Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Washington
The Philadelphia Eagles opened the season without seven starters who were all dealing with injuries. They hoped Running Back Miles Sanders and Right Tackle Lane Johnson could play, but both were eventually unable to go in week one.
As a result, the offensive line was inconsistent and the rushing attack was not much of an attack. The Eagles totaled just 57 yards on the ground.
The Eagles started fast and jumped out to a 17 point lead before giving up 27 unanswered points the rest of the game to lose 27-17. The 17-point blown lead is the fifth largest lead the Eagles have lost in franchise history.
Here is the report card after the loss and the first Grayson’s Grades of the season:
Dallas Goedert – Goedert looked like a featured receiver in the offense. He caught a bunch of passes early and did a great job of adding yard to the catch. Goedert’s best catch was on a 34 yard floater that Wentz put out in front of him and over the defense. Goedert did a great job of adjusting his head around the ball when it was in the air and pulling it in for the score. He finished with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Jalen Reagor – Reagor had a pretty good debut. His highlight was catching a 55 yard bomb from Carson Wentz that helped to set up a Jake Elliott field goal in the first half. While that was his only catch, he did get behind the defense a couple of times and unfortunately he and Wentz could not connect. His speed was on full display and it will be a nice asset this season. He did muff the first punt he fielded and was fortunate to recover it.
Josh Sweat – Sweat was pressed into a little more action than he would have had due to Derek Barnett’s injury. Sweat took advantage. He racked up a nice sack in the game. He was also in the backfield quite a bit recording a pair of quarterback hits. Sweat finished with three tackles.
Nate Gerry – Gerry made some decent plays in this game. He started 12 games last year and is getting his shot to be a leader on that unit. Gerry led the team with ten tackles and also led the team with two tackles for a loss.
DeSean Jackson – Jackson was inconsistent in this game. He did a good job of getting behind the defense a couple of times but failed to get in sync with Wentz and turn those into completions. There were a few times that he and Wentz appeared to have some miscommunication. That should get ironed out. Jackson still has speed in this league and will help to be a downfield threat this season. He was targeted seven times but caught just two passes for 46 yards.
Carson Wentz – Wentz looked like two different quarterbacks in this game. He was in a rhythm and seemed to be in sync with most of his receivers in the first half. Wentz looked just the opposite in the second half. He was sacked eight times and perhaps some of those hits took a toll on him. The blame does not fall squarely on the offensive line as Wentz did have the opportunity to throw the ball away and avoid taking some of those sacks. He seems to battle the desire to make every play result in positive yardage with the smart play of living to see another down. He turned it over three times tossing two interceptions and fumbling it away once. Perhaps it was playing his first game facing live bullets, but his timing was off with almost all of his receivers in the second half. He had Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson open downfield twice and missed both of them. Wentz also struggled to complete passes to Zach Ertz. Those two are almost always on the same page. Wentz threw an interception late in the first half that seemed to be the turning point in the game to me. It led to a Washington touchdown before the break and allowed them to gain momentum going into the second half. Wentz has a lot to improve including knowing when to throw it away. Wentz completed 24 of 42 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.
Jim Schwartz – Schwartz was getting pressure on Dwayne Haskins at a pretty good clip in the first half. He had a good scheme that forced multiple three and outs yielding good field position for the offense and keeping Washington from being able to score. However, it appeared that he got complacent with his game plan and the pressure eased up. It allowed Haskins to get his feet under him and deliver the ball in the pocket with more confidence. When it mattered the most, his defense could not get off the field giving up third and eight, third and nine and fourth and one conversions on the 13-play 48-yard drive that gave Washington the lead.
Doug Pederson – Pederson surprised me when he came out throwing out of the gate. I think almost everybody including Washington expected him to run to setup the pass. It worked early in the game as Wentz threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half. However, I question why Doug Pederson felt the need to push the ball downfield again late in the first half with a 17-0 lead and due to get the ball to start the second half. He said after the game that he wanted to keep his foot on the gas pedal. We have seen teams get conservative and have to try and turn it on again later when the opponent comes back. However, I don’t think going into the locker room would be seen as taking the foot off the gas pedal. He also abandoned the run early after Boston Scott had a couple of decent carries. Washington knew it and keyed on it allowing them to also take the screen game away from the Eagles. There is no excuse for giving up a 17-point lead at any level of football and especially in the NFL.
Zach Ertz – Ertz did not look like himself and it is easy to blame that on the distraction that he created this week about his contract. It very well may have been unrelated to that, but he and Wentz were not on the same page when they are usually in sync. Ertz did bring in a nice touchdown early in the game, but he dropped passes and was thrown behind on others. I am not saying Ertz should not be paid. I think he deserves a raise after what he has done in Philadelphia. That said, perhaps it is time to keep those issues behind closed doors. He caught three passes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive Line – The offensive line was put in a tough spot due to injuries; however, they also did it to themselves. Jason Peters didn’t agree to move to left tackle until the start of the week and Lane Johnson was deemed inactive as a game-time decision due to a sore ankle. That put two linemen into the starting lineup who had never started an NFL game before. Both were next to each other on the right side. Washington exploited that with a great pass rush and ultimately racked up eight sacks. The line also missed blocks in the run game and generally seemed out of sync at times. That will happen when the line is thrown together with few reps as a unit.