Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Bills
PHILADELPHIA - For the second straight week the Philadelphia Eagles trailed by ten at the half and came back to win the game. There were so many heroic moments in this comeback. Ultimately Jalen Hurts scored a touchdown on a 12-yard run to give the Eagles a 37-34 walk-off win in overtime.
The victory featured a 59-yard field goal by Jake Elliot in wet and windy conditions to force overtime. It also included a big sack by Brandon Graham who set the franchise record for most games played in Eagles history. There was also a blocked field goal by Jalen Carter that proved to be huge as this game played out.
The first half could not have gone much worse for the Eagles. They turned it over twice while Jalen Hurts barely completed any passes. But this team does not panic and made adjustments at the half. It resulted in outscoring the Bills in the second half and overtime 30-17.
The report card at the half featured a lot of very bad marks. But the overall grades are much more respectable. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Jalen Hurts - I kept trying to find a way to give Hurts a 'B', but when you curve his grade based on clutch moments, there was no way to give him anything other than an 'A'. Hurts had an awful first half which featured a fumble and an interception. But this team follows his lead. He did not get visibly frustrated, lose his composure or panic. He simply went back to work and the team followed. Hurts proceeded to have an amazing second half. He led the offense to five touchdown drives and points on six of their eight second half possessions. The amount of trust he showed in Olamide Zaccheus on third down as he was flushed out of the pocket was amazing. He gestured to Zaccheus to go to the back of the endzone and threw it where only his guy could catch it. That touchdown gave the Eagles a 28-24 lead. Hurts later used a great block by Jason Kelce to get free and score the walk-off touchdown in overtime. He accounted for five total touchdowns, three of them through the air and two on the ground. Hurts completed 18 of 31 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried it 14 times for 65 yards with one interception and one fumble lost.
Brandon Graham - Graham had a big second half sack in his 189th game as a Philadelphia Eagle. He now holds the franchise record for games played passing former kicker David Akers. Graham's fourth-quarter sack forced a punt which at the time helped protect a four-point lead for the Eagles. Graham finished the game with two tackles, the only sack in the game for the Eagles and a quarterback hit.
Jalen Carter - Carter had a great game even though it did not show up in a big way in the box score. Carter's biggest play was leaping and blocking a first half field goal attempt. He also was winning his battle at the line of scrimmage and pushing his opponent back into the pocket. He failed to ultimately get to and bring down Josh Allen, but still helped create some pressure. Carter tallied four tackles including one tackle for a loss.
D'Andre Swift - I continue to beat the D'Andre Swift drum. This man needs touches because ultimately he makes a big play. I continue to enjoy watching his running style. His patience waiting for a hole to open and inside the hole to allow a secondary path to open is amazing. His vision is great and he had a huge 36-yard run in this game. Swift also had a 16 yard run in overtime that set up the Jalen Hurts game-winning run. Swift averaged 5.7 yards per carry. He rushed 14 times for 80 yards. Swift also caught one pass for four yards.
James Bradberry - Bradberry set a career-high with five passes successfully defended in this one. He also came up with a huge interception in the fourth quarter. Bradberry jumped a route and picked off Josh Allen's pass setting up great field position. It led to a touchdown pass by Hurts. Bradberry had three tackles and five passes defended. He was targeted 15 times by Josh Allen and allowed just six completions for 62 yards and a touchdown with that big interception as well. He held Allen to a 42.4 passer rating against him.
Olamide Zaccheus - Sometimes your opportunity to impact a game can be boiled down to limited snaps and potentially even just one play. Zaccheus made his one play count in a huge way. After Jalen Hurts broke the pocket, he gestured to Zaccheus to go to the back of the endzone. Zaccheus did that and Hurts put a pass where only his receiver could get it. Zaccheus created enough separation to leap, catch it and get his feet down for the touchdown. It was third down and the Eagles needed a play. Hurts' trust in Zaccheus in that moment to make that throw was amazing. Zaccheus had that one catch for 29 yards and a touchdown. It was his only target of the game.
Jordan Davis - Davis is an amazing human. This guy is enormous, but moves laterally in ways someone his size should not. Davis is such a big factor in helping to stop the run. One of his biggest plays was in overtime. Josh Allen broke the pocket and Davis chased him. He managed to keep up and force Allen out of bounds before getting the corner. It showed amazing heart, hustle, determination and freakish speed for a guy his size. Davis finished the game with five tackles.
