We walked the Eagles play against the Ravens on Sunday, even if we didn’t want to. Here’s what we saw:
Pass offense: C
Until the final drive of the game, Carson Wentz did not have a good day. Maybe it was playing behind an offensive line featuring its fifth-string right tackle, or maybe it was the unsavory weather conditions, or maybe he just didn’t look great because he’s a rookie without much help.
No matter the case, he was shaky all afternoon, missing a few throws and never looking comfortable in the pocket. (Understandable, but still unfortunate.) Despite an emphasis on the run game, Wentz still threw the ball 42 times, but only racked up 170 yards, which should tell you all you need to know about the way the pass game played out on Sunday.
And still, he moved the Eagles up and down the field a good bit. With a 10-point deficit staring the Eagles in the face late in the fourth quarter, Wentz threw a very catchable ball into the end zone to Dorial Green-Beckham, who had eight inches on the cornerback covering him. Guess what happened next!
Green-Beckham couldn't come up with the catch, and the Eagles kicked a field goal.
On the final drive, Wentz drove the team down the field, scored the potential game-tying or game-winning touchdown himself, and then tried to throw it to Jordan Matthews for a win. It was deflected. Quite a bummer.
Wentz didn't have a great game, but it's very hard to blame the rookie when the skill level around him is just so hopeless and helpless.
Run offense: B+
We all knew the Ravens’ run defense was the strength of its team heading into Sunday’s game, which was probably bad for the Birds. Baltimore ranked fourth in yards allowed, while the Eagles had just three running backs available, including a player in Byron Marshall who was making his career debut.
And yet… the Eagles ran the ball pretty well! In a stunning change of events, and one largely predicated by whipping winds and driving rain, Doug Pederson decided to lean on the run game to keep things balanced. Pederson ran the ball in for the team’s first touchdown of the afternoon, and then went back to the well on the very next play for a two-point conversion.
Mathews, for his part, ran well and ran strong, as he has most of this season when healthy. He hit holes hard and Ravens harder, looking like the running back the Eagles expected when they signed him. He finished with a tremendous 128 yards on 20 carries.
Byron Marshall even looked kind of passable! He made a few cuts, flashing that 'shifty' label we heard in the locker room this week.
Overall, a surprisingly effective day on the ground from the Birds.
Pass defense: C+
Joe Flacco didn’t exactly tear the Eagles’ defense up, but then he didn’t need to. The Baltimore run game was firing pretty well, which meant John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco could pick and choose the moments to hit the Eagles’ secondary.
And, for a good portion of the afternoon, Jim Schwartz’s secondary was effective enough. Flacco only completed 11 of his 21 passes in the first half.
The problem? Two of those 11 completions were for touchdowns, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith with nine — NINE — seconds left in the first half. Jalen Mills played too close to Smith in a situation where they motive is clearly to keep your man in front of you and force the Ravens into a field goal, and the Eagles paid.
The problem with the team’s pass defense wasn’t necessarily a consistent problem. The defensive line generated some pressure, and Fletcher Cox flashed a ton. The corners and safeties forced Flacco into some throw-aways and check-downs. But when crunch time came, too often the pass defense was caught unable to make the necessary play.
Run defense: D+
This is where it got ugly.
Entering the game, the Ravens had the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the league. They were averaging just 86 yards per game.
Jim Schwartz's defense? Yeah, they didn't exactly keep that hampered run game in check.
By halftime, Baltimore already had 76 yards on 11 carries. They finished with 152 yards on 23 rushes.
Terrence West gashed the Eagles' defense for a 41-yard run at one point, and finished the game with 77 yards on 13carries. Michael Campanaro broke off a 39-yard run of his own. And Kenneth Dixon ran nine times for 36 yards, including a back-breaking 16-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the Ravens up by 10 points with 11 minutes to play in the game.
The defensive line wasn't getting the push it needed, but as has been the case multiple times this season, tackling at the second level simply wasn't there. Multiple times linebackers were out of position as Dixon or West tore past them. Jim Schwartz likes his guys to be aggressive, but the good kind of aggression was absent on Sunday, replaced by the kind that puts players out of position.