Wentz Among Top-Graded Eagles Again
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Carson Wentz wagon continued to roll on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles sent a message to their doubters by routing the highly-regarded Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-3.
Wentz was again one of the best Eagles on the field, according to ProFootballFocus.com, finishing second on the offensive side of the ball, behind only his right tackle Lane Johnson.
Unfortunately for Wentz, however, Johnson will likely be suspended by the time the Eagles return from their bye week to visit the Detroit Lions on Oct. 9.
The other top offensive performers behind Johnson and Wentz were three more members of the offensive line: left guard Allen Barbre, who continues his solid season, right guard Brandon Brooks, and center Jason Kelce, who bounced back to a degree from two subpar performances.
Defensively, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks was the top Philadelphia player for the second time in three weeks and matched Johnson for the highest grade of the afternoon. He was followed by cornerback Nolan Carroll, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, safety Malcolm Jenkins, and defensive end Brandon Graham.
As for playing time on offense without Zach Ertz, the Eagles continued to use 11 personnel as their base look with Jordan Matthews the busiest receiver (55 of 65 snaps) followed by Nelson Agholor (52), Dorial Green-Beckham (32) and Josh Huff (26).
Brent Celek saw 45 reps as the main tight end with Trey Burton at 33 and Matt Tobin getting 12 looks as an extra blocker/eligible tight end. Backup nose tackle Beau Allen got one chance as a fullback on the goal line and Stefen Wisniewski was also in on that play as Philadelphia went with a jumbo formation.
The running back-by-committee approach saw Darren Sproles (24) lead once again due to Ryan Mathews balky left ankle. Mathews was limited to 8 snaps and usurped in playing time by rookie Wendell Smallwood, who matched Sproles with 24 due to a lot of touches in the second half, as well as Kenjon Barner (12).
On defense, the Eagles were on the field for a season-high 60 snaps with Jenkins, Carroll and Rodney McLeod serving as the only full-time players. Corner Ron Brooks nearly matched his fellow DBs with 58 reps and rookie Jalen Mills was also busy with 53 as Jim Schwartz played a lot of nickel. Jaylen Watkins (6) also got a few looks when the Eagles went into a dime defense.
At linebacker. Nigel Bradham was again the busiest option for Schwartz with 56 snaps followed by Hicks (49), Stephen Tulloch (11), Mychal Kendricks, who was down to 9, and Najee Goode (1).
The defensive line rotation was paced by defensive ends Connor Barwin with 47 and Graham with 42. Vinny Curry (26), Marcus Smith (13) and Steven Means (6) were also involved.
Inside, Cox (41) and Bennie Logan (29) were supported by rookie Destiny Vaeao (19) and Allen (17).
Special teams stalwarts were Bryan Braman, Chris Maragos and Buron, all with 20 snaps.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen