Eagles Report Card: No ‘A' for Wentz and Co. This Time

It wasn't always pretty, but the Eagles improved their record to 2-0 in 2016 with a 29-14 win over the Bears on Monday Night Football.
Of course, that is the NFL in a nutshell, as rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is no doubt learning. It's rarely ever easy, and no matter what SportsCenter tries to tell you, there's no such thing as style points. All that matters is the score when those 60 minutes are up.
The Eagles were on the right side in Chicago, and in large part thanks to Wentz. That being said, there's no question some of the squad's faults were on display against an actual NFL opponent — aka, not the Browns. It was a good win either way, but there were few "A" grades to go around this week.
There are only two things that really needed to be noted about Wentz's line on Monday night, going 21 for 34 for 190 yards a touchdown. First and foremost, the rookie signal-caller didn't turn the football over for a second week in a row. Number two, Jordan Matthews dropped what likely would have gone down as a 35-yard score. Wentz's 5.6 yards per attempt are nothing to brag about, but the 23-year-old carried out the task that was asked of him in guiding the Eagles to their second victory.
Grade: B+
Running backs
The numbers don't look good, but A) the Bears front seven didn't make anything easy and B) the usage was questionable. Why Darren Sproles would lead this group in carries when Ryan Mathews might be able to bruise his way to a few extra yards is beyond me, but I'm not going to hold that against the backs. 25 rushes for only 90 yards isn't on the ballcarriers, especially when there are no fumbles. [[247269581, C]]
Grade: B-
Wide receivers
We were willing to overlook a pair of insignificant drops by Jordan Matthew last week, but putting a perfectly placed 35-yard touchdown pass on the turf when the score was still 9-7 could've hurt. And while Nelson Agholor had a pair broken up, and another erased by what should've been defensive pass interference, at some point these guys have to make a big catch. The duo combined for 10 catches, 113 yards, but it's not enough.
Grade: C
Tight ends
Keep in mind, Zach Ertz was inactive with a rib injury. No big deal apparently, as Trey Burton filled in nicely with five receptions for 49 yards — both of which were good for second on the team — plus a touchdown. Brent Celek nearly hauled in a score as well, only to have the intended pass tipped away on an excellent defensive play. Great job all around, including Matt Tobin and Stefan Wisniewski, offensive linemen who helped fill in for the shorthanded unit.
Grade: A
Offensive line
It's difficult to grade the run blocking seeing as the Eagles' strategy was clearly to spread the Bears defense out and throw the football. Still, 3.6 yards per carry for running backs is nothing for the unit to hang its hat on, no matter how stout the defense. Holding penalties killed a couple drives as well. The saving grace here was the protection, as Wentz was sacked twice and hurried just three times.
Grade: B-
Defensive line
For the second week in a row, the Eagles knocked a quarterback out of the game, which should tell you something about this pass-rush. The strip-sack by interior lineman Destiny Vaeao was obviously a huge play, but the run defense in particular deserves high praise for a second week in a row. It's hard for an offense to do anything with 64 total yards on the ground with a 3.6 average.
Grade: B+
Nothing spectacular, except of course for the interception by Nigel Bradham, which he nearly returner 30 yards for a touchdown. Reserves Mychal Kendricks and Stephen Tulloch both made three tackles, while Jordan Hicks and Bradham finished with one each. For what it's worth, Kendricks made a mark on special teams as well. Overall, nothing much to say, which probably isn't a bad thing.
Grade: B+
Defensive backs
On one hand, Bears quarterbacks completed 21 of 29 pass attempts, and seventh-round rookie Jalen Mills notably got burned by Pro Bowl wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a 49-yard gain. On the other hand, Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Kevin White were limited to 13 receptions for 184 yards and no touchdowns is a testament to the secondary. There's a lot of talent in that trio, but aside from one mistake by Mills, it was a quiet night all around. [[393267511, C]]
Grade: B
Special teams
In retrospect, I was probably hard on special teams last week and was prepared to make up for that with a favorable grade this week. Then a short Donnie Jones punt, missed Caleb Sturgis extra point and a 65-yard Eddie Royal touchdown return for the Bears changed all of that. The Eagles did not win in this phase of the game, plain and simple.
Grade: D
It's always easy to second-guess an NFL coach. Why did Doug Pederson go with such a pass-heavy attack? Why did the diminutive Darren Sproles lead the team is rushing attempts? At the end of the day, the Eagles won this game by a comfortable margin. Pederson also continued to show he's willing to be aggressive, converting not one but two third downs. Perhaps there's a bit of beginner's luck here. Regardless, the Eagles are 2-0.
Grade: B

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