Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Chiefs
The Philadelphia Eagles visited the Kansas City Chiefs giving the pupil the opportunity to better the teacher. Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson was formerly Andy Reid's Offensive Coordinator in Kansas City. The two paced opposing sidelines in week two.
In his return to Kansas City, Doug Pederson failed to secure a win losing 27-20 to his former mentor. It was a win for Andy Reid against the team he once led to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles killed themselves with a pair of costly turnovers that led to ten points for the Chiefs.
Here is the latest report card and this week's edition of Grayson's Grades:
Jim Schwartz - There was a lot of talk throughout the week about the Eagles defense against the Chiefs rushing attack. The Eagles answered that call by holding the Chiefs to just 22 rush yards and sacked Alex Smith three times in the first half. The Eagles gave up 26 points in this game, but to very little fault of the defense. That unit was put in some awful positions due to turnovers and had to defend some short fields. The defense did give up a big 53-yard touchdown run to Kareem Hunt in the second half. Overall, I thought the defense played pretty well. The missed sacks and missed tackles here and there will haunt them on their trip back to Philadelphia.
Zach Ertz - Ertz has been a consistently reliable target for Wentz and he is producing. Ertz made a remarkable catch off a deflection right before the first half ended and nearly took it into the endzone before he was caught from behind. Credit Ertz for staying with the play. it was overthrown and rather than give up on the play, he kept his eye on the ball and saw an opportunity when it was tipped up into the air. That was a 53-yard reception. He ultimately hauled in five receptions for 97 yards.
Carson Wentz - Wentz was once again under a lot of pressure. There was rarely a pocket to step up into and deliver the ball. When he did get some time, he hit some downfield passes. However, he also got sacked a few times. Wentz has yet to benefit from even an average running attack let alone a good one. It would be great to see what would happen to the passing game if the Eagles could get any kind of run game going. Wentz intentionally threw a ball behind Jeffery near the goal line that he was able to stop and catch followed by a spin into the endzone for a touchdown in the third quarter. Wentz used his legs late in the game to help move the ball downfield. He was the leading rusher on the team with 55 yards on four carries. Wentz completed 25 of 46 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns while throwing one interception on a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery was clearly more of a target against the Chiefs than he was against the Redskins. Some of his receptions came when Wentz broke the pocket. He also did a nice job to adjust to a ball thrown behind him and spin over the goal line for his first touchdown as an Eagle. Jeffery caught seven passes for 92 yards. All of his receptions were intermediate in length with his longest catch totaling 18 yards.
Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks appears to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He indicated early in training camp that he was looking for a trade in the offseason to go somewhere and have a chance to start. Throughout the preseason he made play after play and worked himself more into Schwartz' good graces. That has turned into more snaps and he is making the most of those opportunities. Kendricks sacked Alex Smith in the second quarter. He also racked up two tackles for a loss and finished tied for second on the team with four tackles in the game.
Fletcher Cox - Cox earned yet another sack in this game. He causes all kinds of problems for the opposition and was able to get into the backfield and bring Alex Smith down. The Chiefs were held to 112 yards rushing due in large part to what Cox does in the middle of that line. Cox ultimately finished with two tackles and that one sack.
Brandon Graham - Graham has been a consistent presence in Jim Schwartz' defense. He is creating pressure and helping to collapse down the line on run plays. Graham met Tim Jernigan in the backfield and the two combined for a sack on Alex Smith at one point. Graham just missed two other sacks later in the game. He finished tied for second on the team with four tackles.
Tim Jernigan - Jernigan appears to be getting more and more comfortable in Schwartz' defense. He started this game and seemed to be on the field for more snaps than he was in the opener. Jernigan met Brandon Graham in the backfield and the two combined for a sack. Jernigan finished tied for second on the team with four tackles including a tackle for a loss.
Rasul Douglas - I think the rookie deserves a lot of credit. He got off to a slow start in training camp and started picking it up towards the end of the preseason. Douglas was inactive last week, but was active in week two following the injury to Ronald Darby. Douglas played the remainder of the game at corner following a hamstring injury to Jaylen Watkins. He played very well never getting beat for a big play. He also came up on short passes and made some nice hits on the receiver. Douglas also tipped away a pass on third down forcing a punt by the Chiefs in the fourth quarter. He finished the game tied for second on the team in tackles with four.
Torrey Smith - I gave Smith this grade due to the potential plays that he left on the field. Smith could have possibly scored a touchdown early in this game when he made a catch wide open over the middle and went to pivot towards the sideline. With his speed he probably would have won the foot race; however, he slipped and fell allowing the defense time to touch him down. Smith later had an opportunity on a ball thrown towards the sideline in the endzone requiring him to adjust in the air. He failed to adjust soon enough and the ball fell harmlessly off his hands incomplete. Smith caught four passes for 66 yards.
Darren Sproles - Sproles was clearly the feature back in this game. He made an impact early with some nice runs to move the chains. Sproles did make a costly mistake when he fumbled a punt return at his own 25 yard line with just over a minute remaining in the first half. That set up a field goal that gave the Chiefs a 6-3 lead at the half. Sproles also missed a blitz pickup that resulted in Wentz taking a big hit in the second half. He carried the ball ten times for 48 yards. Sproles also caught two passes for 30 yards.
Jake Elliott - Elliott made his NFL debut filling in for the injured Caleb Sturgis. He drilled his first field goal attempt from 34 yards out to cap off Philadelphia's opening drive. He also added a 40-yard field goal to tie the game in the fourth quarter. However, Elliott had a huge opportunity to tie the game as time expired in the first half and missed from 30 yards out. That miss followed a bizarre play that tipped off a defender and resulted in a huge gain by Zach Ertz. Rather than have that miss define his game, Elliott to his credit did come out and nail that 40-yard field goal. The Eagles could have definitely used those three points, but they did not lose this game because of that miss.
Doug Pederson - Pederson had a nice opening drive script. He had Wentz mixing the ball around to Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Pederson also used Darren Sproles well out of the gate and he moved the chains a few times. Sproles as the starter seemed to confuse the Chiefs a bit and his speed allowed him to make some solid runs. In typical Pederson fashion, he abandoned the run game and focused a ton on the passing game. It allowed the Chiefs to focus on pressuring Wentz and prevented the Eagles from getting into much of a rhythm on offense. It is easy to second guess; however, after Sproles got off to a decent start running outside, why didn't Pederson use LeGarrette Blount to pound the middle a bit. Smallwood seemed to get those carries. Pederson ran 46 pass plays compared to just 17 run plays. It was essentially 13 run plays because four carries by Wentz were on pass plays that he turned upfield after breaking the pocket.
Offensive Line - The offensive line was once again awful. Wentz faced repeated pressure and was sacked a couple of times. There were also very few holes for running backs to hit including a few times when backs were hit behind the line of scrimmage. Isaac Seumalo got beat for a sack on Wentz. Jason Peters got beat resulting in a tackle for a loss. Jason Kelce committed a holding penalty. There have been very few positives for this line through two games. A false start penalty on the offensive line helped to kill a good drive early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles managed just 52 yards on 13 run plays if you do not count the four carries for 55 yards on designed pass plays. This group is not controlling the line of scrimmage and also not getting much help from the running backs on blitz plays.