Grayson’s Grades: Giants at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles moved into first place in the NFC East with a 27-7 victory over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The score could have been even more lopsided had Sam Bradford not been so generous with the ball by throwing three interceptions.
While it was not pretty, it is a win and those can be very hard to come by in the NFL. This team still has a long way to go to be a good team, but has overcome a very slow start to pull even with a 3-3 record.
(Listen to Scott Grayson explain this week's grades)
DeMarco Murray - Murray finally appeared to be comfortable with where the holes were going to be. It took some touches, but gradually he broke through and had some impressive runs. Murray gave a vicious stiff-arm en route to a 12 yard touchdown run. He also made some cutbacks on a 21 yard run. He finished with 22 carries for 109 yards and 1 touchdown.
Jordan Hicks - Hicks added another solid performance to his already impressive rookie season. He led the team in tackles with 10. The next closest defender in that category had 6 tackles. Hicks also added a tackle for a loss. It will be hard to take him off the field once Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks get healthy.
Nolan Carroll - Carroll impressed me going back to last season and like many, I could not figure out why he was not getting to play instead of Bradley Fletcher. Carroll has been nearly solid in man coverage and defends very well. He made a huge play in this game picking off Eli Manning and returning it for a touchdown. Carroll also finished second on the team with 6 tackles. He also recorded a pair of pass deflections.
DeMeco Ryans - Ryans has improved week-to-week, which leads me to believe he was not totally 100 percent at the start of the season. He is reacting better, moving better and making more plays. Ryans had a great game in this one and was credited by many teammates and coaches for turning the game around when he ripped the ball away from a Giants receiver for an interception. Ryans also recovered a fumble, deflected two passes and recorded five tackles.
Billy Davis - Davis deserves a lot of credit for his defensive game plan. He drew up a scheme that constantly confused Eli Manning. Manning came into this game getting rid of the ball an average of 2.2 seconds after the snap. He held it much longer than that and turned it over three times. The Eagles also sacked him three times.
Brandon Graham - Graham was constantly in the Giants backfield harassing Eli Manning and his teammates. Graham was credited with half of a sack as well as 3 tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits. Everyone on the defensive line played well and Graham was no exception to that.
Fletcher Cox - Cox followed up his best game last week with another solid outing. He forced a fumble in this game. Cox also sacked Manning once while recording 4 tackles, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit. I continue to believe he is the heart and soul of what makes this defense tick.
Vinny Curry - Curry has been somewhat absent so far this season, but showed up under the lights in this game. He made his presence known in the backfield getting credit for 1.5 sacks. He hit Manning three times and recorded one tackle for a loss.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins is a lot of fun to talk to after the game. He offers some sincere and great insight on plenty of topics. Jenkins is clearly the leader of the secondary and one of the leaders on defense. He forced a fumble in this game and was constantly around the ball. Jenkins finished with four tackles.
Ryan Mathews - Mathews has a very quick first step, which allows him to hit a hole a little faster than DeMarco Murray. It helps him rarely suffer a tackle for a loss. His yards per carry average continues to hover between 4 and 5 yards. That is exactly what Chip Kelly wants out of his backs. Mathews takes advantage of his touches. He finished with nine carries for 40 yards while also catching one pass for six yards.
Zach Ertz - Ertz made some solid plays and helped move the chains on several occasions. He was targeted 7 times and caught 4 passes for 43 yards. Some of those missed targets fall on Bradford for missing him. Ertz was underthrown in the endzone resulting in an interception. He is a valuable weapon in the passing game that must continue to be utilized.
Riley Cooper - Cooper gets a 'B' because he took the blame on running the wrong route resulting in one of Bradford's three interceptions. Bradford thought he was going deep and Cooper cut off the route. Not sure who read that wrong, but since Cooper said it was his fault, we will go with that. Cooper has emerged as a downfield threat catching several deep passes. He is starting to look more like the Cooper of old. Credit him with 3 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Byron Maxwell - Maxwell had a series or two where he was a very frustrating player to watch. He committed a blatant pass interference penalty and followed that up by absolutely getting trucked by Rashad Jennings. Maxwell does not strike me as the kind of player who enjoys tackling like a Malcolm Jenkins does. His coverage was better in several instances. Maxwell deserves a lot of credit for helping to keep Odell Beckham, Jr. from having any kind of a big night. Maxwell seems to be taking positive steps from week to week, but still earns a 'C' this week because some of those penalties can be the difference between getting off the field and halting a drive or giving a good offense another opportunity.
Jordan Matthews - Grading Matthews is a little difficult. He almost always works over the middle where big shots are looming. Matthews took several big ones in this game and one of those legitimate shots caused him to fumble the ball. He was targeted 11 times and only caught 6 passes for 59 yards. Some of those missed targets fall on Bradford. Matthews needs to be more of a factor in this offense. He could be closer to 100 yards per game if he and Bradford developed slightly better chemistry. My guess is that they will get there as the season progresses.
Jason Kelce - Kelce is one of my favorite offensive linemen. I enjoy talking to him after games. However, he must be more consistent than he was in this game. He had a bad snap that missed Bradford, missed the cadence and did not snap the ball when he was supposed to resulting in a penalty and was also called for a holding penalty. Another thing I like about him is that he owns his mistakes and did so after this game. I hate giving him a 'D' but that is the appropriate grade. He can be a solid fixture on this line and expects to be week in and week out.
Sam Bradford - If Bradford could put together a solid four quarter game, this could be a very dangerous offense. He threw 3 interceptions and missed badly to several receivers. There were several occasions that he was late in recognizing an open receiver resulting in incompletions. Rust is not an excuse anymore. This team is 6 games into the season and he has to be better. There have also been far too many miscommunications between Bradford and his receivers. I am not blaming Bradford for all of those, but clearly those issues need to be resolved. He completed 24 of 38 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown while throwing three interceptions.