Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed their Thanksgiving feasting on a healthy helping of Dallas Cowboys and assuming sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en route to a 33-10 lead. Plenty of good grades following that performance.
Mark Sanchez - Sanchez did exactly what the Eagles needed him to do. He made some big throws when needed and avoided turning it over. He was particularly accurate early in the game when the Eagles set the tone and jumped out to a 14-0 lead. That lead allowed the Eagles to rely more on the running game with the lead and coast to victory. Sanchez finished completing 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and 1 touchdown with no turnovers.
Jeremy Maclin - Maclin went over 1,000 yards for the season after another solid performance. He caught 8 passes for 108 yards. Maclin racked up 58 yards on one reception. He moved the chains several times due to a strong second effort. He appears to be getting stronger and more confident as the season continues.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews continues to improve and is settling into a pretty reliable role on this offense. He fights through tackles and continues to put up some solid yards after the catch. Matthews found the endzone from 27 yards out in the first quarter to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead. He finished with 4 receptions for 51 yards and 1 touchdown.
Cody Parkey - Parkey continues to be a solid and reliable kicker. He booted four field goals through the uprights and added several touchbacks on kickoffs.
Fletcher Cox - Cox again did his job taking up blockers on the line and also accounted for a sack, four tackles and two tackles for a loss. Do not underestimate what he does for the rest of the defense by heading up the run and pass defense right in the middle.
Connor Barwin - Barwin is, in my opinion, the MVP of the defense. He does so much more than he gets credit for in the stat sheet. He moves around and creates havoc in the opposing backfield. Barwin got credit for four tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Brandon Graham - Graham first got noticed in the preseason when he was one of a few players showing solid pass rushing skills. He continued to build on that and was given more opportunities to rush the quarterback as the season progressed. Now he continues to take advantage of his opportunities and got another sack and tackle for a loss to his credit again in this game.
Offensive Line - The offensive line was outstanding against the Cowboys. They kept Mark Sanchez from facing too much pressure and paved the way for LeSean McCoy and the rushing attack. This line appears to be getting stronger as it gets healthier. They appear to be on the same page more than they were earlier in the season when the line kept changing due to injury. Credit to Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Andrew Gardner and Todd Herremans
Chip Kelly - Kelly deserves a lot of credit. It looked like he and his staff outcoached the Cowboys. Kelly had a consistent plan on how to handle the short week and his players bought in throughout the week. He also had a solid plan for the offense, which was executed to near perfection.
Pat Shurmur - Shurmur does not get enough credit for the offense. I would not be surprised to see him interviewed for a head coaching job somewhere following the season. Shurmur helps Kelly with the offensive game plan and coached up that offense to perform well in this game.
Billy Davis - Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis did exactly what was needed to stuff the Cowboys offense. It started with stopping DeMarco Murray and holding him to 73 yards on 20 carries. Then he turned up the pressure on Tony Romo and never let the Cowboys get into any kind of rhythm.
Chris Polk - Polk does not get many opportunities until late in the game. Typically he is tasked with moving the chains and keeping the clock running when the Eagles hold the lead. Not only does he run it well, he runs right at the opponent and usually bowls over one or two guys before he falls to the ground. Polk finished with 11 carries for 49 yards.
Casey Matthews - Matthews played a ton of snaps and really did a solid job helping to stuff Murray and the Cowboys running attack. He had one tackle, one sack and one tackle for a loss. It felt like he was more of a factor than it appeared in those statistics.
Nate Allen - Allen accounted for two takeaways in this game. He recovered one fumble and picked off a Tony Romo pass late in the game. Allen looked solid throughout the game and needs to play at this level more frequently down the home stretch if the Eagles want to make a deep run in the playoffs.
LeSean McCoy - McCoy put up another triple-digit rushing performance. He deserves an 'A', but I have very little tolerance for turnovers. The fumble he had was the only blemish on an otherwise very solid day. McCoy carried it 25 times for 159 yards and one touchdown to help lead the Eagles to a blowout victory over the Cowboys.
Cary Williams - Williams has struggled in some games and played well in others. He played well against the Cowboys and knocked down three passes in the game. Williams was also credited with three tackles.
Riley Cooper - Cooper had a mixed game. He made some tough catches and did not make some others. He criticized Jeremy Maclin earlier in the week for not coming out of the game very much then got into a bit of an argument with Mark Sanchez after Sanchez had to call a timeout. The very next play Cooper dropped a pass over the middle and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal. Cooper finished with four receptions for 32 yards.
Bradley Fletcher - Fletcher continues to aggravate me. You can probably count on one hand just how many times he turns around to defend a pass. Typically he has his back to the ball and is trying to catch up to the receiver that just beat him. Too often Fletcher gives up big plays that help to move the chains. That happened again in this game when Fletcher was beat by Dez Bryant for a big gain. The Cowboys scored a touchdown later that drive. Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis has hinted that he has thought about benching Fletcher. It's time to sit him down and see if someone can do the job better.