Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Commanders
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles faced adversity and trailed for the first time in the second half all season. They could not overcome four turnovers and ultimately lost to the Commanders 32-21.
Now we will get to see how this team responds following a loss. The Eagles were outplayed on both sides of the ball. They appeared to beat themselves turning it over four times when they turned it over three times all season entering this game.
The Eagles still lead the NFC East by one game over the Giants and two games over the Cowboys. They will try to bounce back next week at the Colts.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
CJ Gardner-Johnson - CJ had another interception increasing his league lead in that category to six. This one came at a good time to help take the ball away in the second half and try to help the offense get something going. Gardner-Johnson had two successful passes defended. He also added six tackles.
DeVonta Smith - Smith had a good game on his birthday. He caught the touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that brought the Eagles to within two points. He did a good job of making the catch and coming out of the route to make a man miss and score. Smith caught six passes for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Javon Hargrave - Hargrave racked up a bunch of tackles but a lot of those were several yards down the field due to a successful rushing attack by the Commanders. He led the Eagles with 13 tackles. Hargrave also added a sack in this game.
Jalen Hurts - I believe Hurts was hampered by some poor play-calling. The Eagles were very pass heavy and the Commanders were able to key on that throughout the first half. The offense was able to get in more of a rhythm in the second half thanks to more rushing plays. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter Hurts did make a great throw to Quez Watkins for a 50 yard completion. Watkins fumbled the ball after the catch. Hurts completed 17 of 26 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He added six carries for 28 yards and another touchdown. Hurts did throw one interception. It was a ball thrown up for grabs to AJ Brown in double-coverage. It was almost completed but ultimately intercepted by the Commanders.
Josh Sweat - Sweat made a huge play early in the game. His sack and forced fumble in the first quarter led to the first score of the game and a 7-0 Eagles lead. The Commanders did a good job of adjusting to the early pass rush and Sweat was limited in some opportunities the rest of the way. He also missed some time due to injury but managed to shake it off and get back in the game. Sweat finished the game with three tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
Quez Watkins - Watkins cannot fumble the ball after a 50 yard completion. That is what happened in the fourth quarter. This game was still very much within reach at that point. Watkins caught the ball while diving. He was untouched and got up to try and break away from the defense. That is when he fumbled it. Watkins did his job throughout the rest of the game. He finished with four catches for 80 yards. But that fumble is what will be remembered from this game.
Jonathan Gannon - Gannon could not find a way to stop the run and the Commanders were dominating the time of possession. It did several things. It prevented the Eagles offense from getting back on the field. It also created long, time-consuming drives for the Commanders. His defense was awful on third down. They allowed 12 of 21 third-down conversions. They also allowed the Commanders to have the ball for more than 40 minutes of the game.
A.J. Brown - Brown is having a great first season with the Eagles. This was his worst game with the team. He finished with just one catch for seven yards. Brown did leave the game for a bit in the first half but did return. Brown was targeted four times but could not make some of those catches as he was hit right as the ball arrived.
Shane Steichen - Steichen's offense struggled to do much of anything after the early scoring. They could not sustain drives and turned it over way too much. Steichen did make an adjustment to incorporate more rushing plays in the second half but it was too little too late.
Fletcher Cox - Cox had a hard time trying to slow down the rushing attack up the middle. He recorded seven tackles but many times that was several yards down the field. Cox needs to do a better job of winning the battle at the point of contact.
Brandon Graham - Graham committed a penalty on a play that would have given the Eagles the ball back with about 90 seconds remaining in the game. For what it is worth, I did not think it was a penalty. Taylor Heinicke took a knee after running around a bit and appeared like he could pop back up. Graham tried to slow himself down and hit Heinicke. Heinicke flopped like a pro and drew the flag. Graham admitted he can't make that mistake and like a pro, he took it on the chin. Graham also added two tackles.
Nick Sirianni - Sirianni looked shocked on the sideline watching this game. He seemed stunned that his defense could not get off the field and his offense could not get into a rhythm. The Eagles were outcoached by the Commanders. They tried to make adjustments and those adjustments started to work but the Eagles beat themselves. That boils down to the Head Coach and shows that the team was not completely focused on the task at hand. Now the challenge for Sirianni is to get his team to treat the Colts like a punching bag next week when he returns to Indianapolis.