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Eagles vs. Jaguars: 9 winners, 5 losers, 3 I don’t knows

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Highlighting the good and the bad from Sunday’s win.

NFL: International Series-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are now 4-4 after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday. It wasn’t pretty but the Eagles will take it however they can get it. Let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from this game.

WINNERS

DOUG PEDERSON

The Eagles ultimately managed to score 24 points and gain 395 yards on a Jacksonville defense that ranked seventh in defensive DVOA coming into this game. They did this despite being forced into multiple different offensive line configurations and not having overly dominant skill players.

Heading into Sunday’s game, the Eagles had only produced 10 passing plays of 30-plus yards through seven weeks. Against the Jags, who were allowing the fewest explosive pass plays in the league this year, the Eagles managed to generate five 30-plus yarders.

Make no mistake: it certainly helped that the Jags were without three of their top four corners. Still, Pederson drew up some creative play-calls in this one and the Eagles ultimately turned in their second highest scoring game of the season. There’s plenty of room for improvement but this was an encouraging bounce back for Dougie P. The team fought hard with their backs against the wall in a critical spot.

CARSON WENTZ

Wentz easily could’ve ended up in the “Losers” section below after he got off to a rough start.

Wentz fumbled AGAIN which means he’s tied for the lead league in that category despite the fact he missed two games. He’s now up to 30 fumbles in 35 career games. A number of those came in his rookie year and/or can be chalked up to poor snaps but that doesn’t explain away all of them. Wentz’s propensity to fumble is the down side of his ability to extend plays.

Another downside to Wentz’s game is that his aggression can lead to risky plays. This was the game when he forced a ball to Joshua Perkins in the end zone and Jalen Ramsey picked it off.

But Wentz didn’t let these early mistakes define his performance on Sunday. In a spot where a number of quarterbacks easily would’ve folded for the rest of the game, Wentz showed great resiliency to fight back. He finished the game completing 70% of his passes for 286 yards (9.5 average), three touchdowns, one interception, and a 119.6 passer rating.

For all of last week’s talk that Wentz isn’t “clutch,” he led a huge touchdown drive to put the Eagles up 24-15 with 9:55 remaining. His sole passing attempt for a first down on the Eagles’ final drive essentially sealed the game. Wentz delivered in big spots on Sunday.

On the season, Wentz is completing 71% of his attempts for 1,788 yards (7.9 average), 13 touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 110.2 passer rating. He also has 89 rushing yards.

In other words, Wentz is pretty good.

AVONTE MADDOX

The descriptor that comes to mind with Maddox is “baller.” The rookie just makes plays. This week it was Maddox flying into the back field to force the Jaguars to a long field goal early in the game. Then it was Maddox getting his helmet on the ball after Keelan Cole’s reception to force a fumble.

The progress Maddox has made is really impressive. The fourth-round rookie is excelling at a position he never played prior to this year. He’s come a long way since looking totally lost at times back during spring practices.

DALLAS GOEDERT

It was a good day for the Eagles’ 2018 NFL Draft class with Goedert also making a big play. Following Maddox’s forced fumble, it was Goedert who caught a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Goedert’s a big boy who knows how to get open and isn’t easy to bring down after the catch. His YAC ability is very valuable.

JORDAN MATTHEWS

After failing to log a single target despite playing 43% of Philadelphia’s snaps last week, JMatt ended up being a key player against the Jags. Again, it must be noted that he had undrafted rookie corners lining up against him with Ramsey sticking to Alshon Jeffery. Still, Matthews made some crucial plays to move the chains. His final reception virtually iced the game. Four receptions for 93 yards is a very nice day for Matthews.

JOSH ADAMS

If Adams’ butt was smaller, he could’ve ended up in the “Losers” section. His near fumble in the fourth quarter would’ve been fairly costly. But in the end the refs got it right and it wasn’t a fumble.

Putting that play aside, Adams has been the Eagles’ most efficient runner the past two weeks. He’s gained 78 yards on 13 attempts, which is 6.0 yards per carry. It’s easy to like the way he runs with a purpose.

Moving forward, the Eagles should continue to work Adams into the rotation. I’m not saying he’s played well enough to be undipsuted RB1 just yet but I do think he should be getting more than the zero touches he saw back in Week 6.

FLETCHER COX

Cox finished the game with two solo tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass deflection, and one quarterback hit. His batted pass came at a key moment in the game to force the Jaguars into fourth down. Jacksonville failed to convert and never possessed the ball again.

Another thing I liked seeing was Cox get all up in Deiondre’ Hall’s face after the defensive back was arguing with a Jaguars player on special teams. Cox wasn’t about to the let the Eagles take another dumb penalty. We saw Cox get in Jalen Mills’ face like that earlier this season. You can see the signs of him being a leader on this team.

MALCOLM JENKINS

Jenkins got beat on a double move to allow a touchdown to Dede Westbrook, yes, but he also broke up a touchdown pass later in the game which ultimately caused the Jaguars to settle for a field goal.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Jenkins deserves to be here, though, is that he now doesn’t have to worry about his Blake Bortles comments haunting him. That would’ve been not fun to deal with if Bortles shredded the Eagles’ secondary in a Jags win.

