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Eagles v. Panthers: 20 winners, losers, and I dunnos

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That sucked.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Winners

The Philadelphia Eagles (after three quarters)

It is necessary to include this because I — along with many! — wrongfully crowned them as such. Gotta wait until the fat lady sings.

The Carolina Panthers (after four quarters)

Which actually counts for something.

Carson Wentz

Carson’s the man. He had an absolutely spectacular day — the performance we’ve come to expect from our young quarterback, really. He has one of the fastest releases in the league, and the ball comes off his hand so hot, which lets him win those tight window throws up against the sideline or in the middle of the field. He was throwing folks open left and right today.

Carson’s fantastic day was marred by his struggles to do too much — whether early in the game, with frantic throws under pressure, or later in the game, with ill-advised throws into the end zone. His career in close games (5 wins, 10 losses) and success rate on game-winning drives (3/12) both seem to illustrate that one of his bigger weaknesses is his play in decisive moments. But overall, what a stud.

Jake Elliott

IT WAS THE WIND.

Jason Kelce

Every week, I’m struck more and more by how good Kelce is. He’s the primary author of the QB sneak success that Carson has enjoyed to this point in his career. He is the reason Philadelphia can run their trap-heavy rushing attack against defensive fronts like Carolina. He did an excellent job setting protection and accounting for interior blitzers. He is the man.

Alshon Jeffery

7 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown does little to illustrate how dominant of a day Jeffery had, despite the fact that the stat line is strong in its own right. Almost every single catch of Jeffery’s was a high-quality play, either with separation at the break point (the touchdown) or athleticism in contested situations. He could have drastically added to his total if not for the TD-saving DPI late in the game.

His chemistry with Wentz seems fully established, too: that tackle-break on the sideline in the red zone before his TD? That was an alert route on a corner blitz. Same page, easy yardage.

Malcolm Jenkins

Not much to say about the various agendas and efforts from Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins: I simply don’t know enough about that situation to have an opinion on who’s “doing things the right way.” But I have a lot of respect for Malcolm taking the high road with an emotionally-charged Eric Reid for sure. He’s a great player and clearly oriented on helping his community, and he’ll always have a fan in me.

Zach Ertz

With 138 yards on the game, Ertz has cleared the century mark in three of the Eagles’ first seven games of the season. (All three, by the way, with Carson Wentz under center.) That puts him on pace for six games over 100, which would tie Tony Gonzalez’s single-season record for TE games over 100 yards.

I might do my All-22 review on Ertz this week, because he’s been so unbelievably dominant across the intermediate levels of the field this year. You can tell Carson has implicit trust in him — sometimes too much — and Ertz is really the focal point of this passing attack.

Dallas Goedert

Gotta give Robin some love even when Batman shines. (The official Ertz/Goedert couple nickname is GodErtz, but Batman and Robin is also cute). Goedert showed up on the radar again: after totaling 5 catches for 36 yards in the three games following his Week 3 explosion against Indy, he turned in 4 receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown (all on 5 targets).

The biggest thing about Goedert: he doesn’t make rookie mistakes. You don’t see him blowing blocking assignments, misreading coverages and running incorrect routes, dropping easy catches. He’s transitioned smoothly: now it’s a matter of how much you want on his plate.

Ronald Darby

How many PBUs did Darby have on the day?

I know the gut instinct answer here is: but he got burned for a late touchdown — and he did — but a 3 PBU outing a strong day for any corner. I thought Darby did well to regularly contest the catch point and generally looked quite sticky in coverage. He even came up for a couple physical tackles! I think he stepped up his game with the ever-weakened secondary the Eagles trotted out today.

Cam Newton

Gotta say, Newton was a warrior out there. Tough not to completely lose hope with how poorly the offense was playing, and I respect him trusting his receivers after they gave him little to work with through the first few quarters of the game. That was a statement comeback for a beleaguered player to bring his team to 4-2. Huge performance from Cam.

Michael Bennett

Losers

The Carolina Panthers (after three quarters)

Panthers Caged! Carolina Can’t Get Downfield On Battered Eagles Secondary

Steady As She Goes: Super Bowl Champ Eagles Look BACK; Shutout Panthers 17-0

Home Turf: Eagles Defensive Dominance At Lincoln Financial Remains Unmatched

sigh

I was so ready for it.

The Philadelphia Eagles (after four quarters)

This still sucks.

Doug Pederson

Nothing Doug did in the game is worthy of a loss call. He was aggressive and used good designs. The usage questions I have with, say, Wendell Smallwood remain — but all-in-all, there’s nothing about the Carolina game plan that has me questioning Doug.

But the Eagles’ generally poor execution; their perceived lack of fire as compared to 2017 — that blame belongs on a lot of shoulders, but I think it first belongs on Doug’s. Head coach has to read his team and make sure they’re ready for a fight in every game. He seems to be struggling with that to this point, but let’s give him some time to learn. This is the first big adversity he’s dealt with.

Rasul Douglas

Eagles picked up Dexter McDougle from the street on Tuesday and got him out on the field for meaningful defensive snaps before ‘Sul. Now, that’s Jim Schwartz’s call — and it may be the wrong decision for the team. But the Eagles have so many secondary problems, and the fact that Sul hasn’t done enough on the practice field to force himself onto the field for meaningful snaps speaks to how limited he is as a player. The same can be said for...

Deiondre’ Hall

...who remains the biggest smear on the Eagles’ 2018 front-office work thus far. You traded for him at the deadline and have done nothing with him.

Jordan Mailata truthers

Oh man, we were close! Vaitai went in for Peters for a series, which mean that — if Lane or Vaitai had to come out for even a play! we would have gotten Mailata.

For all of you who think there’s a package in which Mailata actually gets the ball...I doubt it. I’d love it, but I doubt it.

Jim Schwartz

Jimbo is our big loser of the week, and it comes down to the tired truth: He doesn’t adjust well. Schwartz relies on his defensive line getting pressure at such an outstanding click that, when it doesn’t come, he doesn’t have a change-up. He did a great job working different zone looks into the game early, and then once Carolina got a scoring drive in place, he seemed panic and go solely Cover 1/Cover 3. The Panthers picked that defense apart on two straight drives — certainly getting some high-quality tackle-breaks from the quarterback, but hey! The other guys get paid, too.

It’s tough to blame him too heavily (I did on the Kist and Solak Show, whoops) because his personnel is clearly so, so limited. The trade deadline is big, now: Philly needs a shot in the leg.

I dunnos

The Philadelphia Eagles

The team is 3-4 and has dropped two multi-score fourth quarter leads. Every game this season has been within one score save for the Giants win on Thursday Night. They’ll go into the bye either 4-4 or 3-5 after the Jacksonville game on Monday, at least 1.5 games back from the division lead (Redskins face the Giants next week).

And yet I still see a team that, for stretches, is playing just as well as any other squad in the league.

This team is much better than a 3-4 team; this roster is still a Top-5 roster. For how long do we extend them the benefit of the doubt; the trust that they’ll bounce back to their previous dominance? I dunno, really. I’ll believe this team can go on a hot run until I see them do otherwise, I suppose.