Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Bears
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles picked up their tenth win of the season before December by destroying the Chicago Bears 31-3. The Eagles have scored 25 or more points in nine straight games. They have also scored 30 or more points in five straight.
The Eagles dominated the game in every way possible.
They have all but clinched the division title as they lead the Dallas Cowboys by five games with five games remaining. They can now start setting their sights on a first round bye and the top seed in the NFC.
At 10-1 the Eagles own the best record in the NFL. They will pack their bags for a long west coast road trip visiting Seattle and remaining out west for the week leading up to their game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Report cards have looked excellent this season and that trend continued after this game. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Carson Wentz - Wentz either has an extra pair of eyes in the back of his head or just an insane amount of awareness in the pocket. He made an amazing spin move as he looked to almost certainly get sacked. Wentz spun into open grass and ran for a first down. It was impressive awareness of the rush and knowing where he could go safely. It was a demoralizing play for the Bears defense. The Eagles scored later that drive. Wentz progressed through his reads very well as the offensive line gave him time to find open receivers. He made some great throws and had three touchdown passes by halftime. Wentz completed 23 of 36 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He also added five carries for 29 yards. Wentz did not play the final quarter and a half due to the lopsided score.
Zach Ertz - Ertz is the first 100-yard receiver for the Eagles this season. He got the game started by showing great concentration after nearly dropping a pass on the opening possession. Ertz was able to grab it and hold on before it hit the ground. A little later, he ran a beautiful route. Ertz made the safety think he was going to the corner of the endzone and cut it back to the post for a wide-open touchdown. He is playing at a pro bowl level and certainly a big part of the Eagles success. His play over the middle has certainly helped free up Alshon Jeffery and the numbers show that over the past few weeks. Ertz caught ten passes for 103 yards and one touchdown.
Brandon Graham - Graham had a great game and set a new career high for sacks in a season when he got to Mitchell Trubisky on the Bears first possession of the second half. It was his seventh sack this year. Graham finished tied for most tackles on the team with five of them. That includes a sack, two tackles for a loss, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble.
Fletcher Cox - Cox added to his sack total this season. He got to Mitchell Trubisky in the second half and brought him down as he was trying to escape a collapsing pocket. Cox also did a great job helping to shut down the Bears running game. Cox tallied one tackle in the game, it was a sack. He also recorded a pair of quarterback hits.
Tim Jernigan - Jernigan has been a beast lately for the Eagles defense. He combined with Cox are occupying a lot of space and manpower to block them in the middle of the line. Jernigan made three tackles on the Bears first seven plays of the game. Jernigan ended the game with those three tackles.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz has his defense playing at an extremely high level. They took the Bears out of the game not long after it started by shutting down their running attack and forcing them to be one-dimensional. He had his guys get after Trubisky and rack up several sacks. His defense has not allowed a touchdown in more than two games. They have also only given up just 12 points in the last two games combined. Schwartz' defense forced two turnovers. The Eagles also held the Bears to 140 total yards and just six yards rushing. They held the Bears to zero first downs in the first half. It was a dominating performance.
Doug Pederson - Pederson did a great job deciding to go for it multiple times on fourth down. He converted two of three helping the Eagles ultimately reach the endzone. He saw his defense dominating the Bears and was not afraid to take the chance his team would not convert a fourth down. My only issue with Pederson's decisions today was when he chose to challenge the spot on fourth and one following a Nelson Agholor reception. The NFL rarely changes the spot of the ball by replay when it is that close to a first down. I would have rather seen him not take a chance on losing that timeout with an offense that should be able to convert on fourth and inches.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery has really turned it on of late. He entered this game with ten receptions for 151 yards in the previous two games. Jeffery added to that by catching five passes for 52 yards and one touchdowns against his former team. He was tightly covered early in the season, but the emergence of Ertz and Agholor over the middle have started freeing Jeffery up for more opportunities.
Nelson Agholor - Great job of racking up some yards after the catch and showing a great desire to find his way into the endzone on a quick pass on the outside. He leaped over a defender and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown. Agholor showed great acceleration after the catch to gain the corner and ultimately reach the endzone. He also played with great awareness. As soon as he saw Jay Ajayi fumble the ball into the endzone later in the game, he pounced on it for the score. Agholor caught three passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. He also added another touchdown on that fumble recovery in the endzone.
Jake Elliott - Elliott bounced back from his time in the concussion protocol pretty well. His only blemish on the day was a kickoff out of bounds. Other than that he did very well. He booted a 45 yard field goal in the second quarter. He also made four extra points.
Ronald Darby - Darby looked good again in his second week back from an injury that caused him to miss eight games. In the first half, Darby tipped a pass that was ultimately intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins and later fumbled on the return. Darby finished tied for most tackles on the team with five of them.
Jay Ajayi - Ajayi broke off a nice 30-yard run and nearly reached the endzone; however, he fumbled just before the goal line. Fortunately Nelson Agholor was there to recover it for a touchdown. Ajayi was trying to fight off a tackle and didn't see the defender come from the other side and swat at the ball to knock it away. He must protect the ball better when he gets in the open. If this were a close game, that fumble could have been a turning point for the other team. Ajayi finished with five carries for 26 yards.
Vinny Curry - Curry had a good day. His best play was when he read a reverse perfectly and dropped the Bears for an eight-yard loss. It was all part of the Eagles ability to stop the run and take it out of the Bears playbook. Curry recorded two tackles including one tackle for a loss.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins showed great concentration to follow a tipped pass into his hands for an interception, but the veteran has to show better judgement than to fight for a couple of extra yards on the return. He fumbled the ball back to the Bears. Jenkins has to show better judgement and go down. Other than that, Jenkins had a nice game. He finished with two tackles, one tackle for a loss, an interception and a pass successfully defended.
LeGarrette Blount - Blount ran the ball hard and ran it well in this game. However, he put it on the ground a couple of times. One fumble is hard to stomach let alone two of them. Blount is usually very sure-handed with the ball. He carried the ball 15 times for 97 yards, but also had two fumbles. That is inexcusable.