We watched the Eagles lose to the Packers on Monday night. Here’s what we saw:
Pass offense: B-
One overthrown interception aside, Carson Wentz looked very good on Monday night, as he should’ve against a decidedly bad defense. He made a few very impressive throws, and showed some really solid poise against the pass rush.
And he did it all without Jordan Matthews for the majority of the second half, with a man named Paul Turner lining up outside, and Dorial Green-Freaking-Beckham as his most productive wideout.
In fairness, Green-Beckham looked better in the first half than he had all season long. He caught five passes for 58 yards in the first 30 minutes, played physically, and made contested catches. The young wideout has a very long way left to go if he wants to be any kind of consistent contributor, but at least Monday night he showed a couple of flashes of what the Eagles were hoping to get when they traded Dennis Kelly for the young pass-catcher.
One other thing? Paul Turner didn’t show up at all. The greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL was inexplicably silenced both by his head coach and by an atrocious secondary. I can’t imagine why a guy who was unable to get off the practice squad for 11 weeks wasn’t the instant fix.
Run offense: C+
Remember when Carson Wentz was teased as a mobile-friendly quarterback? The kind of guy who could scare opposing defenses by threatening to make plays with his feet? His impact through 11 games on the ground was pretty darn limited. On Monday night, the rookie made a handful of very impressive plays on the run, including a 17-yard gallop and his first career rushing touchdown.
It was exciting, and it helped hide the fact that, without Ryan Mathews available, the Eagles weren’t very effective on the ground outside of their quarterback. Wendell Smallwood showed plenty of burst early in the third quarter, but Doug Pederson only afforded the rookie running back nine attempts, which he took for 37 yards. Smallwood needs more touches in the ground game.
With a slapdash offensive line, it makes more than enough sense to not want to run the ball a whole lot. But the Eagles had run for at least 94 yards in each of their first 11 games this year. Being held to 81, against a bad defense, is at the very least a bit surprising.
Pass defense: C-
Rodgers had basically whatever he wanted all night long against a fairly talent-less cornerbacks corps. He finished 30 of 39 for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sheesh.
To be honest, Jalen Mills and Leodis McKelvin didn’t even play poor games. Rodgers’ 50-yard completion to Devante Adams was simply a perfectly-thrown ball. His second touchdown pass, also to Adams, was equally so.
Sometimes you play a quarterback who is very good and, despite your best efforts, you get eviscerated. That’s what happened to the Eagles on Monday night. They don’t have playmaking corners, the kinds of guys who can change the way an opposing quarterback operates, and so they suffer. Especially when the pass rush is non-existent.
Which, by the way, is a problem. Fletcher Cox has no sacks and three personal fouls since Week 5. Brandon Graham was silenced on Monday night. Vinny Curry, per usual this season, was invisible. The Packers drew up plenty of quick throws, sure, but there were also plays which could have resulted in sacks or at least significant pressures with any semblance of a pass rush. One great Jordan Hicks play aside, there was nothing of the sort.
Run defense: B-
Aaron Rodgers ran the ball well against the Eagles, which is less than ideal. The rest of the Packers? Well, they haven’t been able to run on anyone this season, so holding them to 76 yards on 26 carries isn’t exactly impressive. Allowing a rushing touchdown to a 23-year-old named Aaron Ripkowski isn’t, either.
Overall, though, the Eagles’ defense kept the Packers’ runners in check. Not a whole lot to complain about. Certainly better than the other half of the defense looked on Monday night.