Kevin Byard - Byard seems to be getting more and more comfortable in this defense. He just joined the team via trade a little over a month ago. Byard was flying all over the field and helping to make tackles. In fact, he led the Eagles with 13 tackles in this game. I really like and appreciate his veteran experience on the back end and enjoy seeing him paired up back there with Reed Blankenship.
Reed Blankenship - Blankenship's greatest quality is just reacting to each and every play. He doesn't think during a play, he just reacts. More often than not, his reaction leads to a good tackle or a big play. Blankenship is a good tackler who rarely misses one. He finished with 11 tackles.
DeVonta Smith - Smith is such a reliable and trusted receiver. He makes big catch after big catch and was a key player in this win. He had several big catches in crunch time to help the Eagles move the ball down the field. Smith also did a good job of focusing and making a big touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter to cut their deficit to 24-21. Smith had seven receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Darius Slay - Slay was very good, and also got lucky in overtime. First the good part. Slay played 95 snaps. Josh Allen was one-for-five for just 22 yards and a 39.5 passer rating when targeting him. Now the lucky. Slay slipped and was fortunate that Gabe Davis broke towards the sideline when Allen floated a pass that would have won the game toward the inside of the field. That miscommunication resulted in an incomplete pass and forced the Bills to settle for a field goal. Slay finished with four tackles including two passes successfully defended.
Jake Elliott - Elliott is about as clutch of a kicker as there has been in the league in some time. He has made so many clutch kicks and this one that forced overtime just might be the best kick of his career. Elliott had to make a 59-yard attempt with 20 seconds left in regulation on a wet field in rainy and windy conditions and he did not miss. This guy has ice in his veins and does not let any moment get too big for him.
Braden Mann - Mann deserves a ton of credit for his performance. While the offense was struggling big time in the first half, Mann was doing his best to help flip the field. He was called on to punt five times in this game. Mann booted every single one of them well in wet and windy conditions. He averaged 53.8 yards per punt which played a big role in the outcome of this game. Mann's longest punt traveled 59 yards and he had one downed inside the 20.
Christian Elliss - Elliss was thrust into some key moments of this game after Zach Cunningham left due to a hamstring injury. The Bills started to pick on him and Elliss did give up some plays. There was a touchdown pass to Gabe Davis where the Bills faked a run to draw Elliss closer to the line and threw the touchdown right over his head. Overall, Elliss was placed in a difficult spot, but did not do a bad job in those spots. He finished with seven tackles including one tackle for a loss.
Nick Sirianni - Sirianni and his staff have done a good job of making adjustments at halftime. He clearly pushed the reset button at halftime and got his players to never give up. Sirianni has created a culture where this team never believes they are out of a game. They have trailed by ten at the half in consecutive weeks to the Chiefs and the Bills and come back to win both of them. The key now is to avoid trailing by ten at the half. Clearly this team needs to play better in the first half.
Brian Johnson - Johnson had an awful game plan in the first half. Sure, it did not help that he found out that morning that Lane Johnson was not going to be able to play. That thrust Jack Driscoll in at right tackle. That had an impact. The Bills appeared to pick on Driscoll and Jalen Hurts did not appear to keep his eyes downfield for long before worrying about pressure on that right side. Adjustments were clearly made to help Driscoll and allow Hurts to run the offense. Johnson does still call plays that baffle me. However, I do feel the second half in each of the last two weeks shows the ability to adjust. Johnson and Hurts need to focus on doing a better job in the first half, which in turn would make their job easier later in the game.
Sean DeSai - DeSai's defense made big plays when they needed to. The James Bradberry interception was huge. However, his defense appears to struggle against good running quarterbacks. Josh Allen used his legs to deflate the Eagles on third down. The Bills were able to convert way too many third and long situations helped by Allen's ability to scramble and run. The Eagles did not appear to use a spy or if they did, it was not done well. But one characteristic of this defense is that it can avoid breaking at key moments in a game. They also got lucky when Josh Allen's pass to Gabe Davis in overtime fell incomplete due to a miscommunication when Davis beat Darius Slay after Slay slipped.
Jack Driscoll - Driscoll had a clear 'F' in the first half. In fairness to him, he only found out he was starting that morning after Lane Johnson was downgraded to Questionable due to a groin injury. Driscoll gave up frequent pressures in the first half. To his credit, he played much better in the second half and that allowed the offense time it needed to operate and be successful. Hurts seems to struggle to trust that Driscoll will protect that right side and in my opinion fails to keep his eyes downfield for long as a result.
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