The Eagles lost on Sunday night. Here’s what we saw:
Pass offense: D
Carson Wentz made a lot of good decisions and throws, but there’s only so much you can do when your wide receivers are downright bad at their jobs. Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham looked passable at times, but even Matthews dropped a sure catch tonight. The play calls themselves were pretty reserved, in large part because Wentz and Pederson can’t rely on the wideouts to do very much more than six or seven yards down the field.
Still, it was just effective enough — and Wentz was just efficient enough — that the lack of wide receiving weapons didn’t sink the Eagles on Sunday. But Howie Roseman should be calling up Trent Baalke tomorrow morning and upping his offer for Torrey Smith, because Wentz needs help, and soon.
Especially if Doug Pederson is insistent on calling swing passes behind the line of scrimmage until Wentz has a weapon.
Run offense: C+
Not a whole ton going on here. The fact that Pederson and Reich don’t trust Ryan Mathews enough to give him more than four handoffs in such a crucial game is concerning. Wendell Smallwood fumbling on his first touch of the game, which came in the fourth quarter, also isn’t great.
But when Darren Sproles is executing on the ground like he did on Sunday night, it’s basically the equivalent of what Carson Wentz does for the Eagles’ passing game: he brings just enough. The best part about Sproles is he seems to have a knack for making big plays in crucial spots. A big gain leading to a touchdown, or a big third-down pickup? Sproles is your man. Invaluable.
Pass defense: C-
Dak Prescott looked like a rookie for the majority of the game, and that’s the highest praise you can give Jim Schwartz’s secondary. Prescott had, through his first six games, been stoic and composed, made very few errors, and led the Cowboys to some impressive wins.
With Dez Bryant back against a suspect cornerback corps, and no Ron Brooks for the rest of the season, it seemed like a little bit of a recipe for disaster, but Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin made their fair share of good plays to keep Bryant and Prescott in check after a big gainer on the first drive of the game.
That is, until the fourth quarter, when Bryant reeled in the game-tying touchdown with three minutes left. The Eagles’ secondary couldn’t keep Prescott in check on a crucial, crucial drive.
And then, the final drive of the game, in overtime happened. A lot good work down the dang drain.
Run defense: B-
You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Ezekiel Elliott truly is a magnificent running back. The Eagles can’t be excited about facing him twice a year for the next decade. Still, their first encounter with Zeke could have been much worse.
Keeping Elliot under 100 yards on the ground, and not allowing a big run in a key position, showed what the Eagles’ defensive line is capable of against even the best rushers in the league. Imagine how good the unit would have looked with Bennie Logan in the game.
And yet, a few big runs — including the crucial fourth down in overtime — felled the Eagles late in the game. It was a case of wearing down, I suppose. In any case, not great.