Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Redskins
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles threw a welcome back to Philly party for DeSean Jackson. Jackson last wore an Eagles uniform at Lincoln Financial Field five years ago. He scored two touchdowns and put up some big numbers in his return to help the Eagles erase a 17-0 deficit and win 32-27.
The Eagles could not get anything going offensively and could not stop the Redskins passing attack in the first half. That all changed in the third quarter when the Eagles took the opening drive of the half 75 yards in 12 plays. The defense forced a three and out on the ensuing possession. Three plays after the punt Carson Wentz hit DeSean Jackson for a 53 yard touchdown and a 21-20 lead. The Eagles never trailed again.
Philadelphia heads to Atlanta next week. But first, here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Carson Wentz - Wentz looked like he was trying to shake off some rust early in this game. He missed poorly on a couple of his passes, but then everything started to click. Wentz threw some beautiful deep passes to DeSean Jackson that went for touchdowns. He also did an excellent job of extending some plays, keeping his eyes downfield and finding an open receiver. He looked more like the Wentz we remember seeing in 2017. Wentz completed 28 of 39 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns.
DeSean Jackson - Jackson's return to Philadelphia could not have gone much better. He was brought here to be a serious deep threat and help loosen up a defense. Jackson delivered on that role by catching two deep balls that went for touchdowns. The first score came on a 51 yard strike from Carson Wentz in the second quarter. The second was a 53 yard touchdown pass from Wentz in the third quarter. Jackson finished with eight receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery did a great job of taking what Wentz gave him. He caught a variety of different types of routes. Jeffery did a great job along the sideline pulling in completions. He also was a factor in the red zone. Jeffery caught a touchdown pass from five yards out in the third quarter. He also caught a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage and scored from two yards out. It officially went in the books as a rushing touchdown. Jefferey caught five passes for 49 yards and a touchdown as well as that rushing touchdown. Clearly this was a productive day for him.
Darren Sproles - Sproles saw a much heavier workload in this game than anyone really expected. He had 12 touches on offense and also returned punts. Sproles was effective using his ability to cut quickly and his speed burst to rack up some yards. His best play of the day came on a two-point conversion. The Redskins read the play well, but Sproles planted his foot and juked those two defenders out of the way to get into the end zone. Sproles tallied 47 yards on nine carries. He added three receptions for 16 yards and returned four punts for 46 yards.
Zach Ertz - Ertz was quiet throughout the first half, but became a more consistent target after DeSean Jackson took the top off the defense. Ertz did what he typically does, he moved the chains. He did a great job of maintaining his balance on a catch by the sideline and managed to stay in bounds, reverse course and nearly score a touchdown. He was targeted seven times catching five passes for 54 yards.
Fletcher Cox - Cox received a lot of attention from the Redskins offensive line and rightfully so. He commands that kind of respect but still finds ways to make plays. Cox struggled to get anything going in the first half, but was a much bigger factor in the second half. He had two tackles and more importantly two good hits on the Keenum. That was all part of the surge that was forcing Keenum to hurry his throws.
Doug Pederson - Pederson is the kind of guy whose head you do not want to try and get inside for fear of getting hurt. I try to understand his philosophy towards using running backs and cannot figure it out. Sproles saw more touches than anyone expected him to see. Miles Sanders was having a hard time getting something going. Jordan Howard was moving the pile frequently but then back on the sideline after some productive runs. I do have to give him credit for going for two after the Eagles went up 27-20. It was smart to try and make it a two possession game. Failing to do so would have still allowed the Eagles to hold onto a touchdown lead. The Eagles were second to last in the league in first quarter points scored a year ago. They put up zero in the first quarter of this game. That is something that needs to be corrected as the season continues.
Derek Barnett - Barnett did a great job of creating some pressure on Case Keenum after he got off to a hot start. Barnett was able to get Keenum to hurry some passes causing them to fall incomplete. That is the good news. The bad news was that Barnett was flagged for some bad offsides penalties. One of them turned what would have been a 53 yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half into a 48 yarder which Dustin Hopkins made. Barnett finished with four tackles including three quarterback hits.
Rasul Douglas - Douglas got beat multiple times in this game. The most glaring was on a 70 yard touchdown by Terry McLaurin. McLaurin beat Douglas on a post and the pass was perfectly thrown by Case Keenum for the score. Douglas has shown the ability to cover in this league, but had a bad day against the Redskins. It did not help that the Eagles pass rush was not getting home throughout most of the first half. Douglas finished with three tackles and one pass successfully defended.