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Grade the Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the Carolina Panthers

A tough road loss takes the Eagles down to 3-4.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles had a tough task Sunday night. Winners of two straight, the team that was left for dead only a few weeks ago was now atop the NFC East and looking to get above .500 for the first time all year. The Eagles were able to hang around for most of the game, but erratic play cost them a win.

In all, it was a disappointing performance on the road against an undefeated team. The Eagles will now go into the bye 3-4, and will take on the Cowboys on the road in a game that they can't afford to lose.

Overall grade: C

Over the last few weeks, the Eagles have been winning ugly. The offense has had difficulty moving the ball, but the defense has been there to clean it up. This week, though, the offense continued to struggle, and the defense couldn't cover enough to pull out the "W".

Quarterback Sam Bradford continued his inconsistent play, and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since December 2012. The wide receivers also contributed to the offense's woes, dropping several key passes, including Josh Huff's missed touchdown catch.

Defensively, the secondary came to play. Three of the four starters (Malcolm Jenkins, Nolan Carroll II and Byron Maxwell) has interceptions. But the rush defense was off, and had its worst performance of the year.

Offense: D

Tonight, the "D" grade also stands for "disjointed". Sam Bradford wasn't at his best, going 23-of-42 for 180 yards, one interception and no touchdowns. But he received virtually no help from his supporting cast. Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Zach Ertz and Miles Austin all had key drops that stymied what little momentum the Eagles were able to get going on offense.

And speaking of the supporting cast, the Eagles suffered a blow in the first quarter when left tackle Jason Peters was carted off the field. He was later diagnosed with back spasms, and was replaced by Matt Tobin. The line was up and down, which was to be expected. But on a night when the offense wasn't at its most cohesive, that reshuffling certainly didn't help.

That's not to say there were no bright spots. Running back Ryan Mathews continued his strong play, picking up 97 yards on six carries, including a 63-yard touchdown run. But overall it was a performance to forget for Chip Kelly's offense.

Defense: C+

Sunday night's game was something of a chance for the Eagles defense we've been used to seeing this year. Against the Panthers it was the pass defense that had the best game, holding Cam Newton to 197 yards passing, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Unfortunately, the rush defense wasn't as solid. The Eagles were without DeMeco Ryans, but welcomed back Mychal Kendricks to the fold. But it became clear early on that the defense missed Ryan's impact against the run.

Panthers back Jonathan Stewart ran for 125 yards, and Newton picked up 20 yards and a touchdown on four rushes. In total the Eagles gave up 204 yards rushing, the most this team has given up since Week 4 of the 2014 season against the 49ers.

Special teams: C

Give the Panthers credit - they were able to successfully neutralize the Eagles' return game. Punter Brad Nortman had three punts inside the 20, and prevented Darren Sproles from getting anything going.

For the Eagles, Caleb Sturgis hit a 53-yard field goal, then immediately followed it up by kicking the ball out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff. Sturgis also missed a 50-yarder early in the fourth quarter.