Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Giants
PHILADELPHIA - It was an ugly game, but the Eagles pulled it out in the final minute and moved back into first place in the NFC East with a 22-21 win over the New York Giants.
The Eagles trailed by 11 points with more than five minutes remaining and found a way to pull it out. Carson Wentz led his team on back-to-back 70-plus yard touchdown drives for his tenth career fourth quarter come from behind victory.
The Eagles defense gave up some big plays and some long drives, but came up with a huge play to end the game when they needed it most. Brandon Graham stripped Daniel Jones and Vinny Curry recovered it. That preserved the 22-21 victory.
Lane Johnson and DeSean Jackson both returned to the lineup for the first time in a couple weeks. However, neither player was able to finish the game after suffering more injuries in this one.
The Eagles are now half a game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys who visit the Washington Football Team on Sunday.
The saying is you would rather win ugly than lose pretty. The Eagles did that, but have to face the music in terms of this week's report card. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Richard Rodgers - Rodgers stepped in for the injured Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and played well. He was a reliable target for Wentz and worked himself open giving Wentz some nice windows to through the ball through. He made a nice catch on the run to get the game-winning drive started with a solid 11 yard reception. Rodgers led the team with six receptions and also led the team with 85 receiving yards.
Boston Scott - Scott filled in admirably for the injured Miles Sanders. He made some solid gains on the ground and made the biggest play of the game when he caught the game-winning touchdown. It showed great focus on his part to catch it, maintain control of the ball as he went to the ground and get a knee in before going out of bounds. Scott carried the ball 12 times for 46 yards. He also caught three passes for 46 yards and the winning touchdown.
Travis Fulgham - Fulgham had another solid game for the Eagles. He was a reliable target once again. He also made some huge plays that won't show up in the box score. Fulgham drew multiple penalties that significantly helped the Eagles go down the field in the fourth quarter. Fulgham caught five passes for 73 yards.
Greg Ward - Ward continues to be a steady receiver for Wentz. He catches just about everything thrown his way. Ward made a great grab on the first touchdown in the fourth quarter. It appeared to be a tough pass to hold onto as the defender swatted at his hands as he was going to the ground. Ward caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Graham - Graham's biggest contribution was definitely his strip of Daniel Jones with less than 40 seconds left in the game to ice it. He beat his man and did exactly what he did in Super Bowl LII when he knocked the ball away from Tom Brady. Graham was in the backfield every now and then and did harass Jones at other points of the game. Graham tied for fourth on the team with four tackles. He added a sack and a tackle for a loss as well as a quarterback hit.
Fletcher Cox - Cox is still a key factor on the Defensive Line. He does not show up as much in the box score but his impact is huge. He did a good job of sniffing out a screen in the first half. He also did get to Jones occasionally. Cox tied for fourth on the team with four tackles. He also added a pair of tackles for a loss.
Jalen Mills - Mills came up with a huge interception in this game. This defense has struggled to force turnovers but did force three of them in this one and his interception was nice. Mills also did a decent job of coming up to make tackles. He did however seem to be a little late occasionally in recognizing where and when help was needed. Overall, not a bad game turned in by Mills. He tied for fourth on the team with four tackles and added a quarterback hit and one pass successfully defensed.
DeSean Jackson - Jackson returned to the lineup and was featured heavily in the opening possession. Jackson started the game with an end around for 12 yards. He also added two receptions for 19 yards on that drive that ended with` a touchdown. However, Jackson virtually disappeared from the stats for a while. He finished the game with three receptions for 34 yards. However, Jackson appeared to suffer a bad knee injury prior to the game-winning touchdown. Jackson was back to field a punt and tried to return it. He was tackled and was fine but suffered a late hit after that and rolled over his knee. Jackson came out of the game and did not return.
Derek Barnett - Barnett showed some flashes of that quick move he has to get off the line of scrimmage and generate a rush. He was able to get to Daniel Jones a few times. He also recorded a sack in this game. Barnett needs to continue to build off of a game like this. He led the team with three quarterback hits and added two tackles including a sack and a tackle for a loss.
Carson Wentz - Wentz once again did not play a perfect game. However, he did come up with the big plays when he needed them. He led this team to victory after trailing by 11 with around five minutes remaining in the game. Wentz connected with John Hightower on a deep ball. He also did a good job of gaining some yards with his legs and did score a touchdown on the ground. Once again he got sacked multiple times and some of them were his fault for holding onto the ball when he could have got rid of it. This was yet another game featuring a Wentz interception as well. On that throw he should have thrown it out of the endzone. Instead, he tried to give his receiver a play on the ball with two Giants in the vicinity. Wentz deserves a lot of credit for this win, but also admitted that the team left a lot of points on the field. They got into the red zone eight times but scored on just three of those eight trips. That is nowhere near good enough. Wentz completed 25 of 43 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Doug Pederson - Pederson came out of the gate with a good script in this game. His team opened the game with tempo and some positive plays. Ultimately they marched down the field and scored a touchdown capping off an 11-play 75-yard drive. Pederson saw his team make eight trips inside the red zone and score on just three of those trips. They missed a short field goal. They also turned it over inside the five yard line when they failed to score on fourth and goal. The Eagles also must improve on third down. They failed to convert on multiple third-and-one situations. Ultimately they were four for 13 on third down attempts. Pederson is also in a drought on two-point conversions. They were 0-for-2 on two-point conversions in this game. Pederson deserves credit for winning a game they had to win. However, it was far from a well-played game.
Cre'Von LeBlanc - LeBlanc was picked on in this game. Golden Tate seemed to have a favorable matchup against him and exploited it. He either caught passes against him or drew penalties. LeBlanc at times failed to turn around and play the ball which made it easier for the officials to throw flags against him. Ultimately he recorded a pair of tackles in this one.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz' defense came into this game giving up an average of 29 points per game. They did stay below that but not by much. Once again, they bent and broke multiple times. When this defense was at its best a few years ago it would give up some chunk yardage plays and allow teams to move the ball, but ultimately found a way to stand tall in the end and give up field goals more often than touchdowns. The Giants got into the red zone twice and scored touchdowns both times. If this team is going to eventually win this division and hope to make any kind of noise in the playoffs it will have to feature a defense that gives up field goals and not as many touchdowns.
Jake Elliott - Elliott missed a 29 yard field goal late in the first half that could have made the Eagles attempts at winning the game easier. He has been struggling lately. That miss nearly cost them this game. He owes a lot of gratitude to his teammates for taking him off the hook. However, he may not be so lucky in the future. I can live with a miss from 50 yards or more away. But anything 40 yards and in has to be made in the NFL.