Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Bills
Orchard Park, NY - The Philadelphia Eagles saved their season after a solid 31-13 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles scored first in both halves and the defense played pretty well in the victory.
The Eagles did most of their damage on offense on the ground. Miles Sanders had a 65 yard rushing touchdown. Boston Scott added a four yard touchdown run.
Meanwhile, the defense forced multiple fumbles including one that set the offense up for a short field and a subsequent touchdown.
With the win, the Eagles are just a half-game behind the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. They return home for the first time in nearly a month next week when they host the Chicago Bears.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Brandon Graham - Graham continued his pretty solid season with a huge play to force a fumble and recover it with less than two minutes to go in the first half. It gave the Eagles the ball deep in Buffalo territory and they turned it into a touchdown. Graham finished tied for second on the team with six tackles. He added a sack, two tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit.
Fletcher Cox - Cox made his presence known early in this game and played a big role in the first two defensive possessions for the Eagles. He had a strip-sack on third down of the opening drive. The Bills recovered that fumble, but it did force a punt. On the next drive, Cox stuffed Frank Gore on third and one and that forced another punt. Cox finished tied for second on the team with six tackles. He added 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Jordan Howard - Howard got the chance to tote the rock a lot in this game and it paid off for the Eagles. He drove the pile forward and occasionally broke through for some very solid gains. His best play may have been the block he delivered that helped spring Miles Sanders for a 65 yard touchdown run. Howard capped off a very important fourth quarter drive by the Eagles when he found the endzone from three yards out. Howard carried the ball 23 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also added one reception for 15 yards.
Miles Sanders - Sanders had his best game as an Eagle. The rookie was very effective in the screen game catching a screen pass early and taking it for a 25 yard gain. His best play was out of a dual back formation with Jordan Howard. Howard made a great block that helped spring Sanders for a 65 yard touchdown run. Sanders finished with 74 yards rushing and a touchdown. He also added three receptions for 44 yards.
Doug Pederson - Pederson got a solid performance out of his team when he badly needed too. The entire team was called to the carpet by former Eagle Orlando Scandrick and they rallied around that and responded with a big victory. I liked seeing Pederson role out a formation we have hardly, if ever seen. He had both Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders in the backfield at the same time. It makes it harder on the defense to know which back is getting the ball. In fact, it was out of that formation that Miles Sanders broke free thanks to a big block by Jordan Howard and Sanders scored a 65 yard touchdown. The Eagles controlled the clock and did it on the ground carrying the ball 38 times for 222 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Carson Wentz - Wentz still held the ball a little too long at times in this game. He did however do pretty well throwing the ball in the windy conditions. Wentz also did a good job of checking out of plays and into some other ones that gained some yards. Wentz did fumble the ball once when he got sacked but managed to recover it and avoid a turnover. Perhaps the best thing Wentz did in this game was in the fourth quarter with the Eagles holding an 11 point lead. Twice he took off and managed to move the chains by himself using his legs. Wentz completed 17 of 24 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown.
Offensive Line - The offensive line played perhaps its best game of the season. Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard all did a solid job opening holes and moving the pile for the running game. Their pass protection was a little less solid, but still good enough to get the job done. They allowed three sacks with some of that as Wentz' fault for holding the ball too long. Overall, a solid job as the line managed to plow the way for 222 rush yards.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins was clearly trying to make a statement and lead by example. However, he let his emotions get the best of him at times and committed two personal fouls involving hits on Bills Quarterback Josh Allen in the first half. The first was legit helmet-to-helmet contact. The second Jenkins was trying to slow up when Allen slid and could not avoid hitting him. Seemed like a bad call to me. However, it extended the drive into the red zone. Jenkins tied for second on the team with six tackles including one tackle for a loss, one pass successfully defended and one quarterback hit.
Ronald Darby - Darby had his best game in a while. This was his return to Buffalo, where he played prior to being traded to the Eagles last season. Darby's best play in this game occurred on fourth down when the Bills had to go for it and Darby cut in front of the receiver to bat the ball away allowing the Eagles to take over on downs. Darby recorded two tackles and that important pass successfully defended.