Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Saints
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles finally put a pretty solid game together and picked up a convincing 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. The Eagles scored on their final seven possessions of the game to blow it open.
The offense racked up 519 total yards while the defense forced four turnovers for a complete team win.
Plenty of good grades to hand out after this blowout.
(Listen to Scott Grayson discuss his Grades with Mike Gill)
DeMarco Murray - Murray said he wanted more touches to help get him going. He asked and he received. Murray touched the ball 27 times and had his best game as an Eagle. Murray racked up 120 total yards. He carried the ball 20 times for 83 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 7 passes for 37 yards.
Ryan Mathews - Mathews appears to hit holes a little faster than Murray right now and has the approach if a defender is in the hole than I will just run right through him. That helped him take advantage of his opportunities to carry the rock. Mathews also found the endzone from two yards out. He finished the day with 8 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Mathews also grabbed 3 passes for 23 yards.
Offensive Line - The offensive line opened up enough holes to rack up 186 rushing yards and also protected Sam Bradford well enough for him to pass for 333 yards. That is 519 total yards. The line did not give up a sack in the game. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson told me after the game that the line focused on little things like footwork and just taking care of their man as opposed to overthinking things like they had been earlier in the season. That strategy worked and allowed the rest of the offense to do its thing.
Jordan Hicks - Hicks is quickly becoming one of Chip Kelly's best draft picks. This kid is turning into a bright, young star on the defense. Hicks recovered a fumble in his third straight game. Malcolm Jenkins said he calls him Johnny on the Spot because he is always around the ball. Hicks leaped and almost pulled down a very athletic interception but it went off the top of his hands and fell incomplete. He finished with 4 tackles. I enjoy watching him play.
Bennie Logan - The Louisiana native had a great game. He provided a big spark on the defensive line and proved to be a great compliment to Fletcher Cox. Logan accounted for three tackles for a loss, a sack on the Saints first possession and totaled 5 tackles in the game.
Fletcher Cox - Cox admitted afterwards he never had a 3 sack game until today. This guy is so valuable to the team and several of his defensive teammates had a hard time describing to me exactly how important he is to their success. Drew Brees is probably going to have nightmares about Cox for a while. Cox had 3 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles while recovering one of them. He also tied for the team lead in tackles with 6.
Zach Ertz - Ertz looked like his old self catching passes in traffic and constantly moving the sticks. His presence has been somewhat absent in previous games. That was not the case against the Saints. Ertz caught 5 passes for 60 yards. He also made some nice blocks in the game.
Brent Celek - Celek has been more of a factor in the passing game lately. He is especially becoming a reliable target for Bradford in the red zone. Celek caught 3 passes for 44 yards including a 23 yard touchdown. Celek is also a reliable blocker in the running game.
Josh Huff - Huff finally showed me something in this game. He was active in the passing game and did a nice job of getting some great yards after the catch. Huff caught 4 passes for 78 yards including a 41 yard touchdown. Huff also opened the game with a 40 yard kickoff return.
Darren Sproles - This was Sproles' first opportunity to face his former team and he played well in his limited opportunities. He provides such a great change of speed out of the backfield and is a very valuable third down weapon. Sproles carried the ball 5 times for 27 yards. He also caught 1 pass for 10 yards.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins faced his former team for the first time and had a solid outing. Jenkins is so versatile and continues to show off that versatility with his ability to play close to the line of scrimmage. Jenkins had two tackles for a loss in the game. He also finished tied for the team lead in tackles with 6.
Byron Maxwell - Maxwell's coverage appeared to be better today; however, there are still times he is a little late. He had a really nice pass deflection in this game and also recovered a fumble. It was the kind of game that was a step in the right direction for Maxwell, but those steps forward must continue. He finished with 2 tackles on top of the pass deflection and fumble recovery I mentioned earlier.
Caleb Sturgis - Sturgis missed another extra point causing him the 'B' grade. He would have had an 'A' by making that kick. Extra points are critical and could be the difference of a game. He was perfect on field goals going 4-for-4. Sturgis made field goals from 39, 29, 26 and 41 yards out.
DeMeco Ryans - Ryans has not looked like himself throughout most of the season to date. However, he is starting to appear to get healthier. Ryans looks to be moving better on the field and that helped him force a fumble in this game. He did not rack up a lot in the way of stats, but it is a good sign to see him around the ball more.
Walter Thurmond - Thurmond appears to be getting more comfortable at the safety position. Like Jenkins, he is helping on tackles around the line of scrimmage. Thurmond also is taking advantage of opportunities and nearly returned a fourth quarter interception for a touchdown. He took it 44 yards before he was stopped at the 4 yard line.
Chip Kelly - Kelly showed the ability to make some adjustments this week. He put Bradford under center to hand the ball off to Murray and Mathews on occasion, which is a change from previous games. He also showed more pass plays on first down than he had been, particularly early in the game. I also don't mind going for it twice on fourth down even though both attempts failed. Both fourth down plays were too far away to attempt field goals and not worth the risk of a punt going for a touchback. Kelly said he total confidence in his defense if those attempts failed and I am okay with that reasoning. Honestly, I liked seeing him be more aggressive in those situations and also not sit back late in the game and try to just run out the clock like he did against Washington.
Sam Bradford - Bradford threw a pair of interceptions in the endzone in the first half. Those are big mistakes, but outside of those miscues, he passed the ball pretty well. He was victimized by a few drops from his receivers again. Prior to the game, Bradford called an offense only meeting. He told the team they have the talent and the ability and now they need to show it on the field. Bradford hit 9 different receivers in the game. He completed 32 of 45 passes for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews had an up and down kind of game. He found some open area in the middle of the field occasionally, but dropped a couple of passes. Matthews is going to be a big part of this offense throughout the season and must catch it when it is thrown his direction. Matthews was targeted 7 times and caught 5 passes for 44 yards.