The Eagles beat the Vikings on Sunday, which was a little surprising and also very enjoyable. Here’s how we graded what they did:
Pass offense: C-
Let’s get it out of the way: Carson Wentz’s second interception of the game was the worst throw of his career. It was a bad decision, it was thrown poorly, and it made everyone in the stadium cringe.
But then, something happened: Wentz didn’t make many more mistakes. He calmed down (thanks to a few smartly-called dump-offs and quick out routes called by Doug Pederson on the next drive) and started to execute with the kind of Wentz-like efficiency we’re used to seeing at this point.
He’s still suffering from some kind of come-down after those first few transcendental games, but he’s also being felled by drops, which he simply can’t control, and an uneven offensive line. The rookie will figure it out. Today, he looked just okay, and guess what: it didn’t cost the team the game. That’s a good sign.
Run offense: B-
Once again, the run game was nothing special, but it didn’t need to be. It was diverse enough to be effective, spreading 24 carries around between four rushers, including four for Carson Wentz. And it helped kill over five minutes on a crucial drive in the fourth quarter which ended in a field goal, burning valuable clock to maintain their two-score lead and push it to 17 points with just over six minutes left.
What I really liked about the Eagles’ run game on Sunday was the incorporation of Carson Wentz. He took a draw up the middle on the two-point conversion, he pulled around the left end to pick up a first down on 4th & 2, and Darren Sproles showed burst on the ground as he always does. With a fluctuating offensive line due to injuries, the showing was just enough.
Minus points, of course, for a late fumble by Ryan Mathews. Stop doing that, Ryan.
Pass defense: A
I don’t know if we’ve talked about this enough, but Rodney McLeod is an absolute stud. He’s a turnover-generating machine. His interception of Sam Bradford in the first quarter didn’t require too much actual skill, considering Bradford sort of just lofted it to him, but that was just the bottom of McLeod’s barrel on Sunday. He picked up a sack, he broke up a couple passes, and he forced a fumble.
The rest of the secondary followed his example -- including Leodis McKelvin who, in his first full game of the season, looked very good in coverage, nearly intercepting Bradford and generally neutralizing his man. Bradford finished with 210 yards, but most of them were fairly innocuous passes. Great recovery, especially considering Ron Brooks left with an injury so early in the game.
Run defense: B+
For a moment, there was fear coursing through the stadium that a blown run defense on a draw play on 3rd & 13 would bring the game crashing down around the Eagles. Instead, the run defense stiffened up later in that drive on a 4th & 1 from the two-yard line and stuffed the Vikings’ run game.
Admittedly, the Vikings’ rushing attack entered Sunday as the worst in the league, but the Eagles’ defense could have taken that for granted and half-assed it. Instead, they came to play in a big way, holding Minnesota to 93 yards on the ground on 27 attempts, getting great penetration through the line and turning the Vikings into a one-dimensional team on offense.
Jim Schwartz knows how to light a fire under his guys.