mathews - Mathews only touched the ball ten times, but he was counted on in some big moments and he delivered. Mathews was stuffed at the three yard line and bounced it out with a great second effort to score a touchdown. Mathews finished with nine carries for 32 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Graham - Graham was very active starting the game with a tackle for a loss. He picked up a relentless sack on Jay Cutler in the second quarter when he pushed through a tough block to get the quarterback. Graham added another big tackle for a loss in the third quarter. Graham finished with four tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack.
Fletcher Cox - I feel like a broken record sometimes with Cox's grades, but you cannot look at the stat line and determine whether he had a good game or not. Cox is frequently double-teamed. That allows some of his teammates to make plays. Cox did account for a forced fumble in the fourth quarter that the Eagles recovered. Cox finished with two tackles on top of that forced fumble.
Trey Burton - Burton filled in for the injured Zach Ertz. He looked really good running solid routes and making some key grabs in big moments. One of those key catches occurred with the Eagles at the two yard line when Burton caught a tight end screen pass and scored, It was a really well designed play. Burton grabbed five passes for 49 yards and one touchdown.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz continues to have his guys in the right place at the right time. He shows the ability to make solid adjustments as the game goes on. In each of the first two games, the defense has made some big plays that help finish off the opponent in the second half. That is a credit to his decision to rotate players in and out on the defensive line to allow them to be fresher than their opponent.
Nigel Bradham - Bradham made one of the bigger plays of the game for the Eagles when he made a great catch to pick off a pass and return it all the way back to the two yard line. It was an athletic play. Bradham accounted for that interception along with one tackle. I would like to see him get in on more tackles. Linebackers are expected to make more of those plays.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews had a pretty good stat line, but he did drop a pass that would have led to a huge gain and potentially a touchdown. It was a beautiful throw by Wentz and put in a position that only his receiver could catch. Matthews finished with six receptions for 71 yards.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor made some tough catches in this game where he knew he was going to get popped shortly after catching the ball. However, he dropped at least one pass and possibly two depending on how critical you want to be of those plays. Both of them would have been touchdowns had he hauled them in. Agholor caught four passes for 42 yards. As disappointing as the drops are, he does appear to be making strides in the right direction.
Jalen Mills - Mills got the start at corner in place of the injured Leodis McKelvin. He did a very nice job with the exception of really one Bears possession. Mills missed an open field tackle on Alshon Jeffery that led to a solid gain. He followed that up later on the drive by getting beat on a double-move by Jeffery for a 49 yard gain. Outside of those two plays, Mills had pretty good coverage the rest of the night and did make some nice tackles. Mills was the team leader in tackles with six.
Destiny Vaeao - Backups do not get many chances to have an impact on the game, but Vaeao made his presence felt when he got off the ground after being blocked and made a big sack that forced a fumble. It was an impressive play featuring great hustle to make that play.
Jason Kelce - Unfortunately for offensive linemen, they usually only get singled out for negative plays. Kelce does a good job at center, but he cannot torpedo drives with bad penalties. He was called for a holding penalty on the second play of a third quarter drive and followed that up with a face mask penalty. That killed the drive and gave the Bears some decent field position.