Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Cardinals
The Philadelphia Eagles needed a little luck to remain unbeaten. The Cardinals missed a game-tying field goal in the final minute preserving a 20-17 Eagles victory in the desert.
The Eagles went up 14-0 and went into halftime with a 14-10 lead. The Cardinals kept chipping away and nearly tied it. Cardinals Quarterback Kyler Murray slid short of the first down marker on second down and spiked the ball on third down with no timeouts remaining bringing up a fourth down and forcing the Cardinals to try for the tying kick with 22 seconds remaining. It went wide right and the Eagles stayed undefeated.
The Eagles had to navigate multiple injuries on the offensive line in this one and ultimately relied that line to break a 17-17 tie with less than two minutes to go in the game.
It was a struggle but when faced with adversity this team found a way through it. It was another step in the right direction showing the Eagles are in fact one of, if not, the best team in the NFC.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Offensive Line - In my mind, the Offensive Line deserved the game ball in this one. That fourth quarter drive was extremely impressive. The Eagles got the ball tied at 17 with 9:43 remaining in the game. They rattled off a 17 play, 70 yard drive that took 7:58 off the clock and ended with a field goal and the lead. 13 of those 17 plays were run plays proving the Offensive Line won the battle in the trenches. Center Jason Kelce had to leave the field a couple of times due to injury but kept finding his way back out there and toughed it out to help the line in those key moments. Landon Dickerson also battled through an injury. Lane Johnson and Isaac Seumalo deserve credit as well as Jack Driscoll who filled in for the injured Jordan Mailata. The Eagles ran the ball for 139 yards in the win.
Miles Sanders - Sanders' stats were good but not great. But his runs were consistently good and helping to control the clock. He carried the ball 15 times for 58 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Sanders rattled off several double-digit gains and had plenty of back-breaking first down carries that helped the Eagles take more time off the clock.
Cameron Dicker - Credit this guy for coming in this week to a new situation taking over the kicking duties for the injured Jake Elliott and doing great. Dicker had to get used to a new team, a new holder and a new long snapper all in less than a week. In the end, he also had to be perfect for the Eagles to win this game. Dicker made two field goals. The first was from 42 yards out. The second proved to be the game-winner in the fourth quarter from 23 yards away. I was impressed with his composure and am sure he gained a ton of credibility and respect from his teammates in this win.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert once again was a reliable target for Jalen Hurts. He also did a great job of adding plenty of yards after the catch. Goedert does a great job in the screen game. He gets his shoulder pads heading north-south in a hurry and lets a full head of steam help him become a difficult ball-carrier to bring down. Goedert caught eight passes for 95 yards. His longest reception went for 31 yards. This was big for him to do in front of his former mentor and current Cardinals Tight End Zach Ertz.
DeVonta Smith - I was impressed with Smith's toughness in this one. He has been called 'Skinny Batman' by teammate Darius Slay. Smith is a 'skinny' guy with very little meat on his bones. He took several big hits in this game and to his credit, got up every time and went back out there to make more plays. Smith led the team with ten receptions for 87 yards. He did have one drop that would have moved the chains.
CJ Gardner-Johnson - Gardner-Johnson made some big plays in this game. He picked off a pass early. He also flew around the field making some tackles. Gardner-Johnson had to make some tackles after guys in front of him missed a few, but those helped to prevent bigger plays from happening. He led the team with ten tackles in this one. He also had one tackle for a loss and one pass successfully defended.
Jalen Hurts - Hurts played well, but I felt he missed some plays out there. When blitzed, Hurts failed to hit his hot read and get rid of the ball quickly. It led to at two sacks. That being said, those sacks were better than turning it over. However, Hurts needs to read the blitz coming and give his hot read a chance to make a play. Overall, Hurts continues to maintain great composure in the face of adversity. With the game tied at 17, he led the Eagles on a 17 play, 70 yard drive that took 7:58 off the clock and ended with a go-ahead field goal. Hurts completed 26 of 36 passes for 239 yards. He added 15 carries for 61 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hurts also converted several short-yardage situations on quarterback sneaks.
Darius Slay - Slay overall did a good job in coverage. He did make some plays to keep Marquise Brown from making some catches but also allowed some plays to be made in front of him. Like Gardner-Johnson he had to help make tackles when some in front of him were missed. Slay finished second on the team with nine tackles.
T.J. Edwards - Edwards did not have his best game but was still flying around the field. There were some missed tackles but overall not a bad job by him. Edwards finished with eight tackles including one tackle for a loss.
Marcus Epps - Epps made a big play to break up a pass in the fourth quarter on Zach Ertz. It would have moved the chains on third down and instead forced a punt. Epps continues to take steps forward to show he is playing with more confidence and comfort in his role on this defense. He finished with six tackles including one tackle for a loss and one pass successfully defended.
Jordan Davis - Davis appeared to get more snaps in this game than he has at any other point in the season. He does a good job of taking up space in the middle of the line and typically occupies multiple defenders. He did a good job of fighting through some of those blocks to make some plays. Davis recorded three tackles in this one. He has to continue to play himself into better shape so he can handle more snaps as the season progresses.
Haason Reddick - Reddick came up with the only sack against his former team. He was brought to Philly to help create more pressure on the quarterback. There were times he helped disrupt the pocket but he and his teammates failed to contain Kyler Murray. On the sack, Reddick totally dominated the lineman opposite him and got to Murray in a hurry. It was his only tackle in the game. He has been playing well in recent weeks and needs to try to maintain that kind of consistency from week to week.
Nick Sirianni - One way I saw the Eagles losing this game was if they were not focused enough on this game and allowed it to be a trap-game prior to next week's Sunday Night game against the Cowboys. They did not commit costly penalties, turn it over or appear to be unfocused. That being said, the one quality I fail to see on this team is the ability to squash an opponent when they are down put them away. They had a 14-0 lead early and failed to tack on that one more touchdown or score a touchdown in the second half to bury the Cardinals. That being said, when this team needed a long, time-consuming drive, they got it.
Jonathan Gannon - Gannon had a decent game plan; however, his team failed to make some tackles that could have been sacks when they got to Kyler Murray. He forced Murray to make a mistake and it led to an interception early in the game. I feel Gannon plays a more passive defense with the lead in the second half. It has worked, but I personally prefer to see them stick with creating pressure and maintaining an aggressive style of play in those situations. They backed off in the second half, let Murray have time to find receivers and seem so concerned with avoiding a big play that it leads to very little time coming off the clock while moving the ball downfield. His defense also did not do as good of a job of getting off the field on third down as they have in the past. They allowed the Cardinals to convert 8 of 14 third down attempts.
A.J. Brown - Brown finished this game with three receptions for 32 yards. Most of that was in the first half. He did very little in the box score in the second half. The Cardinals made it a point to keep him from beating them in this game. Also, the Eagles were in a mindset of trying to run clock in the second half. That being said, there were some key plays that you want a player of his caliber showing up and taking charge. He and DeVonta Smith are doing a great job of stepping up when opponents take the other away.