Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Giants
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles were given a rare early season opportunity to deliver a nearly fatal blow to a division opponent. The Eagles welcomed the New York Giants to Lincoln Financial Field for their home opener and sent them home with a devastating 27-24 loss.
This was one of the craziest games at the Linc in some time. The Eagles blew a 14-0 lead and allowed the Giants to score 21 unanswered points. Tied at 27 with one second left, Jake Elliott took the field and booted a franchise record 61-yard field goal to win the game.
The dramatic win elevated the Eagles to 2-1 with both of their wins coming against division opponents. It was an ugly game at times and ugly games can lead to some ugly grades.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Jake Elliott - Anytime you drill a 61-yard field goal to beat a division opponent, you are guaranteed to get an 'A'. In just his second game since the Eagles plucked Elliott from the Bengals practice squad, he certainly made his name known in this city. Elliott had a good game with his only miss coming from 52 yards out. He made a 46 yarder as well as the franchise record from 61 yards out to win the game.
LeGarrette Blount - Blount played this game like he had a chip on his shoulder. Lane Johnson admitted to me that Blount looked like a guy who had something to prove. He got just one touch last week against the Chiefs and that was a reception for no gain. Blount never got a carry. That was not the case in this game. He got the rock and ran with an attitude. Blount got five carries for 33 yards and a touchdown on an 18-play drive that covered 90 yards. He ultimately finished with 71 yards on 12 carries. Blount averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Those numbers seem like something that should continue to be explored in the future.
Wendell Smallwood - Smallwood had one of his best games as an Eagle. Like Blount, he was given an opportunity to get a feel for the game and build off his carries. Smallwood racked up 67 yards on 12 carries. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry. One of the more positive signs from Smallwood was that he picked up some blocks in pass protection, which is an area he needs to continue to improve.
Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks had a great preseason and has carried that into the regular season. His playing time has been on the rise and skyrocketed when Jordan Hicks went out with an ankle injury in this game. Kendricks made some big plays. He defended two passes and tipped one high into the air resulting in an interception by Patrick Robinson. Kendricks finished third on the team with seven tackles including those two passes defensed.
Carson Wentz - Wentz did not look as sharp as he has in other games. The Giants defensive line had something to say about that. Wentz did have some opportunities and misfired on some of them. He overshot Alshon Jeffery on a deep ball when Jeffery had a couple of steps on the defender. That would have been a touchdown. He did find Zach Ertz for a three-yard touchdown in the second half. However, Wentz misfired on an important third down play with a minute remaining. He rolled out to the right and made a bad throw on the run. These are some of the things that Wentz must improve. Credit Wentz for throwing a perfect pass in between two defenders to Jeffery that set up the winning field goal. It was thrown a little high where only Jeffery could get it and get out of bounds. Leading a team back in the fourth quarter for a win is not something to sneeze at and does count for something. I was prepared to give Wentz a 'C', but gave him a 'B' for the above point.
Jalen Mills - Mills was tasked with staying on Odell Beckham, Junior for much of the game. He mostly had to do it without much help. Credit Mills for doing a pretty good job. He forced Beckham's catches to be short and limited the yards after the catch. Beckham made a remarkable catch in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown against Mills. Ultimately, Beckham caught nine passes on 13 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns. His longest catch went for 14 yards. Mills led the team with 12 tackles and had two passes successfully defended.
Rasul Douglas - Douglas earned his first career start and made it an extremely memorable one by picking off Eli Manning. Douglas went stride-for-stride with the receiver and leaped to make the interception. Douglas was thrust into the starting lineup due to the injury to Jaylen Watkins. Douglas has played better and better each week since the start of the preseason. He is doing a very good job tackling and crashing down on short completions. Douglas finished with four tackles, an interception and a pass deflected.
Patrick Robinson - Robinson has played well, especially since his playing time has increased due to injuries on defense. He closed down on some short routes and made tackles shortly after the completion. Robinson also led the team with three passes defensed. Robinson was in the right place at the right time when Mychal Kendricks tipped one of Eli Manning's passes high into the air and into Robinson's arms. He also added five tackles.
Stefen Wisniewski - Wisniewski has been waiting for an opportunity to contribute. His number was called when Chance Warmack struggled early in this game. Wisniewski did a solid job blocking and seemed to provide some consistency from a position on the line that has rarely seen it. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles look to address the starting left guard position next week. Seumalo and Warmack have struggled. Wisniewski appeared to do alright.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins made a huge tackled for a four-yard loss on third-and-one to force a Giants punt. He also delivered a big hit as he crashed down on a receiver following a completion on a slant. Jenkins committed a big pass interference penalty where he clotheslined Odell Beckham, Junior. This happened after Beckham had celebrated a touchdown by raising his fist like Jenkins does earlier in the game. Jenkins claimed to have not seen that, but did admit the pass interference penalty was intentional. He was afraid Beckham was going to catch it and score a touchdown. It gave the Giants the ball on the Philadelphia 24 yard line. Jenkins finished fourth on the team with six tackles including a tackle for a loss.
Zach Ertz - Ertz played very well through the first two games of the season, but struggled at times in this one. There was no bigger mistake than the fumble he had early in the fourth quarter. He did not have the ball tight in his right hand as he went to stiff-arm a defender with his left along the sideline and dropped the ball. It gave the Giants a fumble recovery and the ball deep in Philadelphia territory. Ertz also had a rare drop when he was wide open in the endzone. The pass went off his hands and incomplete. Pederson called the exact same play right after the drop and Ertz caught that one for the score.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery committed some dumb penalties in this game. Those tainted an otherwise decent day. Jeffery was flagged 15 yards for an offensive face mask penalty late in the game with the Eagles trailing by three points. He also committed an offensive pass interference penalty earlier in the game. On the plus side, Jeffery made an outstanding catch with two defenders in the area to set up the game-winning field goal. It was a 19-yard reception that he made and was able to get out of bounds with one second remaining in the game. Jeffery could have had a lot more yards if Carson Wentz did not overthrow him when he had a man beat deep down the sideline. Jeffery finished with four receptions for 56 yards.
Doug Pederson - Pederson made a couple of head-scratching calls. They bordered on downright horrible decisions. He challenged a play less than three minutes into the game where it was pretty obvious that the Eagles failed to down a punt before touching the endzone. That cost the team a timeout. Later in the first half with the Eagles leading 7-0, he decided to go for it on fourth-and-eight. Wentz got sacked giving the Giants the ball around midfield. After feeding most of the carries to LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood, Pederson had Corey Clement handle the ball after the Giants tied the game in the fourth quarter. Clement nearly fumbled it deep in Philadelphia territory. I will give Pederson credit for attempting a 61-yard field goal to win it with Odell Beckham, Junior standing in the back of the endzone ready to return a miss and win the game for the Giants. A lot of coaches would have gone conservative and settled for overtime.
Chance Warmack - Warmack replaced an ineffective Isaac Seumalo in the starting lineup and did not fare much better. Warmack was beat early on and gave up a sack. He also missed a couple of blocks on run plays. Ultimately he was replaced for the remainder of the first half. Warmack returned in the second half, but was once again replaced. Stefen Wisniewski replaced Warmack both times. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles look to address that position next week.