Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Washington
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles played for the first time in over two weeks. They looked a little slow out of the gate falling behind 10-0 before scoring 20 unanswered points and eventually knocking off the Washington Football Team 27-17.
The Eagles once again featured a dominating rushing attack. They racked up 238 yards on the ground. It was a credit once again to the offensive line opening some big holes and the running backs hitting those holes for solid gains.
Jalen Hurts started his first game in over three weeks. He threw an interception early that was not his fault. Hurts hit Dallas Goedert in his hands but he dropped it and the ball bounced off his heel and into the hands of a Washington defender. That led to a touchdown. Hurts later fumbled the ball and that led to a Washington Field Goal.
The Eagles needed this win to leap over Washington in the race for a postseason berth. They are now tied with Minnesota for the final playoff spot in the NFC. This sets up a big game on a very short week when the Eagles host the Giants Sunday.
It's been a while since the red pen got some work. Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Miles Sanders - Sanders went over the 100 yard rushing mark for the second game in a row. He kept hitting the holes for solid gains and finished with 18 carries for 131 yards. Sanders rattled off a couple of big runs with his longest of the game going for 38 yards. He also added two catches for 15 yards.
Offensive Line - The Eagles have rushed for at least 175 yards in seven straight games. They are the first team in the league to do that since the 1985 Chicago Bears. This line is impressive. They keep dominating the line of scrimmage even with the opponent expecting running plays. What was impressive was the fact they did it tonight with Landon Dickerson out after testing positive for Covid. Sua Opeta got the start in his place and the line barely skipped a beat. Jason Kelce was once again a beast getting downfield to help make blocks. Lane Johnson did the same on a different play. The offensive line deserves a lot of credit for the Eagles rushing for 238 yards in this one.
Greg Ward - Ward does not get a lot of targets, but took advantage of the ones he got in this game. He had the biggest catch of the game for the Eagles pulling in a perfect back-shoulder throw for a touchdown that really put the game away in the fourth quarter. Ward caught two passes for 28 yards and that touchdown.
Fletcher Cox - Cox was a monster in this one. He was in the middle of the team after warmups trying to fire up his teammates and he led the way with his play. Cox was wreaking all kinds of havoc on the middle of the defensive line. He filled up the stat sheet leading the team with 1.5 sacks. He also led the Eagles with four quarterback hits. He added three tackles and one tackle for a loss. This was arguably Cox's best game of the season.
Jalen Hurts - Hurts looked good in this win. The game got off to a rocky start for him when his pass on their opening drive hit Dallas Goedert in the hands and was dropped, bounced off his heel and intercepted. That was not Hurts' fault. He also had a costly fumble that ended a solid drive by the Eagles in the first half. Other than that, he was solid. Hurts made some strong throws. His best pass of the game was on the touchdown that put it away in the fourth quarter. He made a perfect pass to Greg Ward's back shoulder in a spot where only he could catch it. Hurts did not seem quite as mobile as he has in the past indicating his ankle was still bothering him a little bit. Hurts threw just six incompletions and at least two of them were dropped. Hurts completed 20 of 26 passes for 296 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also carried it eight times for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
Nick Sirianni - I give Sirianni a lot of credit. He remained calm on the sideline when the Eagles went down 10-0 due to their own mistakes. Sirianni continues to put full faith in his offensive line and allowed them to continue to carry this team to victory with the rushing attack. Sirianni also had a solid game plan in place for Jalen Hurts. He acknowledged that the weather helped the passing attack due to slowing down the pass rush with bad footing and having the advantage in knowing when a receiver would make a break out of their route. Sirianni will be tested on the other side of this win in trying to have his team ready to go out and keep their playoff hopes getting stronger on a short week.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert dropped two passes that each could have possibly gone for a touchdown. One was in the flat with nothing but green grass in front of him. The other was on a perfect setup for a screen pass that he dropped. Goedert remained a frequent target and capitalized on those receptions to rack up a solid game. He caught seven passes for 135 yards. Goedert's grade was a 'B' due to those dropped passes. They did not cost the team in this game, but in a different contest that could have been the difference between a win and a loss.
DeVonta Smith - Smith made an amazing catch coming back to the ball along the sideline and somehow managed to touch both feet in bounds before going out of bounds. It was initially ruled incomplete, but the Eagles challenged that call and won the challenge. It helped move the ball down the field and move the chains. Smith appears to be playing through some bumps and bruises even after the extra time off but he is gutting it out well. Smith caught three passes for 40 yards.
Jalen Reagor - Reagor did not have many opportunities to get his hands on the ball in this game. He also has been heavily criticized for frequent mistakes and drops this season. Reagor blocked that out to catch all three passes thrown his way for 57 yards.
Jordan Howard - Howard took most of the carries in the second half because Miles Sanders was getting rest with a short week ahead of the team. Howard did a good job of picking up where he left off before his injury last month. He finished with 15 carries for 69 yards.
Darius Slay - Slay gave up a big completion early to Terry McLaurin but did a good job of minimizing the damage after that. He made a touchdown saving tackle after nearly batting the ball down. He also broke up a pass by breaking on it quickly and batting it down in front of the receiver. Ultimately Slay led the team with two passes successfully defended. He also had four tackles in the win.
Avonte Maddox - I continue to like Maddox as a nickel corner. He seems very comfortable there and has done a good job making some open field tackles and helping to stop some run plays. Maddox was flagged for a big pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter after what initially looked to be a third down stop. Washington scored a touchdown later that drive. I thought that was a bad call and thought Maddox had played the ball well in the air. He finished with four tackles including one tackle for a loss.