Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Vikings
The Philadelphia Eagles returned to the site of their Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots. They failed to find the same magic they had that February night.
The Eagles kicked off the first game of a three game road trip with a bad loss. The Minnesota Vikings owned the Eagles for most of the contest and eventually won it 38-20.
The Vikings marched down the field on their opening drive and took advantage of mismatches on the corners throughout the game. Kirk Cousins had a career day passing for 333 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
Stefon Diggs was Cousins favorite target catching seven passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
The Eagles defense looked horrendous. They gave up more than 100 rushing yards for the first time all season. That allowed the Vikings passing attack to have success.
It was not a good day for the Eagles and the latest report card reflects that.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery has really become a frequent target of Wentz' since his return a couple of weeks ago. He had a good day individually against the Vikings catching ten passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jeffery and the rest of the offense functions so much better with a deep threat opposite him and the Eagles are hoping Desean Jackson can return next week to provide that.
Hassan Ridgeway - Ridgeway is certainly attempting to answer the question, who should play on the inside of the defensive line next to Fletcher Cox? Ridgeway did a great job of creating some havoc and making some big tackles. He finished with three tackles including two tackles for a loss.
Brandon Graham - Graham made some nice plays in this game that included a sack and a tackle for a loss. He was close to making more plays but couldn't quite get to Cousins in time. Graham has had a pretty solid season. But the defensive line struggled to contain the running game. Graham recorded the Eagles' only sack of the game. He also had four tackles including one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit.
Miles Sanders - Sanders has established himself as a real threat in the passing game out of the backfield. He found success downfield in this game on multiple occasions including a 32 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Sanders finished with three receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. He also added three carries for six yards.
Jordan Howard - Howard earned the lead running back role after several weeks of delivering some punishing runs. He found some success in this game on the ground. Howard led the team with 13 carries for 49 yards. He averaged nearly four yards per carry, which is not bad at all. Howard needs to continue to move the pile for three to four yards every time and attempt to wear down the opposing defensive line.
Carson Wentz - Wentz struggled in this game, but it was not all his fault. The offensive line did not do a great job protecting him and at times Wentz was running for his life and trying to make plays after evacuating the pocket. He forced some throws as the offense was trying to play catchup the entire game. Wentz completed 26 of 40 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns as well as one interception. He also carried it twice for 23 yards.
Zach Ertz - Ertz had a hard time finding room to catch the ball. The Vikings did a good job shadowing him and clearly tried to take him away as an option for Wentz. Wentz still tried to fit it into some tight windows to Ertz. He targeted Ertz nine times but the two only managed to complete four of those passes for 54 yards. Ertz made a nice catch over the middle in the fourth quarter but then fumbled it just before his knee hit the turf. He rarely fumbles and was visibly upset with himself over the costly mistake.
Doug Pederson - Once again the Eagles got off to a horrible start. They deferred after winning the coin toss and allowed the Vikings to march 75 yards in 13 plays and take a 7-0 lead. The offense followed that up by going three and out and suddenly the Eagles were already working out of a bad spot. They managed to cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter but the Vikings scored two more times to put it away. Pederson tried to set the tone with the running game, but the passing game struggled almost the entire way. Pederson elected to pass up an easy field goal late in the first half for a fake field goal. It failed miserably with Jake Elliott throwing an interception. Pederson needs to convince Howie Roseman to make some moves before the trade deadline.
Andre Dillard - Dillard struggled when he came into the game early for an injured Jason Peters. He got beat multiple times by the opposing pass rusher and it resulted in pressure or even hits and sacks on Carson Wentz. The rookie struggled to deal with what the Vikings threw at him. He needs more work with the starting line and time to get used to playing alongside Brandon Brooks. There is a lot of upside for Dillard, but the veterans got the better of him in this game.
Sidney Jones - Jones had his issues trying to cover Vikings receivers. Their game plan included picking on him early and it worked. Adam Thielen took advantage of him out there.
Rasul Douglas - Douglas had his issues covering Vikings receivers as well. He got beat deep by Stefon Diggs for a long touchdown.
Craig James - James got his opportunity to try and cover the Vikings receivers and also failed just like Jones and Douglas. Stefon Diggs beat him in the endzone for a touchdown. James tried to force him out before he could get both feet down for the catch, but was unable to get him to land out of bounds.