That certainly wasn't pretty but the Eagles escaped the battle of the birds with a 24-21 victory yesterday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The first half had the Eagles rolling, making key stops and forcing turnovers on defense, while Nick Foles ran the offense once again to perfection. But the second half trotted out a different team. This is seemed to be a trend lately and I hope that it does not continue against NFC North power Detroit next week. If it does, there is no doubt in my mind that Stafford, Johnson, and Bush will tear up the fresh sod at the Linc. But a win is a win, and 4 wins in a row and two wins at home is quite an accomplishment for the Eagles and their first year coach. It certainly wasn't pretty but they got the job done. Below are the Monday Eagles' Report Card grades.
Chip Kelly: B
The heart attacks have to stop, Chip. The ending of the Cardinals game was so eerily similar to that of the Redskins game two weeks ago. Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians made adjustments and thanks to some questionable officiating, the Eagles escaped unscathed. Chip really has to work on sealing the game. If it's going to be like this every week, one team, one time, is going to come back and make us look like fools. Work on that 4th quarter offense Chip and score some more points.
Nick Foles: B
Still no interceptions but man was that second half shaky. After the first drive which resulted in a beauty of a pass to Zach Ertz for his second touchdown, nothing happened. And if it wasn't for a silly holding play on Tyronn Mathieu, Foles would have had his first interception on a boneheaded pass. Nick, the great decision maker had some lapse of judgements in that final quarter. Maybe it was the time off but he came out firing in the first half, but that all went away in the second. Also, need to have better reads on the read options, Foles can't be running it that many times with significant yards to gain.
Zach Ertz: A+
Breakout performance of the day. Ertz had a coming out party on Sunday against the Cards. In the Fox pregame show, Michael Strahan said that the Eagles tight ends would have a big day. I usually don't take advice from a guy who does a talk show with Kelly Ripa, but he was right on this one. Both Ertz and Celek caught the 3 touchdown passes from Foles yesterday and were the difference in the offense.
Brad Smith: F
Thanks for playing Brad. It was a bad play call by Chip Kelly to put Brad Smith in for a wildcat play down in the redzone considering that Foles and the passing game had been clicking that whole drive. Smith looked up before the ball reached his hands, he fumbled, picked it up and lost a few yards. Not the first impression you want from Smith.
Riley Cooper: B+
Gets a grade simply for having the catch of the day.
DeMeco Ryans: A
Led the team in tackles and is making a really strong case for being chosen for the NFC Pro Bowl squad. Ryans was always in the backfield. Made a couple stops for losses and even sacked Palmer once.
Trent Cole: A
What a way to start a game. On the Cardinals first series, Trent Cole strip sacked Carson Palmer which led to the Eagles scoring the first touchdown of the day. From there the tone had been set for the defense. He would also pick up a second sack later, accounting for 2 of the Eagles' 5 sacks of Palmer.
Nate Allen: B+
Talk about immediate redemption. One play after making a late hit on a play that cost the Eagles 15 yards, he picked off Palmer who was looking deep for Michael Floyd and took it back 43 yards completely negating his penalty.
Brandon Graham: A
Graham collected two sacks on the day. When attention shifted towards Cole and Cox, the Eagles' main threats the past few weeks, Graham took advantage of the opportunity yesterday.
Kurt Coleman: D-
Coleman's block in the back penalty cost the Eagles a very crucial touchdown in the 4th quarter. DeSean Jackson, who had a birthday yesterday, had a punt return for a touchdown negated because of a play Coleman did not have to make. It would have made the game essentially out of reach for the Cardinals.
BONUS: Donnie Jones: A
This is two weeks in a row now for Donnie Jones. Two weeks ago against the Redskins he had a 70 yard punt. How did he follow it up this week? A 69 yard punt. It was of course waived off by the Cardinals Patrick Peterson, but it allowed Jones to finish with 7 of his 8 punts to be downed inside the 20.
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