Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Philadelphia Eagles headed North up the New Jersey Turnpike looking for a much-needed win. They got just that by dominating the New York Giants 34-13.
The Eagles delivered all but a knockout blow to the Giants who fell to 1-5. More importantly, it pulled the Eagles to 3-3 and 1-0 in a weak NFC East.
The defense set the tone early and the offense cashed in when it got into the red zone. This was the best four-quarter game the Eagles played so far this season.
A better performance yielded a much better report card. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery read his quarterback perfectly improvising on Wentz evacuating the pocket and coming across the field to give him an open window to throw to resulting in a touchdown. Wentz appeared to look for Jeffery more than he has in recent weeks. He was targeted 12 times in this game and caught eight passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Carson Wentz - Wentz' mental clock has been just a bit off in regards to when he should evacuate the pocket leading to sacks or dead plays. It was spot on in the Eagles first drive of the game and he made a heck of a throw across his body to Alshon Jeffery for a touchdown. Wentz did a great job later in the game of keeping his eyes downfield and found a wide-open Nelson Agholor who went 58 yards on the play and was knocked out of bounds inside the five-yard line. Overall, Wentz looked pretty good. It was his fourth game back and each week he appears to shake off a little bit more rust. Wentz completed 26 of 36 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball two times for 14 yards.
Corey Clement - Clement provided a badly needed change-of-pace to the backfield that was missing with he and Sproles both out the past few weeks. Clement entered the game for the first time late in the first quarter with the Eagles in the Red Zone and had a great run to get down to the one-yard line. He eventually took it in two plays later. Clement did not get a lot of snaps, perhaps partially due to the fact that the Eagles played most of the game with a multiple possession lead. Clement carried the ball 11 times for 43 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 26 yards.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor was on in this game. He did a great job to be the only player on the field to realize Wentz' arm was hit as he threw in the first quarter and adjust to the ball in the air for a 32-yard gain and big third down conversion. Agholor later got away from some broken coverage and turned it into a gain of 58 yards. He had 90 yards receiving by halftime and finished the game with three receptions for 91 yards.
Ronald Darby - Darby played a great game. His coverage was very good and his tackling was excellent at the line of scrimmage as well. Darby dropped Odell Beckham Jr for no gain on a quick pass in the flat. Darby recorded two tackles and led the team with four passes successfully defended.
Derek Barnett - Barnett missed last Sunday's game due to an injury, but was back in the lineup against the Giants and had a positive impact on the defense. He created pressure from the edge and even got to Manning a few times. Barnett tallied two tackles and tied for the team lead with three quarterback hits.
Michael Bennett - Bennett got leverage on the edge and forced Eli Manning to fumble on his own one-yard line early in the game. That fumble was recovered by the Giants. But Bennett did a great job of creating pressure frequently in this game. Bennett recorded six tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and tied for the team lead with three quarterback hits.
Jordan Hicks - Hicks helped set the tone early in this game. He did a great job to jump in front of a receiver and deflect the ball. It was caught for an interception by Kamu Grugier-Hill. Hicks tied for the team lead in tackles with ten and added one pass successfully defended.
Doug Pederson - Pederson desperately needed to right the ship after some poorly played games by his team. He got this team ready and went on the road to win their first road game of the season and potentially bury a division opponent for good in week six. I was pleasantly surprised by Pederson's ability to manage this game with Smallwood and Clement as his primary Running Backs. He appeared to get a little more creative with some of his play calls after looking somewhat predictable in the last few games. This team was tight and badly needed not just a win, but a solid win. Pederson had them ready for that allowing this ten-day layoff to be just a little sweeter than it otherwise could have been.
Fletcher Cox - Cox was one of several defensive linemen to create tons of havoc on the Giants backfield. He was back there quite a bit and tied for the team lead with three quarterback hits. Cox also tallied six tackles and a sack in the game. He was one of several players who helped set the tone early and introduce themselves to Eli Manning frequently throughout the game.
Zach Ertz - Ertz is Wentz' favorite target and for good reason. He has great hands and rarely drops passes. He ran a great route to break away from a Linebacker in the endzone and pull in a touchdown in the first half. Ertz finished the game with seven catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Wendell Smallwood - Smallwood was the feature back in this game. With Jay Ajayi out for the rest of the season and Darren Sproles still sidelined due to injury, he got the bulk of the touches from the Running Back position. Smallwood did a pretty good job of moving the pile forward whenever he got hit. His stats were not great, but he did enough to make the Giants respect the potential to run the ball. With a 31-13 lead, he fumbled the ball but was able to recover it. He must cover that ball with both hands in a game as lopsided as that. Smallwood carried the pigskin 18 times for 51 yards. He also caught one pass for zero yards.
Jalen Mills - Mills pinched in and overcommitted giving up an open lane that Barkley hit for a 47-yard gain. He also appeared to get beat on a post route downfield. Mills has been good in the red zone and broke up a shot at the endzone at one point. However, he has been giving up big chunks of yards between the 20's. Mills tied for the team lead with ten tackles and a pair of passes successfully defended.