Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs Patriots
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles scored the first ten points of the game, but the New England Patriots scored the final 17 points to avenge their loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
The Patriots 17-10 victory featured a solid performance by the Eagles defense, but an overall poor showing by the Philadelphia offense.
The Eagles took a 10-0 lead when they marched 95 yards down the field on 16 plays and finished that drive with a touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Dallas Goedert. A Wentz sack-fumble gave the Patriots a short field and that drive ended with a field goal.
The Eagles defense bent but did not break throughout most of the game. The Patriots only touchdown came on a trick play when Tom Brady threw a backwards pass across the field to Julian Edelman who then threw a strike to a wide-open Phillip Dorsett.
The Eagles failed to cross midfield throughout most of the second half. The loss drops the Eagles to 5-5 overall. They are one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. The Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Zach Ertz - Ertz was believed to be a weapon the Patriots would try and take away from the Eagles offense. However, he finished the game as the leading receiver hauling in nine passes for 97 yards. He was open on a couple of routes in the fourth quarter and Wentz missed him. Ertz said in the locker room after the game that he was frustrated and needs to do more to help the team win.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert did a great job on a screen pass weaving behind his blockers and gaining 21 yards. A little later he hauled in the first touchdown of the game giving the Eagles a 10-0 lead. Goedert had some opportunities in the second half but had tight windows to try and catch the ball. The Patriots had tighter coverage on him and Wentz did not lead him well on some of his crossing routes. Goedert finished the game with three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Kamu Grugier-Hill - Grugier-Hill had a pretty solid game. He did a great job helping to stuff the run. In fact, he led the team with three tackles for a loss. Grugier-Hill also finished tied for third on the team with five tackles.
Ronald Darby - Darby's coverage was very solid throughout the game. He was tested on multiple opportunities and had his man pretty well covered. He also did a great job to stay at home on a trick play attempt by the Patriots when they had a receiver make a backward pass to Tom Brady who chucked it downfield and Darby broke it up. Darby led the team with two pass breakups. He also finished tied for third on the team with five tackles.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz probably deserved an 'A'. His game plan was solid and managed to hold Tom Brady without a touchdown pass. His defense did a good job staying at home most of the time to stop some of the misdirection and run plays that the Patriots threw at the Eagles. The defense could have used a little more pressure on Brady, but overall did find ways to disrupt some of his pass attempts.
Miles Sanders - With Jordan Howard sidelined by injury, Sanders had a chance to get more touches. The Patriots did a pretty good job of taking Sanders away from the passing game where he has found success earlier this season. Most of the time he tried to vacate the backfield, he was closely followed by a defensive back. Sanders carried the ball 11 times for 38 yards. He also caught two passes for nine yards.
Nathan Gerry - Gerry was having a decent game until the first Patriots possession of the second half. He had Rex Burkhead lined up and didn't bring him down. Burkhead turned what should have been a short gain into a 30 yard gain. That drive ended with a Patriots touchdown. Gerry made up for it a bit when he got to Brady and threw him for a sack in the third quarter. It was the only sack the Eagles got on the Patriots.
Doug Pederson - Pederson did a great job of putting together a game plan that allowed the Eagles to move the ball and control the clock in the first half. Short passes worked as well as run plays and when the Eagles did run the ball they managed to gain solid yardage to keep moving closer to the first down marker. The Eagles marched methodically down the field on a drive that covered 95 yards on 16 plays and ate up 9:33 of the clock. On that drive, Tackle Lane Johnson was carted off the field with a head injury. Without Johnson, this offense failed to do much at all. Pederson could not get his offense to do anything and the Patriots knew it.
Carson Wentz - Wentz did not play well. He definitely missed some open receivers, particularly along the sideline. He also held onto the ball too long and took some unnecessary sacks. Wentz fumbled the ball twice and lost one of those fumbles on a sack that gave the Patriots the ball at the Philadelphia 22 yard line. Wentz led the Eagles on a drive covering 95 yards on 16 plays and took 9:33 off the clock. On that drive, Tackle Lane Johnson was carted off due to head injury. Without Johnson, Wentz appeared to keep his eyes more focused on the pass rush than looking downfield for an open target. He has to do a better job of keeping that mental clock running and learning that just throwing it away is more useful than extending a play and taking a sack. Wentz completed 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor appears lost. His postgame interview session at his locker featured a frustrated player who reminded me more of the Agholor we saw in his first two years than the clutch receiver he was in the Super Bowl season. A key moment in this game took place late when Wentz had to put a lot of air under a ball due to a pass rush intended for Agholor in the back of the endzone. Agholor had a chance to make the game-tying touchdown catch. But it went off his hands and fell incomplete. Granted, it was going to be a touch catch. Agholor insisted afterwards that he saw the ball the entire way. However, watching the replay multiple times showed otherwise. I don't believe he saw it until late and therefore was unable to adjust his body position to make the catch easier. Tracking the ball downfield has been a consistent problem for him this season leading to numerous incompletions on passes that otherwise could have been caught. Agholor was targeted nine times but only caught four passes for 40 yards.
Boston Scott - I understand why Scott played as much of a role in this game as he did. He was serviceable as a Running Back. The grade he got was mostly due to his performance on special teams. Scott made returning kicks an adventure. He fumbled a kickoff and was fortunate that it went out of bounds. Scott later nearly dropped a punt that he caught over his shoulder. At the end of the game he let a Patriots punt bounce which cost the Eagles a few yards and more importantly precious seconds off the clock. Scott has to do better if he is going to fill that role.
Offensive Line - The Eagles offensive line opened the game on fire. They were winning the battle at the line of scrimmage on almost every play. Their success was a big reason for the impressive 95 yard drive spanning 16 plays that ended with a touchdown. However, once Lane Johnson left the game due to a head injury, the line lost all sense of chemistry and success. They gave up sacks, pressure and did not control the line of scrimmage or win blocks to help the running game. Should Johnson miss next week's game due to this head injury, the line will have to play much better to help the offense move the ball against the Seahawks.