Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Lions
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles once again had a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and failed losing at home to the Detroit Lions 27-24. Their two losses this season have come by a combined total of just seven points.
The Eagles fixed some of their first quarter scoring woes by putting up 10 points in that opening period. However, they also gave up a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and turned it over twice.
The Eagles had a real chance to win this game when Malcolm Jenkins blocked a field goal with less than two minutes remaining. Rasul Douglas picked it up and tacked on a solid return. However, Jenkins was flagged for a block in the back during the return and it pushed the Eagles back to midfield.
Drops and miscues once again proved to derail any comeback chance. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside could have made a huge catch on fourth and 15, but the pass hit his hands and fell to the ground ending any shot at a victory.
The Eagles are now 1-2 on the season and facing a short week. They will play Thursday night in Green Bay against the Packers.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Carson Wentz - Wentz played a pretty solid game, especially with limited weapons to utilize. He made a lot of accurate passes and was victim of numerous dropped passes and costly fumbles by his teammates. Wentz should have had a touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert but it fell harmlessly to the ground off his hands. He also could have knocked on the door of winning the game on a beautifully thrown deep ball on fourth and 15 in the final seconds of the game but it went off J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's hands and fell incomplete. Wentz seemed to do everything he could but ultimately it was not enough. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball four times for 33 yards, including a 19-yard run that setup a Jordan Howard touchdown.
Mack Hollins - Hollins had a pretty good game. Remember, he was a guy that was on the roster bubble going into cut day following the final preseason game. He made the cut and was thrust into numerous meaningful snaps on offense due to the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Hollins was targeted seven times by Wentz and caught four passes for 62 yards including several that helped move the chains for the offense.
Jordan Howard - Howard always seems to get positive yards when he touches the ball. Granted, some of his carries don't rack up big yards, but he still manages to fall forward and typically take a few of his opponents with him. Howard scored a touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Eagles a 10-7 lead. He carried the ball 11 times for 37 yards and one touchdown.
Doug Pederson - Pederson tried to do everything he could to win this game. A 100 yard kickoff return by the Lions definitely stung. Pederson was criticized for going for it on fourth down deep in their own territory with just over two minutes remaining. But I liked the call. If you punt it away you may not get another chance. Since you have to stop them anyway, you may give up a field goal but would still be able to win it with a touchdown. It worked as the Eagles held the Lions and eventually blocked a field goal attempt. However, for the second week in a row, the Eagles could not manage a late comeback victory and fall to 1-2 on the season. Pederson needs to find a way to cure his injured receivers. The Eagles have now played two games without their top two receivers and have a short week as they visit the Green Bay Packers Thursday night.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins came up huge late in the game when he blocked a field goal attempt. It gave the Eagles the ball at midfield with less than two minutes to go in the game down by three. The Eagles would have been in field goal range following the return if not for a block in the back call against Jenkins. It gave the Eagles the ball at midfield and they were unable to advance it into field goal range from there. Jenkins finished tied for third on the team with four tackles. He also added a pass successfully defended. That was a great pass breakup where Jenkins timed his leap perfectly and batted the ball away from a receiver.
Rasul Douglas - Douglas made a great play to rip the ball out of a receiver's hands in the endzone to prevent what would have been a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter. He later picked up a blocked field goal and returned it pretty well. It gave the Eagles the ball at midfield with a chance to tie or win the game. Douglas made some nice tackles. He broke on the ball well, especially short passes and managed to keep them from gaining much of anything. Douglas had two tackles, both of them were tackles for a loss. He also added a pair of pass breakups.
Miles Sanders - Sanders made two costly mistakes on the same drive. He was fortunate enough to see Isaac Seumalo dive on his first fumble in the game. Later that drive, Sanders fumbled again. This time the Lions pounced on it. On the plus side, Sanders did rack up 53 rush yards on 13 carries. He also added two receptions for 73 yards. Sanders must hold onto the ball. Fumbling it is a quick and easy way to see other backs get more carries.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor and his hands are not on the same page right now. After dropping what looked like it would have been a go-ahead touchdown last week late in the game at Atlanta, he had more issues in this game. Agholor dropped a pass on third down that would have moved the chains. Later in the first half, he caught a pass and as he was turning to make a move, fumbled it without any contact by the opponent and the Lions recovered it. Agholor redeemed himself later in the game when he caught a pass, bounced off a would-be tackler and scored a 20 yard touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter, he caught a touchdown pass from two yards out and got the Eagles back to within three points. Agholor finished with eight receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a fumble and a couple of drops.
Sidney Jones - Jones got beat in the corner of the endzone by Marvin Jones Jr. and it went for a touchdown. That gave the Lions a ten-point fourth quarter lead. Jones did defend a pass deep late in the game that would have sealed it for the Lions. He managed to bat it away from a defender who was going out of bounds. The Lions settled for a field goal that was blocked. He still gives up the occasional back-breaking play and that needs to try and be limited. Jones finished with three tackles including one tackle for a loss and one pass successfully defended.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - This may be perhaps too harsh of a grade for Arcega-Whiteside; however, given the magnitude of the play with the time and situation what it was, his drop was extremely costly. It was a well-thrown ball by Carson Wentz and despite the defender getting a hand up, the ball did not touch his hand and instead went through. It fell incomplete and essentially ended the game. If he catches that ball, the Eagles have it inside the Detroit five-yard line and likely win the game. Arcega-Whiteside caught one pass for ten yards.
Defensive Line - The defensive line in general is not doing a good enough job of generating pressure on the opposing quarterback. They are making some plays and it is not a total disappointment. The line is helping to stop the run and did create a few quarterback hurries. However, sacks have been few and far between this season and that tends to go a long way towards helping a defense get off the field. Linemen are getting into the backfield but are also failing to bring down the quarterback. Fletcher Cox does not quite appear to be at full strength and still dealing with a sore toe. Vinny Curry did his job in this one forcing two quarterback hurries. But the rest of the line is not generating a lot of positive plays. That has to change moving forward.
Kickoff Team - You have one job on kickoff coverage, go get the guy with the ball and bring him to the ground. The Eagles typically have very sound special teams units, but they made a lot of mistakes on the 100 yard kickoff return by Jamal Agnew in the first quarter. I saw several players get out of their lanes and take bad angles trying to pursue Agnew. It allowed him to break free and eventually score.