Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Bucs
TAMPA, Fla. - The Philadelphia Eagles arrived in Tampa already missing some of their key starters due to injury. That list grew early in the game against the Buccaneers as multiple offensive players went down. At the same time, the defense allowed a pair of 75-yard touchdowns and the Eagles had to try and claw their way back into the game.
Ultimately, they fell just short as they leave the Sunshine State with a 27-21 loss.
An ugly game deserves ugly grades and that is just what this report card contains. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Zach Ertz - Ertz rebounded from what he called possibly his worst game as a pro by playing much better against Tampa. He led the team in catches and yards finishing with 11 receptions for 94 yards. Ertz was frustrated at one point when he caught a pass and dove for the first down marker on fourth-and-four. His knee hit the ground as he was stretching out showing he did not reach the marker. It was a great effort that ended with the Eagles turning it over on downs.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor continues to be a steady target for this team. He showed off some of his speed on a crossing route to get the corner and pull away from a defensive back en route to a 50-yard gain. The Eagles later scored a touchdown on that drive. He also made an awesome catch in traffic in the corner of the end zone to make sure he had it and got both feet down before going out of bounds. The ball was placed perfectly over a defender's hands by Foles. Agholor hauled in eight passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Fletcher Cox - Cox worked hard in the heat to do his part. He frequently got to Ryan Fitzpatrick and made some things happen for his team. Cox bulled his way through the offensive line to sack Fitzpatrick in the first quarter for a seven-yard loss. Cox led the team with three Quarterback hits. He also had five tackles and that one sack in the game.
Nick Foles - Overall Foles played a much better game than he did in week one. However, I thought he held onto the ball a little too long sometimes and took a couple of unnecessary sacks. Other than that, he did move the ball down the field and even made a perfect throw to Nelson Agholor for a touchdown to make it a one possession game late in the fourth quarter. Foles ended the day completing 35 of 48 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown. He also fumbled a ball when he was hit as he was getting ready to throw. That fumble was recovered by the Bucs.
Corey Clement - Clement carried a little more of the load with Ajayi missing most of the first half due to a back injury. However, with the Eagles behind early they went to the air more often than the ground. Clement did find the end zone when he shot through the hole on the left side and got in for the score from 15 yards away. Ultimately he finished as the leading rusher with six carries for 30 yards and a touchdown. He also added five receptions for 55 yards.
Jay Ajayi - Ajayi fought through a back injury that kept him out for virtually the entire first half. He came back in the second half and scored a touchdown pushing through the line for the score. Ajayi rushed seven times for 23 yards and a touchdown. He also caught one pass for four yards.
Nigel Bradham - Bradham played his first game of the season after sitting out the opener due to a suspension. He played pretty well. Bradham tied for second on the team with eight tackles including a sack, a tackle for a loss and a Quarterback hit.
Doug Pederson - Pederson had to manage this offense with a lot of ammunition missing. It clearly appeared that injuries took their toll on the kinds of plays the Eagles could run. Both Alshon Jeffery and Mike Wallace were missing from the receiving corps for most of the game. Jeffery was already out and Wallace went out in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Pederson did go for it on fourth down multiple times converting almost all of them. The most questionable fourth down call was early in the second half with four yards to go from near midfield and Zach Ertz came up just short of the marker.
Jordan Hicks - Hicks had an up and down game. He was in coverage on a pass completed to O.J. Howard that eventually went for a touchdown. His coverage looked pretty good with the throw appearing to be perfectly placed ahead of Howard. Hicks also had some miscommunication with Rodney McLeod on who was covering Chris Godwin and he was left wide open in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown reception. He did do a nice job of picking up the fumble forced by Malcolm Jenkins and return it a few yards near midfield. Hicks led the team with nine tackles and one fumble recovery.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins appeared to have help coverage on De'Sean Jackson on the opening play of the game but got sucked in on play-action. That left Jackson alone with Jalen Mills and Jackson won that battle for a 75-yard touchdown 11 seconds into the game. Jenkins did go on to make a huge play when he stripped the ball away from Mike Evans to force a fumble that was recovered by Jordan Hicks. Jenkins finished with five tackles and one forced fumble.
Rodney McLeod - McLeod made a big hit on O.J. Howard to force the ball into the air and into the arms of Ronald Darby for an interception. He was also involved in some miscommunication with Hicks on who was covering Chris Godwin and he was left wide open in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard Touchdown reception. McLeod picked up three tackles and one pass successfully defended.
Ronald Darby - Darby was in the right place at the right time to catch an Interception off the hands of O.J. Howard and return it 12 yards. However, Howard had his revenge when he made Darby miss a tackle that went for a 75-yard TD reception. He tried to tackle the big Tight End high and failed. Darby tied for second on the team with eight tackles. It is typically not good when a Defensive Back finished with that many tackles. It indicates too many tackles needed to be made downfield.
Jalen Mills - Mills got beat by De'Sean Jackson for a 75-yard touchdown on the opening play of the game. It looked like he expected help underneath from Malcolm Jenkins and did not get it. Mills recorded five tackles in the game.
Jake Elliott - Kickers are not asked to do much other than not screw the game up. Easy for me to say. But in the NFL, made or missed kicks can almost always decide the game. Elliott missed a 42-yard Field Goal just before the end of the first half. Those three points would have made a big difference at the end of the game with it being a three-point game instead of a six-point deficit.