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Grading Eagles' 37-9 win over Cowboys in Week 11

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Grading Eagles' 37-9 win over Cowboys in Week 11

Grading the Eagles' 37-9 win Sunday night over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Carson Wentz: 14/27, 168 YDS, 2 TD

This was by no means Wentz's best game, yet there was still a lot to like about his performance. The 24-year-old remains unflappable, standing in the pocket and taking some pops, yet still delivering an accurate football. He took off and ran three times for 16 yards, but never put himself in harm's way. No turnovers, again, which is often the most important statistic of all. Give Wentz three two-point conversions, too. It wasn't always pretty, but it got the job done.

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS
Corey Clement: 6 ATT, 50 YDS, 1 TD

In a backfield that features Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount, Clement might be the best of the bunch (see Roob's observations). The undrafted rookie has a nose for the end zone, scoring on an 11-yard scamper and capping it off with the two-point conversion. Kenjon Barner followed up a 22-yard reception with a four-yard rushing TD as well. Speaking of Ajayi, his career-long 71-yard carry set up another TD, while Blount ripped off a 30-yarder that also led to points.

Grade: A+

WIDE RECEIVERS
Alshon Jeffery: 4 REC, 67 YDS, 1 TD

Just when I was ready to rip Torrey Smith for another dropped pass, he made perhaps the toughest grab during his Eagles tenure — an 11-yard touchdown in traffic. Smith finished with three receptions for 28 yards, but it was Jeffery who stole the show here. His 17-yard score was an impressive snag, holding on to a bullet while going to the ground with a pair of Cowboys defenders trying to rip it away. Give Jeffery two points for good measure.

Grade: B+

TIGHT ENDS
Brent Celek: 1 REC, 28 YDS

Hard to say if Zach Ertz's lack of involvement was because the Cowboys' defense focused on trying to take him away or if it was simply a quiet night. Whatever the case, the Eagles' leading receiver wound up with two receptions for eight yards. At least Celek's lone catch happened to the longest completion of the game, and Trey Burton was able to get in on the two-point parade.

Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE
NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth said the Eagles' offensive line might be the most underrated unit in the NFL, and it's difficult to argue. The big fellas up front limited a good Cowboys pass rush to six quarterback hits and zero sacks, while also paving the way for 218 yards on the ground on 30 attempts (excluding kneel-downs). That's a 7.3 average. And remember, this is all without Jason Peters. That Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a player.

Grade: A+

DEFENSIVE LINE
Derek Barnett: 3 TKL, 2.0 SK, 3 QBH, 2 TFL, 1 PD, 1 FF

The Cowboys' backup left tackles sure are doing wonders for NFL pass rushers. This time, it was Barnett benefitting from the injury to Tyron Smith (see Rookie Report). The Eagles' first-round draft pick enjoyed his most impactful game as a pro, while Tim Jernigan and Brandon Graham tacked on sacks as well. The front four generated a lot of pressure, which played a role in three interceptions, although they were curiously soft against the run. Dallas averaged 4.1 yards per attempt.

Grade: A

LINEBACKERS
Nigel Bradham: 6 TKL, 1 FR, 1 TD

Bradham scooped up the fumble caused by Barnett and raced 37 yards to put the game away. Otherwise, it was not a very impactful performance from the Eagles' linebackers, who played a role in the defense's struggled to stop the run. Mychal Kendricks registered four tackles and a quarterback hit, but it was a quiet game for the duo overall.

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Ronald Darby: 8 TKL, 1 INT, 2 PD

Welcome back, Mr. Darby. In his first game since injuring his ankle in Week 1, Darby led the way in tackles and got in on the pick parade. Rodney McLeod had one, via a tipped pass from Malcolm Jenkins, who later snared an interception of his own. Give Patrick Robinson a pass breakup on a pivotal third down, and let's not forget Jalen Mills, who was physical and racked up seven tackles. This secondary is legit.

