Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Redskins
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles entered week 14 mathematically alive for a playoff spot. They failed to keep their playoff hopes alive as the Washington Redskins handed the Eagles a 27-22 loss.
Injuries mounted for both teams in this game and ultimately cost the Eagles. Key players who were unable to finish the game for the Eagles included Darren Sproles, Jon Dorenbos, Brent Celek, Allen Barbre, Wendell Smallwood among others.
While the Eagles’ effort was questioned a week ago in Cincinnati, there was no doubt the players gave a ton of effort in this game.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson’s Grades:
Fletcher Cox – Cox created a lot of havoc for the Redskins. He was frequently double-teamed. Cox recorded a sack early in the second quarter and blew through the offensive line to earn another sack early in the third quarter. He has been criticized the past few weeks, but clearly broke out of his slump in a big way in this game. Cox tallied four tackles, one and a half sacks, a tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Trey Burton – Burton’s biggest contribution in this game had nothing to do with playing tight end. He stepped up and begged to handle long-snapping duties after Jon Dorenbos and Brent Celek were both injured at that position. Burton snapped the ball on the go-ahead 41-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis. Burton also made some big plays on offense hauling in seven passes for 65 yards. That included a big 13-yard reception where he dove and kept the ball from hitting the ground setting up the go-ahead field goal.
Jordan Matthews – Matthews was not entirely healthy and appeared to have a slight hitch in his running ability. Despite that, he managed to get open and reassert himself as one of Wentz’ top targets. Matthews made some nice catches in the final two minutes of the game to help the Eagles get into the red zone. He finished with eight receptions for 79 yards.
Doug Pederson – Pederson did some of the little things better than he has in recent weeks. His play-calling was more balanced in the first half. It kept the Redskins honest regarding run plays. Pederson also took a shot deep with Nelson Agholor that drew a 44-yard pass interference penalty. I agreed with going for it on fourth down in the third quarter and they converted. I also did not have any major problems with Pederson’s use of his challenges. The second challenge was huge to win and force a fourth down. It took a lot of guts for Pederson to pull the trigger on the go-ahead field goal when two long-snappers were out for injury. After essentially holding open tryouts among active players on the sideline, Pederson chose to have Trey Burton snap and Caleb Sturgis booted it through the uprights. The only thing I would question is why Kenjon Barner was inactive. His absence hurt in the backfield and on special teams.
Leodis McKelvin – McKelvin has been criticized in recent weeks for giving up some big plays. He showed up in a major way with a pick six in the fourth quarter to bring the Eagles back to within two points of the Redskins. McKelvin broke up several passes on third down to end Washington drives. McKelvin’s biggest mistake was a huge one when he got beat by DeSean Jackson for an 80-yard touchdown.
Zach Ertz – Ertz did a great job of tacking on some yards after the catch, not a lot of them, but turned throws short of the sticks into first downs. He has been steadily earning more and more of Wentz’ confidence to throw him the ball. His targets and receptions have been on the rise. Ertz pulled in 10 receptions for 112 yards. He was criticized last week for not making a block. His decision to try and make a block resulted in a block-in-the-back penalty erasing a long punt return for a touchdown.
Carson Wentz – Wentz made some athletic moves to extend plays. He was very accurate early in this game, but tried to force a pass into the endzone that was picked off. Wentz stood in the pocket pretty well and took some hits. For the most part his mechanics were a lot better. He stepped into his throws. The only pass I noticed with poor mechanics was the one that was intercepted when he threw off his back foot and did not step through the throw. Wentz did a good job in the final two minutes of methodically moving the team down the field looking for the game-winning score. A missed block by Matt Tobin led to the sack and fumble by Wentz that ended the game. Wentz completed 32 of 46 passes for 314 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Jordan Hicks – Hicks was playing with some fire. He delivered some hard hits and did a pretty good job to help stop the run. Great job to sniff out the screen on a third and one to break it up and force a fourth down. Hicks continues to grow as a leader in the second level of the defense. He finished with three tackles, but was frequently around the ball.
Nelson Agholor – Agholor has appeared to be a more confident player since returning from his benching a couple of weeks ago. He tried to stretch the defense by going downfield and looked to be able to make the play, instead he drew a 44-yard pass interference penalty Ran some good hard routes. Agholor finished with two receptions for 22 yards.
Nolan Carroll – Carroll fought hard in coverage but failed to make any big plays. He was beat by Pierre Garcon on a physical play for a 15-yard touchdown. I think Carroll provides good coverage for the most part, but he is not physical enough with most receivers he goes up against.