Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at 49’ers
The Philadelphia Eagles took over sole possession of first place in the NFC East after knocking off the San Francisco 49'ers 25-20.
The defense forced three turnovers while Carson Wentz ran for a touchdown and passed for another in the victory. With the game hanging in the balance, Wentz found Travis Fulgham for the go-ahead score. That was followed up by a pick six from Alex Singleton to help put it away.
The Eagles finally won their first game of the season; however, it does not absolve some questionable performances and that is reflected in the latest report card.
Alex Singleton - Singleton is typically a special teams player and rarely gets time on defense. However, after TJ Edwards left the game due to injury, Singleton was thrust into action and made the biggest defensive play of the night. He picked off Nick Mullens and returned it for a touchdown to help essentially put the game away.
Defensive Line - The Defensive Line is trending in the right direction. They racked up eight sacks last week and followed that up with five more against the 49'ers. Perhaps more importantly, they got back to Mullens in a hurry causing him to unload the ball before he was ready. As a result, Josh Sweat, Hassan Ridgeway and Genard Avery all registered a sack in this game. Derek Barnett and Jevon Hargrave each got 1/2 of a sack. They also forced a large part of the 15 quarterback hits they got in this game. Avery racked up five quarterback hits all by himself.
Travis Fulgham - Fulgham is going to be a much more popular name around Philadelphia than it was just 30 minutes earlier. He caught the biggest pass of the game by Wentz. Not only did he pull it in, but had the presence of mind to keep his feet in bounds and score a touchdown. Fulgham was just added to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday.
Rodney McLeod - I felt like I saw McLeod flying around on defense for the first time this season and asserting himself as more of a leader. He was making tackles and registered the first takeaway for the defense of the season when he picked off Nick Mullens. McLeod led the team with eight tackles.
Doug Pederson - After ripping Pederson last week for his lack of aggressive decisions, I will give him credit for going back to his old ways. The Eagles scored first and Pederson did not hesitate, he went for two. Getting that early eight point lead changed the game. Late in the fourth quarter after the 49'ers scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to five points, they had to go for two to try and cut the deficit to three. The Eagles stopped them maintaining a five point lead. Had they not gone for two earlier, the 49'ers would have been able to tie it with a field goal. Pederson's team appeared to play with more of a sense of urgency than I have noticed in the past. One criticism though deals with the way they seemed to abandon a large part of the run. Miles Sanders had some effective runs in the first half, but Pederson did not give him nearly as many touches in the second half.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz' defense finally showed signs of life. They played with more urgency and as a flew result the field with more energy. They were able to force three turnovers including a pick six. The defense also managed to rack up five sacks. They won the turnover battle for the first time all season and as a result they picked up their first win.
Cre'Von LeBlanc - LeBlanc came up with a huge play when he managed to record a sack and strip the ball out. It was recovered by the Eagles and eventually led to a go-ahead score. LeBlac also did a decent job in coverage. However, he was involved in some missed assignments that led to George Kittle's big receiving day.
Carson Wentz - Wentz made some big plays when it counted the most; however, he also continued to do some of the things that have plagued him in some of his poor performances earlier this season. Wentz held onto the ball too long multiple times, especially with a banged up offensive line. He also made some poor decisions throwing the ball and missing some open receivers. Like last season, he was throwing to a cast of misfit toys due to a large number of injuries. Wentz' best pass of the day one to Travis Fulgham down the sideline and it went for a touchdown. Wentz did a good job of using his legs and scored the first points of the game on a rushing touchdown. Wentz completed 18 of 28 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also added 37 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Offensive Line - The Eagles rolled out their fourth different offensive line in as many weeks. Jordan Mailata started at left tackle for the injured Jason Peters. Mailata was called for a costly false start penalty on a third and one that eventually forced a punt. Jason Kelce had a horrible snap over Carson Wentz' head that nearly became a turnover. Lane Johnson started the game at right tackle, but frequently exited due to a sore ankle.