wWe’ve got just a few weeks left of the 2021 NFL regular season and there are some former Eagles really earning the spotlight of late. Several Philly alumni drew headlines coming out of the Christmas Day double header, including Rasul Douglas and Chandon Sullivan who accounted for three of the four interceptions thrown by Baker Mayfield. Plus, Nick Foles got his first start for the Bears on Sunday, led the team to win, and reminded everyone why he’s such a clutch guy to have as QB depth.
Here’s how things went in Week 16 for some former Eagles:
Douglas and Sullivan light it up on Christmas Day
Rasul Douglas had himself a day, snagging two interceptions, including the one to seal Green Bay’s victory, in addition to five total tackles and two pass breakups.
Douglas was also named a Pro Bowl alternate this week — which seems even more deserved after his Christmas Day performance, but he’s no doubt been having a breakout season. In his 10 games with the Packers, Douglas has amassed 53 total tackles, 12 passes defended, 5 interceptions returned for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns, and 1 forced fumble.
Similarly, former and current teammate Chandon Sullivan had an interception against the Browns on Saturday. He hasn’t quite had the same production as Douglas this season, but has already recorded a career-high three interceptions through 15 games in Green Bay.
Chandon Sullivan intercepts Baker pic.twitter.com/yC7uRyW3XD— packers clips (@packers_clips) December 25, 2021
For the Browns, defensive tackle Malik Jackson has been a starter for the team all season, but hasn’t really been as productive as previous years. He only had one tackle, a QB hit, in their Saturday game, which means through 15 games, Jackson has recorded 25 total tackles, 2 for loss, 7 QB hits, 4 passes defended, and 0.5 sack.
Colts vs. Cardinals
There was a Saturday night game this week as a bit of a Christmas present to us all, and it featured a handful of former Eagles when the Indianapolis Colts (Carson Wentz, Matt Pryor) squeaked out a win over the Arizona Cardinals (Zach Ertz, Jordan Hicks). Thanks to a handful of mistakes, and Matt Prater missing two field goals and an extra point, the Colts ended up winning, 22-16.
Quarterback Carson Wentz bounced back with a big performance on Saturday, finishing the game with a 112.9 passer rating, having completed 18-of-28 attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, one of his touchdowns was this:
With the Colts losing five of their offensive lineman due to Covid, former Eagle OG Matt Pryor was back in a starting role for Indy — the first time since Week 7 — and took 100 percent of their offensive snaps. Ultimately, Pryor’s performance wasn’t graded all that well, but he went 31 pass-blocking snaps without allowing a pressure.
As for the Cardinals, Zach Ertz finished the game with a season-high 13 targets making eight catches for 54 yards. The tight end was also on the field for a season-high 97 percent of the offensive snaps. On defense, Jordan Hicks made just four total tackles and had one pass breakup in the loss.
Foles pulls off a big win for Chicago
After being the No. 3 QB for the Bears most of the season — and bouncing between active and inactive on game days — Nick Foles finally got to start in Week 16, and guess what? He was as reliable as ever in that “call me when you need me” role.
Foles finished the game with a 98.5 passer rating, having gone 24-of-35 attempts for 250 yards and one touchdown. He did fumble the ball the once, but he was also sacked four times, so I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. He also led Chicago to their first win since Week 12 against the Lions, and did it in spectacular fashion, throwing a touchdown pass to veteran Jimmy Graham with just over a minute to play, followed by a successful two-point conversion to take the lead.
For the Seahawks, who are now set to miss the postseason for the first time since 2011, cornerback Ryan Neal had six total tackles in what was his third consecutive game taking 100 percent of the defensive snaps. Sidney Jones was similarly on the field for the entire defensive performance and made seven total tackles plus one pass breakup. Not that it’s helped Seattle make a comeback this season, but it is interesting that they’ve turned to these two former Eagles as their starting corners.
- The Bills ended up beating the Patriots on Sunday, 33-21, in a game that had big implications for the postseason and essentially put New England out of the race to clinch the AFC East. For the Bills, safety Jordan Poyer had three total tackles, including one for loss, and offensive lineman Ryan Bates made his second start of the season and took a season-high 100 percent of the offensive snaps. For the Patriots, Jalen Mills had his second-most productive game of the season with six total tackles.
- Running back Kenjon Barner was signed the to Buccaneers practice squad last week, but with a bunch of offensive injuries, elevated him to the active roster in Week 16. He only saw the field on special teams, but returned five punts against the Panthers for 44 yards.
- Veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a season-high four catches, on five targets, for 44 yards in the Raiders win over the Broncos this week. On the other sideline, cornerback Ronald Darby made six total tackles for Denver and had one pass breakup.
- The Texans beat the Chargers 41-29 in Week 16, and despite a few former Eagles not being able to suit up for Houston, three still did. Safety Terrence Brooks was cleared from the Covid list just a day before the matchup and made one special teams tackle, and Cameron Johnston had just one punt, his fewest of the season, for 53 yards. Defensive back Tremon Smith not only got his first start of the season, he also took 100 percent of the defensive snaps, made four total tackles, and had one offensive snap in which he carried the ball for a seven-yard gain.
- Washington lost to Dallas in Week 16 in a game that included several former Eagles. For WFT, DeAndre Carter had one catch for 5 yards, one carry for 15 yards, and two punt returns for 14 yards. Running back Wendell Smallwood was elevated to the active roster after clearing Covid protocols but was just used on six special teams snaps, and, similarly, center Jon Toth only saw the field for two of Washington’s special teams snaps. Defensive end Casey Toohill was on the field for nearly half of WFT’s defensive snaps and 11 special teams snaps, and recorded three total tackles. For the Cowboys, RB Corey Clement was back in the lineup, getting four carries for 18 yards and one kick return for 20 yards.
- In the Dolphins’ Monday night win over the (depleted) Saints, WR Mack Hollins had a big 40-yard reception that drew some praise, and on defense, Eric Rowe recorded one tackle.
- Safety Will Parks was just on Miami’s roster a couple of weeks ago, but he got his first start of the season in Week 16 for the New York Jets. He finished the game with four total tackles and lined up for 86 percent of the defensive snaps.
Inactives and Covid designations
- A few former Eagles were inactive in Week 16 as they work their way back from injury, including: WR Nelson Agholor (Patriots), OL Josh Andrews (Falcons), WR Danny Amendola (Texans), OT Jason Peters (Bears), SAF Andrew Sendejo (Colts), and SAF Elijah Riley (Jets). Both Sendejo and Riley are still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
- Covid hasn’t slowed down at all this week, taking a whole other group of players out of their games, including: QB Chase Daniel (Chargers), QB Joe Flacco (Jets), SAF Malcolm Jenkins (Saints) — breaking his streak of 133 consecutive starts —, LB Duke Riley (Dolphins), LB Eric Wilson (Texans). Notably, Wilson is the only unvaccinated player on Houston’s roster.
- Additionally, there are a few former Eagles who were out last week due to Covid, and have yet to be cleared to return, including: QB Matt Barkley (Panthers), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Texans), CB Cre’Von LeBlanc (Texans PS).