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Eagles vs. Rams Winners & Losers: Special teams and defense continue to score

You win some, you lose some, but this one didn't feel like either.

Evan Habeeb

The Eagles are 4-1, following a 34-28 victory that shouldn't have been so close. The Eagles dominated the Rams through three quarters, but fumbles by LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles kept St. Louis in the game. Philadelphia's special teams and defense scored two touchdowns as the units helped pace the team to a win.

The Rams made a valiant effort late but still came up short. Young quarterback Austin Davis started off very poorly but showed a lot of fortitude as he cut up a "soft" coverage unit in the fourth quarter.

The St. Louis comeback leads to some doubt by the Eagles fans, not because of the defense, but because the offense was never able to silence the Rams with big scores. The Eagles should have never been in position to lose the game, but much like last week, the ineptitude of a few players led to some scary finals ticks of the clock.

For a game summary, click here. Here are some winners and losers to talk about down below.


Dave Fipp: This is the best special teams unit the Eagles have fielded in at least 20 years. Two blocked punts for touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and his return and coverage units are also playing extremely well. His unit took a ton of criticism last season, but he has really coached an incredible third phase this season. Wow.

Special Teams: We mentioned Fipp before, but I want to recognize James Casey, Brad Smith, Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman, who all made plays on Sunday. Casey had the big punt block that led to the Maragos score and Smith and Braman had a some solid stops in coverage. This unit has a lot of chemistry and just gets the job done.

Entire Front 7: Well, hello! For the second week in a row, the defense got to the quarterback. The front seven combined for four sacks, three forced fumbles, three recoveries and a touchdown on Sunday. Connor Barwin had two sacks (and two passes defensed), while Vinny Curry caused a sack-fumble and Trent Cole did the same, which led to a Cedric Thornton touchdown. Brandon Graham also a had forced fumble on a run play that led to another big Thornton return. Felt that DeMeco Ryans played well too.

Darren Sproles: Say what you want about the run game, but Sproles was ridiculously impressive against the Rams. He had seven carries for 53 yards, including a massive run that allowed the Eagles to run down the clock a bit in the fourth quarter. He also had a 15-yard punt return.

Riley Cooper: He's been pretty mediocre thus far this season, but his work on Sunday was solid. He had a pair of penalties and ran out of bounds with a lead in the fourth quarter, but had one of the prettiest endzone grabs so far this season. He still needs to get his yardage up, as he had four catches for 33 yards (8.3 YPC) and a touchdown.

Jeremy Maclin: The guy continues to be a solid No. 1 receiver for Nick Foles. He got a touchdown off of a defensive mishap but made nice grabs throughout the game. He finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Bair and Casey Matthews: A lot of folks were upset when these former Ducks made the team, but honestly, they both played pretty good games on Sunday. Bair got a pair of pressures and knocked down a ball in the third quarter. Matthews had a pair of big run stops early. These guys aren't going to impress you consistently but they showed their worth against the Rams.

Tight Ends: Brent Celek looked good catching the ball, even if they were for short gains. Zach Ertz was able to move the chains on all three of his catches. Thought they played well for what they were given.


Nick Foles: I am sure some people won't like him being put here, but his lack of awareness is becoming a major detriment. He was "okay" as a passer, but still had an interception and a horrible under throw to Jordan Matthews that would have been a touchdown. My biggest beef with Foles on Sunday was the face-first dive fumble. That is completely inexcusable. If he slides there, it's likely the end of the game for the Rams. Instead, the fumble leads to a St. Louis touchdown, which leads to a short Eagles possession, which then leads to another Rams score. The Rams had no business being in the game that late and Foles allowed them the opportunity.

With all that said, it isn't time to bench him. I think it's worth discussing at this point, but I don't think you bench him until after the BYE, if it even comes to that. For me, it's becoming extremely hard to trust Foles, offensive line issues or not. I have been a MASSIVE Foles supporter since he was a rookie and a lot of us want him to be the guy, but I wouldn't pay him at this point. He has another 11 games to prove he deserves money, but I am not sure how you can honestly see him as the guy through the first five games. He made some terrific throws in the game, but that doesn't negate the stalled drives, turnovers or over/underthrows.

Again, I hope he proves he's the guy, but right now, not so much. For the record, I am not sure Mark Sanchez is the answer either, but I understand the temptation there.

David Molk: I now understand why he was out of the league last year. He is getting dominated in both phases of the offense and can't handle the starting gig. Too many times, Foles got pressure right in front of him and it wasn't because the quarterback held onto the ball too long. It may be worth sitting him for Wade Smith if the staff thinks the veteran can be comfortable there.

Cary Williams: Bradley Fletcher deserves some criticism for the Kenny Britt touchdown, but Williams continually looked inept against the Rams. My biggest issue is that he never turns around or reacts to his wide receiver quick enough. He allowed quite a few catches against the Rams for large gains.

Nate Allen: He allowed the first touchdown to Jared Cook and just seemed confused in coverage all game. He didn't tackle all that well either.

LeSean McCoy: The performance was better than San Francisco or Washington, but he is just not letting holes open before he bounces out. I understand the line has been terrible for the run, but he shows no trust out there. His fumble definitely didn't need to happen and he needs to learn to go down after dipping and dodging several times for a loss. His runs were encouraging, but still, he doesn't look right.

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