Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Redskins
PHILADELPHIA - It took until December, but the Philadelphia Eagles finally won back-to-back games after knocking off the Redskins 28-13. It was the first time they accomplished that feat since winning the Super Bowl in February.
The Eagles have struggled to score in the first quarter failing to score a single nine times in the opening frame. That was not the case in this game as the Eagles took the opening drive 75 yards on 12 plays culminating in a Carson Wentz to Golden Tate touchdown.
The Eagles defense played pretty well with the exception of one play. The Redskins went to third string Quarterback Mark Sanchez after Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game due to an ankle injury. Sanchez' first play was a handoff to Adrian Peterson and he did not stop running until he reached the endzone 90 yards later.
It was a win the Eagles had to have and it sets up a first place showdown when the 6-6 Eagles visit the 7-5 Cowboys in Dallas next Sunday.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Doug Pederson - Pederson has heard plenty of criticism about his team's performance in the first quarter. He answered his critics with a solid 12-play drive that covered 75 yards and ended with a touchdown. The Eagles looked sharp on that drive and were balanced too between run and pass. Pederson elected to go for it on fourth and goal from the one. I like the decision but hated the play call. Everyone plays to stop the run in that situation and the Eagles ran it for a two yard loss. In that entire series by the goal line they did not even try anything to Alshon Jeffery. It is the perfect spot to give him a jump ball. His size and strength is a huge asset on that part of the field that is under-utilized by this team. The Eagles offense continued to roll in the second half. After a touchdown pass from Wentz to Matthews, Pederson elected to go for two looking for a nine-point lead. I disagreed with that decision thinking you take an eight point lead and force any score by the Redskins to require a two-point conversion. However, it appeared Pederson went for the jugular and the knockout punch and converting it made it a two possession lead early in the fourth quarter.
Josh Adams - Adams has shown great patience to wait for a hole to open and also inside the hole to find a cutback lane. He has great vision and when he sees an opening he takes it. He had six carries for 34 yards in the first quarter. Adams continued to be consistent running the ball finishing with 85 yards on 20 carries. He has taken over as the feature back and is, pardon the pun, running with it. It's no coincidence the offense is performing better with the presence of a running game.
Golden Tate - Tate finally saw more touches in a game and he produced. He capped off the opening possession by scoring his first touchdown as an Eagle. Earlier in the drive he caught a pass floated perfectly by Wentz and turned it into a gain of 19 yards. He admitted after the game that the chemistry between Wentz and himself is starting to grow. It showed on that improvised completion. In the second half, he took a pass from Wentz and made a man miss turning that catch into a 32-yard gain. Tate led the team with 85 receiving yards on seven receptions and scored a touchdown in the game.
Zach Ertz - Ertz set the franchise record for receptions in a season passing Brian Westbrook. He caught nine passes for 83 yards bringing his total number of catches on the year to 93. Ertz was once again a reliable target for Wentz and helped move the chains frequently in this game. He is having an amazing season and will need to keep it going down the home stretch.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz finally had the chance to see his defense play with a lead. That coupled with the offense continuing to add points made this game feel a lot like some did a year ago. The Eagles made the Redskins one-dimensional based on stopping the run and the game situation. It allowed the defensive line to pint its collective ears back and go after Mark Sanchez. The only real blemish on the defense was a 90-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson. Other than that, the defense tackled much better and played much better. The Redskins rushed for a total of 104 yards with 90 of them coming on one play.
Fletcher Cox - Cox appeared to have an extra gear on the opening possession. He tracked down Chris Thompson from behind on third down and leveled him to force a punt. Cox was a menace to the Redskins wreaking havoc on the pass rush and allowing some of his teammates to get home. Cox got to Sanchez in the fourth quarter for a sack. He finished with three tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Rasul Douglas - Douglas got beat by Josh Doctson for a 32-yard gain. However, he rebounded nicely on the next two plays stopping one completion for no gain and another for a two-yard loss. Douglas added another nice tackle on a trick play by the Redskins. He made a great one-on-one play to force a punt. Douglas led the team with seven tackles including one tackle for a loss.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor made some big grabs in this game. He got in front of a defender to catch a ball on a post pattern that was perfectly thrown by Carson Wentz. It went for a 39-yard gain. Agholor finished with four receptions for 56 yards.
Carson Wentz - Wentz fit the ball into some tight spaces on the opening drive. Perhaps his best pass came as he drifted to his left buying time and floated it perfectly in-stride to Golden Tate on the sideline for a first down. He was a perfect five-for-five passing on that opening drive. Wentz had a good stat night but it could have been even better. He missed a wide-open Dallas Goedert on a screen that looked like it would have gone for big yardage. He also missed Nelson Agholor on a quick out that could have possibly gone for a touchdown. Wentz also tried to jam a ball into the endzone that got picked off and resulted in an empty red zone trip. Those kinds of things led to the grade he received. Overall, a good night for Wentz but not a great night. He completed 27 of 39 passes for 306 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Darren Sproles - Sproles played in his first game since suffering an injury in week one. He made his impact felt taking a handoff from the 14-yard line and barreling his way through a tackle and into the endzone. It gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead just before the half. Sproles returned punts and saw snaps on offense as well. He helped to provide a spark and his mere presence on the field forced the defense to account for him. Sproles carried the ball four times for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Graham - Graham worked his way through a block and hit Mark Sanchez hard for a sack forcing a fumble that Sanchez recovered. Graham finished tied for second on the team with three tackles including a sack, a tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Nathan Gerry - Gerry made a great athletic diving catch to intercept Mark Sanchez early in the fourth quarter. It helped to seal the win for the Eagles who took that ensuing possession and added to their lead. That was Gerry's first career interception and it came at a great time for the Eagles. Gerry added two tackles in the victory.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins once again moved around the field and made some plays. He did a great job pursuing Mark Sanchez as he left the pocket and eventually registered a sack. Jenkins finished with a pair of tackles including a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.