The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 4-2 on the road after a solid win in Denver 30-13. For the third straight week the Eagles moved the ball well on the ground rushing for 214 yards. Meanwhile, the defense provided the biggest play of the game when Darius Slay returned a fumble for 82 yards to end the third quarter.
This was a big win for the Eagles who are one game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC. The offense appears to be solidifying its identity. The defense is trying to figure out its identity. After tons of criticism Jonathan Gannon called a little more aggressive game.
The Eagles are now 4-6. They are 4-2 on the road, but just 0-4 at home. They can improve that home record when they host the New Orleans Saints next week.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
- Smith had a birthday to remember. He came into the game with two touchdowns all season. Smith caught two touchdown passes in this one including one very memorable grab over Patrick Surtain. His first touchdown showed his great ability to catch the ball at its highest point and held on as he hit the ground. This was the kind of game that showed he definitely can be a number one receiver. The question is whether he can take the next step to be a star in this league. Smith caught four passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
- Hurts had a solid performance. The only negative was an interception he threw when his arm got hit. Other than that it was all positive. Hurts made a perfect throw that DeVonta Smith made a great catch on for the first touchdown of the game. He also made some good reads to find open receivers. Hurts also extended plays well and used his legs to hurt the Broncos. He rushed for 53 yards including a 32 yard rush in the game. The question now is whether Hurts can remain consistent over the next few weeks. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Hurts also carried the ball 14 times for 53 yards.
- Slay made the biggest play of the game. He picked up a fumble late in the third quarter and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. It totally changed the complexion of the game and really put the Broncos away. Slay was smart about it too. He said afterwards that he realized the Broncos had a lot of big bodies on the field for the fourth and one play. So he knew he could outrun most of the players out there. Slay finished with five tackles including a tackle for a loss.
- Taylor was part of the biggest play of the day. He forced the fumble of Melvin Gordon that Slay picked up and returned for a touchdown. He had a pretty good game overall. Taylor was tied for second on the team with seven tackles.
Offensive Line - For the third week in a row the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. They plowed the way for another solid rushing attack. The Eagles rushed for 214 yards thanks in large part to the way the offensive line played.
- Howard has played well over the last few weeks. He once again punished tacklers and ran hard. He carried the ball 12 times for 83 yards. Howard has helped to spark this surge in rush yards. The question is what will happen to the running backs when Miles Sanders returns, which could happen as early as next week.
- Scott, like Howard, has also provided a big spark to the rushing attack. He seemed to be a bit more patient at times waiting for the holes to open. Scott did a good job too catching a couple of passes out of the backfield. But like Howard, I don't know that the Eagles keep four running backs active on game day which leaves somebody out. Scott carried the ball 11 times for 81 yards. He also caught two passes for 24 yards.
- Sirianni did a good job of having his team ready to go. There was some concern about how the team would handle the altitude and less oxygen at that altitude, but the team appeared to handle it well. They seemed ready to play and came out swinging early. I am starting to gain more of a belief in Sirianni as the offensive play-caller. For the third week in a row he let the running game set everything else up. That helped the Eagles win time of possession and put up more than 200 yards on the ground. He is doing a better job of putting his quarterback in a position for success. It was a good win, now Sirianni needs to do something he has not done all season and that is win in Philadelphia.
- Gannon has been red hot seat this season. I saw a defense that appeared to play a little more aggressive and try to force some bad plays by Teddy Bridgewater. They were able to force some bad throws and did record a sack. They did a good job of stopping the run holding the Broncos to less than 100 yards on the ground. Anytime the defense scores it usually helps lead to a win. That was the case in this one as his team forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown on a fourth and one. This stat told me a lot too. The Eagles held the Broncos to just one third down conversion in 11 attempts. Gannon needs to build on this kind of success and I would like to see them be even a little more aggressive against the Saints.
- Watkins was a frequent target especially early in this game. He did a good job of delivering too until he beat the defense and dropped a touchdown pass. Watkins needs to make that catch. It did not hurt the team in this game, but it could be a deciding factor in a win or loss in the future depending on whether he catches that ball or not. It was a well thrown ball by Jalen Hurts and put where only Watkins could catch it. Watkins caught four passes for 33 yards. But imagine what his stats would have looked like had he caught that touchdown pass.
- Barnett continues to add to his idiot penalty total this season. He committed a false start penalty that helped the Broncos move the ball on their touchdown drive. Barnett also committed a costly roughing the passer penalty on third down that gave the Broncos an automatic first down. He did manage to rack up the only sack of the game for the Eagles. However, he must find a way to play more disciplined. His penalties are really hurting this team. Barnett finished with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit.
- Maddox joined the idiot penalty group with Barnett in this game. He was called for taunting and needs to learn to just walk away from the opponent or at least if you want to celebrate a nice play than head towards your huddle before you celebrate. Maddox is playing the nickel corner role very well. They need him to keep making plays and not committing stupid penalties. Maddox finished tied for second on the team with seven tackles.
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