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Grading the Eagles' 34-7 Week 5 win over the Cardinals

Grading the Eagles' 34-7 Week 5 win over the Cardinals

Grading the Eagles' 34-7 win Sunday afternoon over the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Carson Wentz: 21/30, 304 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT

Believe it or not, this was Wentz's first NFL game with three or more touchdown passes. He was especially sharp in the first quarter, connecting on 7 of 9 attempts for 121 yards and three scores, including a 59-yard bomb to Torrey Smith. Wentz went back to that play in the second half, this time hooking up with Nelson Agholor for 72 yards and the TD. A first-half pick was the lone blemish on Wentz's day, but everything else was working.

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS
LeGarrette Blount: 14 ATT, 74 YDS

There certainly is no disputing the vast majority of defenders that have a severe aversion to tackling Blount, especially as the game wears on. That was evident once again on a 37-yard carry in the third quarter, with the game already well in hand. Corey Clement tacked on 32 yards from scrimmage, while Kenjon Barner added five rushes for 23 yards. No Wendell Smallwood, no problem this week.

Grade: B+

WIDE RECEIVERS
Nelson Agholor: 4 REC, 93 YDS, 1 TD
Torrey Smith: 3 REC, 70 YDS, 1 TD

Smith finally held on to a big one, his 59-yard scoring play essentially putting the Cardinals away in the first quarter. In case there was any doubt, Agholor one-upped Smith on a 72-yarder, with some nifty moves after the catch that made the defender look silly (see Roob's 10 observations). Alshon Jeffery — three receptions, 31 yards — was probably just fine playing the role of decoy in this game.

Grade: A

TIGHT ENDS
Zach Ertz: 6 REC, 61 YDS, 1 TD

The Cardinals had no answer for Ertz. They tried putting a safety on him, and that didn't work. They tried putting a cornerback on him as well, and that didn't work, either. Ertz finished with six receptions for 61 yards, though the highlight of the game belonged to Trey Burton — a nimble 15-yard touchdown catch in the end zone. The Eagles have no shortage of ways to beat a defense.

Grade: A

OFFENSIVE LINE
Lane Johnson: Left game in 2nd QTR (head)

Can't ask for much more out of a unit than this against a pretty stout defensive front. Wentz was largely untouched, as the Cardinals registered three quarterback hits and a sack, while the O-line paved the way for 124 yards rushing with a 4.0 average. The offense didn't even miss a beat with Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Johnson at right tackle, though the rotation at left guard remains weird.

Grade: A

DEFENSIVE LINE
Brandon Graham: 4 TKL, 1.0 SK, 3 TFL

Absolutely dominant performance up front, albeit against a vastly inferior offensive line. Still, the Eagles took care of business here, even without Fletcher Cox, and that set the tone for the rest of the defense. Vinny Curry and Graham each registered a sack and at least one tackle for a loss, and Carson Palmer was hit seven times overall. Arizona could muster only 31 measly yards on the ground as well, with a 2.2 average per attempt.

Grade: A

LINEBACKERS
Nigel Bradham: 8 TKL

Nothing flashy here. Just good, solid work by Bradham and Jordan Hicks. Bradham led all Eagles with eight tackles — five solo — while Hicks had four. Quiet game for Mychal Kendricks, who wasn't on the field much. That was likely a symptom of the Cardinals' use of multiple receivers and falling behind quickly on the scoreboard.

Grade: B+

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson: 3 PD each

Hard to tell who was better in coverage: the Eagles' secondary or the Cardinals' wide receivers, who broke up a ton of potential interceptions. Robinson nearly had two, including a potential pick-six, but couldn't hang on. Mills took a shot on a pass that was seemingly thrown right to him, the impact from which was enough to jar the ball loose. Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Rasul Douglas broke up passes as well.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kenjon Barner: 3 PR, 110 YDS, 36.7 AVG

As is often the case, special teams were a game changer for the Eagles. Barner's 76-yard punt return set up an easy first-quarter touchdown, and Robinson blocked a Cardinals field-goal try before halftime. Jake Elliott was 2 for 2 on field goals and 4 for 4 on extra points (see rookie report)

Grade: A+

COACHING
Eagles' record: 4-1

There is absolutely no question Doug Pederson had his team ready to play this week. The Eagles came out absolutely on fire, and while the offense didn't keep up that breakneck pace the whole game, they never really let their foot off the gas pedal. Same goes for Jim Schwartz's defense, which dominated in the trenches the entire game and allowed the back seven to make all kinds of plays on the football. This was as close to a perfect win as you see in the NFL.

Grade: A+

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

christina-betz-meat-pie.jpg
Christina Betz | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

The Sixers on Wednesday sent over a box of Four’N Twenty Australian beef pies to promote The Center's newest concession food. The meat pies are in homage to future Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons, who hails from the Land Down Under and was the driving force for helping the team sign its first international sponsor.

