Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Bears
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles returned home for the first time in over a month and knocked off the Chicago Bears 22-14. It was a total domination early on and then the Eagles let the Bears back into the game. After taking a 19-0 lead, the Bears scored 14 unanswered before the Eagles ran 8:15 off the clock to nearly end the game.
The Eagles defense did not allow a first down until late in the first half. Meanwhile, the offense was moving the ball well, but struggled to end drives with touchdowns. Carson Wentz hit Zach Ertz for Philadelphia's only touchdown in the first half.
This was a huge win for the Eagles who carry a 5-4 record into their bye week before hosting the New England Patriots on November 17th.
A dominating win translates into a positive report card. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Jordan Howard - Howard had a decent game against his former team. He carried the ball three times for 17 yards on the opening drive which ended with a field goal. He had his number called on the opening drive of the third quarter and went into the end zone nearly untouched from 13 yards out. Howard had some big holes to run through and eventually finished with 19 carries for 82 yards and one touchdown.
Zach Ertz - Ertz has been held in check in recent weeks, but had his number called more frequently in this game. He was once again a frequent target for Wentz and that paid off when he scored the Eagles first touchdown of the game. Wentz hit Ertz over the middle for a 25 yard touchdown strike. That gave the Eagles a 12-0 lead. Ertz caught nine passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Graham - Graham set the tone early for the defense. He made a great tackle for a three yard loss on the opening drive that helped set up a three and out. Graham started Chicago's second drive by sacking Mitchell Trubisky and forcing another punt. Graham tied for the team lead with four tackles. He also added a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.
Carson Wentz - Wentz led the Eagles on multiple drives covering a lot of territory but failed to punch his team into the end zone throughout most of the first half. He did find Zach Ertz for a 25 yard touchdown strike late in the first half. Wentz was efficient in the first half, but struggled in the third quarter. However, like last week, when the Eagles needed to eat up the clock he managed to lead them on a long time consuming drive late in the fourth quarter. He scrambled at times on that drive to help move the chains. Wentz completed 26 of 39 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown.
Doug Pederson - Pederson finally got his offense to perform well in the first half. They marched down the field on their first two possessions but stalled out both times short of the end zone and had to settle for field goals. The offense did score a touchdown in the middle of the second quarter and also followed that up with a solid eight-play drive that covered 84 yards and ended with a Jordan Howard touchdown run to open up the third quarter. After that, the offense got stagnant. It appeared as if it took its foot off the gas pedal. However, Pederson got his offense to suffocate the game clock on an opponent for the second consecutive week. A long, time consuming drive iced the game and that is an important ingredient for a team with playoff aspirations to have. They must be able to put an opponent away late. Running the ball when the other team knows it is coming is not easy, but key in this victory. Pederson ran a balanced offense. The Eagles ran it 35 times and passed 39. They also held the ball for more than two-thirds of the game owning it for more than 40 minutes.
Genard Avery - Avery looked pretty good in his Eagles debut. He was acquired right before the trade deadline. Avery managed to record half of a sack. He also tallied three tackles and a quarterback hit. It is expected that Avery will get more comfortable over time in this defense and with it likely see more snaps.
Miles Sanders - Sanders is continuing to trend in the right direction. He is starting to be more patient in the hole and finish the run, meaning the run ends going downhill towards the goal line. He is looking more and more like a solid compliment to Jordan Howard's running style. Sanders continues to do a good job receiving the ball out of the backfield. Sanders carried the ball ten times for 42 yards. He also caught three passes for 31 yards.
Offensive Line - The Eagles offensive line had another solid performance. They opened some big holes for the running backs including one for Jordan Howard early in the game that they could have landed an airplane through. They appeared to win most of the battles at the line of scrimmage. The line also did a good job of protecting Wentz. They did give up four sacks. That needs to be corrected. Other than that, they again played a major role in icing this game helping to run the ball down the Bears collective throats in the fourth quarter and chewing up 8:15 off the final 8:39. Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson had a solid game.
Avonte Maddox - Maddox returned for the first time since he was carried off the field on a stretcher after a violent hit a few weeks ago. He made a few nice plays during the game, but none bigger than in the fourth quarter when he managed to bat away a third down pass and force a punt. He broke on the ball well and got his hand in there before the receiver could make the catch.
Fletcher Cox - Cox once again had one of those games where he did not blow up the stat sheet but his impact was certainly felt. There were several times on clear passing downs that he straight bull-rushed his opponent and helped rush Trubisky's throw. Cox registered two tackles and one quarterback hit. I expect his stats to grow as more and more of his teammates get healthy. Having Tim Jernigan back certainly helped as did the new acquisition of Genard Avery.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor continues to frustrate me with his lack of productivity on downfield passes. Without Desean Jackson, the Eagles are lacking a vertical passing game. They try to occasionally honor it by taking a shot at Nelson Agholor. However, it rarely ever produces a positive result. He does not get separation and appears to be more interested in trying to draw a pass interference penalty than he does in making the catch. That being said, Agholor did make a couple of nice catches in this game. One of them was on a low throw causing him to slide to get under the ball and make the catch. Agholor was targeted eight times and caught just three passes for 21 yards.