Week 17 Report Card: Bring on the Saints, Eagles are NFC East champions!

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

That was a close one...

First off, let me say something. I was not for a Chip Kelly hiring initially and was a fan of Gus Bradley or Mike McCoy. While both of those coaches did well with the talent they have, Kelly was clearly the right hire for the Eagles and I concede that I was definitely wrong. I did get on the bandwagon in OTAs, but nonetheless, I was wrong to begin with and I admit it.

The Eagles beat the Cowboys in a close game that really came down to the wire. The offense looked pathetic at times, as did the defense, but in the end, Philadelphia is the NFC East champion. Brandon Boykin and Mychal Kendricks had key turnovers to win this game, but outside of that, the defense was pretty rough. A two-point conversion breakup by Cary Williams may have been the second biggest play of the game, outside of the Boykin interception.

On offense, things could have been better. While Nick Foles threw for 263 passing yards and two touchdowns, he had an up-and-down game. He had some great passes, but also got lucky at times. Forgotten names like Brent Celek and Jason Avant were huge in this game, while LeSean McCoy continued to be the best offensive player in the league. McCoy settled the rushing, all-purpose and yard from scrimmage titles, while breaking the team records for rushing and yards from scrimmage.

Bring on New Orleans, Philadelphia is hungry and is ready!

HOT

Brandon Boykin: The game-winning interception was obviously huge, but he also broke up a Dez Bryant touchdown. This kid is ridiculously talented and has been the best secondary player this season, by a mile! Your Bar Mitzvah card is in the mail, Brandon.

Mychal Kendricks: What a turnover roll this kid has been on! He had a forced fumble in the first quarter and had a big interception as well. Both turnovers led to points and likely kept the Eagles from losing the game.

LeSean McCoy: This guy is the best non-quarterback in the game right now. He gathered three titles on Sunday and did it before rushing for 131 yards and gaining a three-yard receiving touchdown.

Brent Celek: This guy is not just a great blocker, but he was absolutely huge as a pass-catcher on Sunday. He caught a massive pass to get great field positioning and was rewarded on the second touchdown of the game.

Jason Avant: The veteran has been forgotten all season but made some major grabs on Sunday. He caught a redzone ball that likely should have been intercepted, with Morris Claiborne draped all over him and Foles throwing awkwardly.

Connor Barwin: He is just everywhere. The batted pass in the fourth quarter forced a turnover on downs and completely changed the dynamic of the game. He is so valuable to this team and may be the best free agent signing by the Eagles since Asante Samuel.

Bryce Brown: He got two carries, but he made them count. He had the game-winning touchdown on a beautiful six-yard touchdown run.

Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams: Both cornerbacks made huge plays on Sunday. Fletcher recovered the Kendricks forced fumble of DeMarco Murray and Williams stopped Dez Bryant from receiving a pretty good looking pass from Kyle Orton on a two-point conversion. Both came to play.

Special Teams: This was a well-called area of the game. Alex Henery made a very solid 49-yard field goal and Donnie Jones was dynamite as always. The coverage teams also did well.

NOT

Offensive Line: While Foles held on to the ball fairly long, the line did not help matters. There were several missed blocks and a quite a few pressures. Jason Hatcher is not very good but has had the Eagles goat this season. There were five sacks on Sunday of Foles, which is not a normal thing.

Pat Chung: Wow, this guy sucks. He was responsible for the Bryant touchdown in the second half and quite a few more big plays. Get well soon, Earl Wolff.

Pass Rush: While there was several pressure, no one finished on Orton. He held the ball a lot and was not brought down. That has to change with New Orleans coming to town.

Wide Receiver and Tight End Blocking: Zach Ertz missed two clear blocks that led to sacks on Sunday and DeSean Jackson gave a bit of a flimsy effort as a blocker as well. The blocking by the non-offensive linemen needs to be better as well.

Refereeing: Has this staff ever heard of holding? Or illegal contact? Poor Damion Square...

Miscellaneous Musings

  • We have to wait for the All-22, but this looked like a mediocre game for play-calling and Foles. While neither were bad, it did seem like both struggled quite a bit at times. The offensive play-calling seemed very passive to begin with and like impacted the score in the first half. Foles held on to the ball far too long, but to his credit took sacks over turnovers. He did well at gaining major yardage but there were times when Foles looked off. Kelly likely could have made better calls early, but his clock management late in the game was perfectly fine.
  • Winning with Chip Kelly is waaaay more fun than winning with Andy Reid. I am a known Reid apologist, but this may be the most fun season since the Super Bowl year. Bravo, Chip! Bravo!
  • The Saints were the right draw for the opening game of the playoffs for the Eagles. New Orleans simply can't take the elements. It will be nice to see the defense against Drew Brees in rough weather.
  • Eagles fans wanted a quarterback that could take them to the playoffs and Foles has. While his performance was not stellar, there is no doubt that Foles is the guy for at least 2014. He is 8-2 as a starter and won the Eagles the first Giants game in relief. With 27 touchdowns and two interceptions, his numbers are ridiculous and he led the league in passer rating and pass per attempt this season. His passer rating and yards per pass attempt are the best in Eagles history. He finishes with a 119.2 passer rating and 9.1 yards per pass attempt. By the way, Foles' 27 touchdowns and two interceptions are the greatest ratio in NFL history. He is the first to throw more than 20 touchdowns and only two interceptions. #WonderFoles
  • Bring on the Saints!

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