Week 5 Eagles grades by position after gutty win over Panthers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
A win’s a win, right?
But that doesn’t mean it was pretty.
The Eagles beat the Panthers 21-18 on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte but it wasn’t easy. And that’s definitely reflected in this week’s grades:
Jalen Hurts: 22/37, 198 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 30 yards, 2 TDs
It felt almost impossible to figure out Hurts’ grade in this game. Because for three quarters, he just wasn’t very good. Now, Nick Sirianni didn’t exactly put Hurts in the best position in this game, but Hurts missed too many throws he just simply needs to make. But you also can’t discount how well he played at the end of the game and how much guts he showed to help the Eagles pull out that win. His performance on Sunday won’t be good enough every week; but it got the job done against the Panthers.
Miles Sanders: 11 carries, 45 yards
The backs weren’t used a ton in this game until the end. In addition to his 45 yards on the ground, Sanders had five catches for six yards, which seems impossible. Kenny Gainwell had two carries for 16 yards and 1 catch for eight. I also dinged the backs for Sanders’ silly mistakes late in the game, not staying in bounds as the Eagles were trying to run out the clock.
Dallas Goedert: 2 catches on 3 targets, 28 yards
Goedert and Zach Ertz combined for just 35 yards and Goedert dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown. Before his drop, Goedert did have a 20-yard catch to set up the go-ahead touchdown so that gives a slight bump.
DeVonta Smith: 7 catches, 77 yards
Smith had another strong performance but he also fumbled away a pass. Quez Watkins’ 53-yard catch was a huge moment in the game but he also finished with just 48 receiving yards. Yeah, you read that right. Jalen Reagor had just three for 24 and Greg Ward took points off the board with an OPI.
Jalen Hurts was sacked just twice but those came on back-to-back plays when Jordan Mailata was beaten soundly by Haason Reddick. Landon Dickerson seemed to struggle before being replaced by Nate Herbig (not sure what happened there). And Jason Kelce had a high snap that gave the Panthers two points.
Javon Hargrave: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits
Yeah, Hargrave continues to play at an All-Pro level but it wasn’t just him. Fletcher Cox picked up his first sack of the season, Josh Sweat added one of his own and Derek Barnett had a couple quarterback hits, playing the best game of his season. Heck, even Ryan Kerrigan ended his stat-less streak with a TFL.
Genard Avery: 8 tackles, 1 TFL
All of a sudden, Avery looks like the Eagles’ best linebacker. That’s something I never would have thought I’d say when the Eagles traded for him a couple years ago. Alex Singleton ended up with 13 tackles, but he struggled in coverage and missed a couple tackles too. Davion Taylor played more and performed well; his snaps ought to continue to increase.
Darius Slay: 2 INTs, 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBUs
Slay has been very good since the Eagles signed him in the 2020 offseason, but he hasn’t really lived up to his Big Play Slay nickname. He did that on Sunday, picking off two passes, which doubled his total in 19 games before that with the Eagles. Steven Nelson added a pick of his own on Sunday. Yes, the Eagles had some miscommunication deep in the red zone on one play that resulted in a touchdown — and that can’t happen — but this was a very good game from the secondary.
Jake Elliott: 2/2 on field goals, long of 58
The Eagles’ special teams units had some negative plays early in this game with a 16-yard punt with pressure in Arryn Siposs’s face and a bad kick return from Jalen Reagor that resulted in back field position and eventually a safety. But I couldn’t keep them out of the A range because of how many big plays there were. Jake Elliott hit a 58-yarder, Arryn Siposs had a 64-yard punt that pinned the Panthers at their own 5-yard line and T.J. Edwards had the play of the game to block a punt.
I still don’t understand what Sirianni was thinking with his play calling early in this game. The lack of a rushing attack has been a theme but the bigger problem in this game was the horizontal passing attack. It was hard to watch as the Eagles played the first half in quick sand. But the fact that the Eagles showed grit in this game and came from behind for a win speaks volumes about the buy-in level from Sirianni’s players.
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