These magnificent meat pies will be available at home games beginning Wednesday. 

Naturally, I was intrigued to try the foreign (and free) food. A little research on the brand gave me the advice to "tuck in to a classic," which I gladly agreed to.

The packaging recommended an oven, but without access to one at work, and hunger too great to wait for the toaster oven, I went straight for the four and a half minutes in the microwave.

Three and half minutes later (our microwave is one of the industrial super-strong ones), I had this waiting for me:

Armed with just a plastic fork and knife, I decided to dive in and give "THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN TASTE" a try.

First impression?

The pastry was way crispier than I thought was achievable from a microwave. Like this was some "bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes" crispiness. I was having some serious issues cutting through with my plastic knife.

Once I managed to split it open, I was rewarded with a steaming pastry filled with a dark brown meat stuffing.

After that initial cut, things took a little turn for the worse.

I was forced to use my hands to break and eat the rest of it following several unsuccessful attempts to cut bite-sized pieces with the tools I had.

The pie was … really tasty. The meat filling was just a delicious ground beef mixture, with no weird spices or flavors, and the pastry was perfectly flaky and crispy. I could definitely see myself wanting this again when I’m craving a comfort food or want to eat a classier hamburger.

My main issue with the meat pie lies within the actual feasibility of eating it during a game. I had some serious struggles while I was sitting at a desk, with a plate and at least semi-useful utensils. I can’t really imagine eating a pie in a stadium seat between two rabid Processors.

My top-5 Australian exports
1. Ben Simmons
2. Hugh Jackman
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Walkabouts
5. Boxed Wine
.
.
.
10. Brett Brown's accent
11. Meat pies

Final thought: This meat pie is a really solid, albeit, strange new food for a sporting event. I can only really see its success playing out in two ways: A lot of greasy, meaty high fives or a messier version of the Flyers' bracelet debacle if the Sixers drop another game in which they led by 24 points.

Eagles can put up points in scary-quick fashion

Eagles can put up points in scary-quick fashion

When the Eagles went into the locker room Sunday night for halftime at AT&T Stadium, they were trailing the Cowboys, 9-7. After Nigel Bradham returned a fumble for a touchdown with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Eagles led 37-9.

An eight-play, 75-yard drive ending with a Corey Clement touchdown run and a two-point conversion took 4:04 off the clock. A five-play, 90-yard series capped by a Torrey Smith touchdown grab and two to Alshon Jeffery took 2:28. An 11-play, 85-yard march finished with six to Jeffery in 5:48. Obviously, Bradham’s score lasted only seconds.

In a matter of 20 minutes, the Eagles had scored 30 points. And it wasn’t the first time this team has put points on the board in bunches.

Against the Broncos two weeks ago, the Eagles racked up 31 points in the span of about 24 minutes in the first half. The previous game, they posted 17 over a period of fewer than 12 minutes in the second and third quarters to pull away from the 49ers. And one week earlier, the Eagles went from down 10-3 to up 24-10 on the Redskins with three touchdown drives in 13 minutes during quarters two and three.

That’s just the last four games. The Eagles have shown the ability to light up the scoreboard quickly just about every week this season.

Thirteen points in under 15 minutes against the Panthers. Twenty-one points in the first quarter alone on the Cardinals. Thirteen points in the final seven minutes to come from behind and beat the Giants.

The Eagles don’t just score a lot. They do score a lot, of course — their 320 points leads the NFL.

The Eagles score a lot, and they often pour it on when they do, in a manner that demoralizes opponents. Once that wound is picked open, it can take a whole quarter to stop the bleeding. Lately, it’s been the better part of a half of football.

It’s not as if teams are responding, matching scoring drives or going point for point with the Eagles, either. Once the floodgates open, opponents are often facing an insurmountable deficit after the devastation.

The offense is moving the ball, but the defense is creating turnovers and getting off the field, too, occasionally even finding the end zone themselves. The Eagles have three defensive touchdowns on the season, and their 20 takeaways are good for third in the NFL.

What does it all mean? The Eagles are 9-1, best record in the league, and quarterback Carson Wentz is the frontrunner to win the Most Valuable Player award. They have the No. 1 run defense in the league, rank first in point differential and second in turnover differential. At this point, it’s no secret this is one of the best teams in the game.

But should the Eagles ever find themselves in a position where they’re behind late — something that hasn’t happened in going on months – you know they’re not out of it. Even if they’re trailing by three possessions in the fourth quarter, the defense can get some holds, and Wentz can get 21 points in a hurry. He’s done it before.

And if the Eagles aren’t trailing, and they go on a huge run, you know the tides have likely changed for good.

Recently, it hasn’t been a question of “if” at all, but “when” the Eagles start scoring in bunches. The Eagles are averaging just short of 34 points during their eight-game winning streak, and have finished with no fewer than 26 during that stretch.

It doesn’t always happen right out of the gate, but the Eagles keep on scoring in droves.