Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Panthers
The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 7-2 after another dominating performance under the lights inside Lincoln Financial Field.
The last time the Eagles played under the lights here they shutout the Giants in a Sunday Night game 27-0. This time the defense set the tone recording nine sacks and forcing five turnovers. Eagles Quarterback Mark Sanchez also looked very good replacing the injured Nick Foles. It was a 45-21 blowout that was even more lopsided than that score indicates.
The professor was very pleased after this one. Here is the best report card for this team this season in the latest edition of Grayson's Grades.
Mark Sanchez - Sanchez was impressive in his first start since 2012. He had great pocket presence and was accurate with his passes. Sanchez completed 20 of 37 passes for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns. More importantly, he did not turn it over.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews was Sanchez' favorite target throughout training camp and in the preseason. Those two are on a different wavelength right now and have solid chemistry. Matthews looked nothing like a rookie catching 7 passes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Darren Sproles - Sproles once again took advantage of his limited touches and reached the endzone twice. He scored the Eagles first touchdown on a misdirection play. Sproles also added a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown.
Brent Celek - With the injuries to the offensive line, we have not heard much from Celek the receiver. He was being kept in a lot of times to help block. Now that the line is healthier, Celek was given the chance to go downfield and he had a big game. Celek caught five passes for 116 yards.
Connor Barwin - Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton is going to have nightmares of Barwin for a while. Barwin was in the backfield a lot and was credited with 3.5 sacks. He finished the game with 8 tackles.
Bradley Fletcher - Religious Grayson Grades' followers know that Fletcher has rarely received a solid grade from me this season. However, he was spot on in this game. His coverage was solid and he batted away numerous passes. The biggest play by Fletcher came in the 2nd quarter when he intercepted Cam Newton and returned it for a touchdown.
Billy Davis - Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis deserves a lot of credit for this win. His defense came out and set a ridiculous tone forcing two turnovers in three offensive plays by the Panthers. He also created a scheme that brought pressure in various ways creating a total of nine sacks on Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton. His defense not only created pressure, but forced turnovers. The Eagles took it away from the Panthers five times.
Vinny Curry - Curry was in Newton's face almost as much as Barwin. Curry had a sack, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in this game. His strength is rushing the passer and he certainly did that well tonight.
Fletcher Cox - Cox does not play a position that is typically thrust in the spotlight, but he was visible tonight. He recorded a sack and a tackle for loss. He helped keep the Panthers running game in check. A solid night for Cox.
Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks had to carry a little more weight at inside linebacker following DeMeco Ryans' season-ending injury. Kendricks did a nice job by racking up 8 tackles including a sack.
Brandon Graham - Graham joined the sack parade in this game. He applied a lot of pressure on Newton and finished with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the game. Like Curry, he is a pass rushing specialist and did that very well tonight.
Cary Williams - Williams, like Fletcher, has been criticized during Grayson's Grades throughout the season. I thought he had good position in coverage throughout most of the game. He gave up a touchdown in the 4th quarter when it was already out of hand and I am not penalizing him for that. Williams earned his 'A' with solid coverage and an especially athletic interception.
Cedric Thornton - Thornton did not earn a lot of stats in this game, but he should deserve credit for helping to collapse the pocket on Cam Newton which allowed some of his teammates to make the sack. He also recovered a fumble in this game.
Trent Cole - Cole was part of the sack parade on Newton. He recorded a huge sack followed by a celebration mocking Newton's superman routine. Cole also added 6 tackles.
LeSean McCoy - McCoy only got 12 carries in this game and finished with 19 yards rushing. He never got a chance to get going, but was not needed in this one. It was a blowout very quickly and he eventually was substituted out early in the 4th quarter to begin resting for next week's game against Green Bay.
Casey Matthews - Matthews got his first career start and played well. He forced a fumble, recorded 7 tackles and filled in nicely for the injured DeMeco Ryans. However, he was beat by Panthers tight end Greg Olson on a go route downfield.