Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Falcons
The Philadelphia Eagles opened the season with a very impressive 32-6 victory in Atlanta over the Falcons. Head Coach Nick Sirianni earned a win in his debut as an NFL Head Coach. Jalen Hurts looked very good in his first start of the season and the team got solid contributions from some of the fresh young talent added to the roster.
The Eagles defense also did its part. They stepped on the Falcons' throats and suffocated their offense in the second half. The Eagles kept the Falcons out of the end zone the entire game.
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A solid performance worthy of a very good report card to open the season.
Jalen Hurts - Hurts played a solid game. He never panicked in the pocket and did a good job of deciding when to run and when to extend the play. Hurts threw a beautiful pass to DeVonta Smith for a touchdown on their opening drive. One of the biggest plays of the game was late in the first half when Smith broke the pocket, rolled out to his right and gave Dallas Goedert an opportunity to catch a touchdown pass. Goedert made a great diving catch and that gave the Eagles a 15-6 lead at the half. Hurts was not perfect and did have some underthrown balls. He had Zach Ertz wide open down the sideline but left it short and Ertz did a nice job adjusting to it for the catch. However, had Ertz been able to catch it in stride, it might have gone for a touchdown. Hurts completed 27 of 35 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also added seven carries for 62 yards.
DeVonta Smith - The first round pick lived up to the hype, at least in game one. Smith ran a crisp route to create enough room for Hurts to find him in the endzone. It was Smith's first NFL catch and it was also his first NFL touchdown. Later in the game, Hurts hooked up with Smith for four straight receptions on one drive. Ultimately DeVonta Smith caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut.
Miles Sanders - Sanders finally got closer to the 20 touch mark I have been looking for. He touched the ball 19 times in this game for 113 yards. He also did a great job picking up some blitzers in pass protection. Sanders carried the ball 15 times for 74 yards. He also caught four passes for 39 yards.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert made arguably the play of the game. His diving touchdown catch with just seconds remaining in the first half helped the Eagles grab control of the game and set a tone for the second half. It gave the Eagles a 15-6 lead. Goedert caught four passes for 42 yards and that big touchdown.
Darius Slay - Slay did a good job in coverage for the most part, especially in the second half. He nearly had an interception. In those obvious passing situations in the second half, Slay was planting his foot at the first down marker and driving towards the receiver to break up any chance of completion. Slay finished with six tackles and one pass defense.
Javon Hargrave - Hargrave introduced himself to Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan multiple times in the fourth quarter. He recorded a pair of sacks to help suffocate the Falcons offense. On the negative side, Hargrave did commit two defensive holding penalties. Those rarely seem to get called on defensive linemen. Hargrave had six tackles, two sacks, two tackles for a loss and three quarterback hits.
Hassan Ridgeway - Ridgeway was also pressuring Matt Ryan. He recorded a big sack in the fourth quarter. Ridgeway finished with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and three quarterback hits.
Nick Sirianni - Sirianni appeared to have his team focused, ready to play and on the same page. They also looked to have good team chemistry. Sirianni called a good game offensively. The Eagles ran seven plays gaining 75 yards on the opening possession of the game closing it out with an 18-yard touchdown reception. Overall, he showed good use of his timeouts. Sirianni did make three aggressive decisions. He went for it twice on fourth down and failed both times. He also decided to go for two after a penalty by the Falcons on an extra point attempt. That conversion was successful giving the Eagles a 15-6 lead at the half. He led the Eagles to an offensive outburst that racked up 434 yards of total offense and 32 points.
Jonathan Gannon - Gannon showed the ability to make in-game adjustments and that propelled this defense to suffocate the Falcons, especially in the second half. Atlanta racked up more than 140 total yards combined on the Falcons first two possessions. However, both of those possessions ended with a field goal. The defense did a much better job of that forcing numerous three and outs and punts. They also sacked Ryan three times in the fourth quarter. I also liked the way Gannon defended the passing game. His defense made rookie Kyle Pitts a non-factor. Also, after allowing three receptions to Calvin Ridley in the first half, the Eagles managed to only let him get two receptions in the second half.
Jalen Reagor - Reagor showed that you have to ignore the outside noise. He had been written off after a lackluster rookie season last year. He showed up in week one in a big way. Reagor caught a touchdown pass that helped blow this game wide open. Reagor tied for the team lead with six receptions. He also added 49 receiving yards and one touchdown in the game.
Arryn Siposs - Do not underestimate the role Rookie Punter Arryn Siposs had in this game. Three of his four punts were downed inside the 10 yard line forcing Atlanta to have to travel the length of the field to cut into the Philly lead.
Offensive Line - The offensive line overall was solid. Jordan Mailata looked good at left tackle. They ran behind him several times. Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson worked well together. They won the battles up front more often than not. Johnson committed three penalties. The Eagles committed a total of 14 penalties, some of those were on the defense but the Offensive line has room to grow in cutting down their false starts and holding. The running lanes were there as was the pass protection more often than not. If this line can stay healthy, this offense will have plenty of success.
Zach Ertz - Ertz had two targets and caught both passes thrown his way. That included a 28-yard reception down the sideline. It was a well designed route that saw Ertz wide open. It would have gone for a lot more yardage and possibly even a touchdown if Hurts had made a better throw. Ertz had to drop to the ground to make the catch. He also played a big role in DeVonta Smith's touchdown. Ertz did a good job of essentially picking the defender, but did it in a way that was not offensive pass interference. It gave Smith the room to get open and Hurts a window to throw the ball into.
Defensive Line - The Defensive Line got off to a rocky start. There were plenty of running lanes and solid pass protection for Matt Ryan in the first quarter. However, they made the adjustments and started winning those battles. They eventually dominated the line of scrimmage and ultimately got to the Quarterback recording three crucial sacks in the fourth quarter. Brandon Graham had a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit. Hargrave and Ridgeway were mentioned above. Josh Sweat had six tackles. Derek Barnett recorded a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.