EAGLES FANS

First of all, shoutout to all the great fans in London who cheered on the team at Wembley today. Whether it was Americans making the flight overseas or Europe natives coming out to support, you helped make this “road” game feel much closer to a home game for the Eagles.

The other reason why fans can be considered winners is because the season is still alive. There’s still hope at 4-4. That wouldn’t have really been the case at 3-5. The Eagles still have a lot of work to do, and they need to play a lot better than they did today, but they’re still in this thing for at least two more weeks. Beat the Cowboys and get to 5-4 and then we’re really cooking.

LOSERS

THE EAGLES’ OFFENSIVE LINE SITUATION

Lane Johnson is reportedly going to miss at least a month due to an MCL sprain and Jason Peters continues to struggle to stay in the game as he battles through multiple injuries.

With Johnson out, the Eagles will be moving forward with the following lineup from left to right:

Jason Peters
Isaac Seumalo
Jason Kelce
Brandon Brooks
Halapoulivaati Vaitai

It’s likely that Peters is going to miss some playing time at some point since that’s often been the case this year. His absence forces Seumalo to move out to tackle while Wisniewski comes in to play guard.

Then you have Kelce clearly playing through pain, and if he has to miss time, it could be Wis shifting to center with Chance Warmack going in to play guard.

The Eagles’ offensive line situation isn’t in tip top shape moving forward. #Analysis.

COREY CLEMENT

Remember when Clement said he wanted to prove to Howie Roseman that the Eagles don’t need to trade for a running back? Yeah, well, Clement isn’t exactly helping his case by rushing for just 12 yards on 12 carries in his last two games. Clement also has three receptions for just 15 yards in that span.

Clement and the Eagles coaching staff has insisted he’s not still bothered by the quad injury he was dealing with earlier this season. You would almost hope Clement IS hurt in order to explain away his struggles. Whatever the case, he’s not producing right now while other backs are doing so. Clement’s role might even shrink further if/when Darren Sproles potentially returns after the bye.

DEXTER MCDOUGLE

McDougle was hard to notice in last week’s game, which was probably a good thing for the most part. The Eagles’ starting nickel corner was much more noticeable agianst the Jags, and not in a good way. He simply fell down in coverage on at least three different occasions.

Get well soon, Sidney Jones.

JALEN MILLS

Mills had to be carted off with an injury. The early indication is that it’s not major but we’ll see. Rasul Douglas had some nice moments while filling in for Mills. He also gave up some big plays, such as the one down the sideline to former practice squad tight end David Grinnage.

But if the much-maligned Mills continues to miss time and Douglas outplays him, maybe the Green Goblin doesn’t get his job back. It’s too early to say that’ll definitely be the case but it’s something to monitor.

D.J. ALEXANDER

Alexander got flagged for unnecessary roughness on a kickoff return that went for a touchback. Just stupid. That flag caused the Eagles to start at their own 13-yard line instead of their own 25. Alexander could be gone if he does something like that again.

I DONT KNOWS

JIM SCHWARTZ

The Eagles defense only allowed 18 points and 5.4 yards per play. They created one turnover and notched four sacks (plus nine quarterback hits). Schwartz did a nice job of mixing in some blitzes at the right times.

So why isn’t he in the “winners” section?

Well, a few things.

First, the Eagles easily could’ve given up at least six more points if D.J. Chark doesn’t drop a wide open touchdown pass twice in the same play. That was a very lucky break. And allowing 24 points to a team that’s been averaging 9.3 in their last three games isn’t exactly a badge of honor.

Second, Bortles still had a decent game for Bortles standards. His 88.1 passer rating ranks third highest out of his eight games. He also ran for a season-high 43 yards. It’s not like the Eagles completely shut him down.

Third, the Eagles defense has now gone back-to-back games where they’ve allowed a touchdown drive RIGHT after the offense marches 90-plus yards down the field for a touchdown of their own. What’s up with that? It’s almost like they take their foot off the pedal and it ends up being a big momentum killer.

Schwartz’s defense ranked 13th overall heading into this week’s game. That sounds about right. There are certainly many teams who have it worse. But those acting like the defense isn’t contributing to the struggles at all ... that’s foolish.

WENDELL SMALLWOOD

I was going to put Smallwood in the “Winners” section but I think that might be a little generous. He did have that long screen touchdown but it’s not even like he had to make defenders miss there. He just had a ton of open space in front of him. Outside of that play, Smallwood had one reception for six yards and eight carries for 24 yards (3.0 average). He also allowed a really bad sack on Wentz when he completely failed to pick up a blitzing Myles Jack. We’ve seen Smallwood struggle with missed assignments in this regard numerous times now.

The one Smallwood moment that WAS really impressive is when he ran through contact to pick up a 10-yard gain on 2nd-and-9 on the Eagles’ final drive. That play allowed Philadelphia to kneel three times to kill the clock.

JORDAN HICKS

Hicks really stuffed the stat sheet with 12 tackles (eight solo), two passes defensed, 1.5 sacks, and one tackle for loss. The numbers don’t show that Hicks struggled in coverage. That’s an area considered to be Hicks’ strengths, so that’s not good to see. He shouldn’t be docked completely because he clearly made some plays. Lot of season left, and always time for things to change, but I don’t think he’s playing at a level where the Eagles will consider him a must re-sign.