Grade: A+

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Elliott: Left game in 1st QTR (concussion)

Kamu Grugier-Hill took over for Elliott on kickoffs, and it raised an interesting strategic question. If a backup linebacker is able to boot the ball into the end zone, why risk your field-goal kicker on kickoffs at all? The Eagles survived despite the injury, in addition to the Cowboys' 61-yard kick return to open the game. At least the punting game was strong, as Donnie Jones averaged 45.1 yards on six tries.

Grade: B-

COACHING
Eagles' record: 9-1

Doug Pederson got a little pass-happy in the first half, to negative results. Wentz struggled to find a rhythm, and the offense stalled repeatedly. The Eagles went into the locker room trailing 9-7, but Pederson figured it out in the second half. He gave the ball to his deep stable of backs, and they carried him to victory. Great adjustment. Jim Schwartz's defense didn't have its best game against the run, but completely shut down Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' passing attack, so it didn't matter. The winning streak is now at eight.

Grade: A

Eagles fans give MetLife Stadium a real fan experience

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Eagles fans give MetLife Stadium a real fan experience

First, it was StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Oct. 1. Then it was the Los Angeles Coliseum last week.

This time, on Sunday, it was a turnpike drive to MetLife Stadium. 

Eagles fans travel — we know that. An Eagles game in North Jersey? It's nothing new, Eagles-Giants, no matter how big of a ghastly mess the New York football Giants are right now, will always attract plenty of Birds fans. But this is quite something.

Eagles fans on Sunday gave MetLife Stadium — which has been open for eight seasons now — a baptism of what real fan experience looks like, writes the New York Daily News' Gary Miles:

Thanks to the Eagles fans, we found out MetLife Stadium can actually be as loud as Giants Stadium used to be. This is the eighth year for the new stadium and it hasn't jumped like the old place.

It's hard to say more than 50% of the stadium were Eagles fans, but they seemed to account for 75% of the noise, even more down the stretch when they were chanting, "Defense, defense, defense," on the Giants last drive.

This was worse than late in the 1978 season when fans burned tickets, rented an airplane to fly over the stadium pleading for the end of bad football and hung Wellington Mara in effigy from the mezzanine.

The Eagles fans invaded and the only retribution was cops handcuffed a fan wearing an Eagles No. 11 jersey and escorting him through the bowels of the stadium after the game.

Well done, Eagles fans. Well done.

Grading the Eagles' 34-29 win over the Giants in Week 15

Grading the Eagles' 34-29 win over the Giants in Week 15

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Grading the Eagles' 34-29 win Sunday afternoon over the New York Giants at the MetLife Stadium (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Nick Foles: 24/38, 237 YDS, 4 TD

Foles was far from perfect, missing his share of open receivers. He also wasn't afraid to stand in the pocket and take a hit or push the ball downfield. Foles threw a touchdown pass on four of the Eagles' six trips inside the red zone. Perhaps most importantly, he avoided the negative plays, taking only one sack and finishing the game without a turnover. You can't ask for much more from a backup.

Grade: A

RUNNING BACKS
Jay Ajayi: 12 ATT, 49 YDS, 2 REC, 40 YDS

The Eagles went with a running back by committee approach in the first half to only middling results. In the second half, they turned the reins over to Ajayi, who quickly racked up the offense's long gains of the day — a 22-yard rush and a 32-yard reception. Not sensational production by any means, but at least there weren't any fumbles.

Grade: C+

WIDE RECEIVERS
Nelson Agholor: 9 TAR, 7 REC, 59 YDS, 1 TD

The performance of these receivers with the backup quarterback at the helm is deserving of some respect. Agholor led the team in receptions and receiving yards, and Alshon Jeffery added four receptions for 49 and a score. Torrey Smith drew a pass interference penalty to set up six for the Eagles as well. With or without Carson Wentz under center, this is still a dangerous bunch (see Roob's observations).

Grade: A-

TIGHT ENDS
Zach Ertz: 9 TAR, 6 REC, 56 YDS, 1 TD

Another week, another stellar game for Eagles tight ends. Ertz picked up right where he left off with a big day after missing the previous week, while Trey Burton tacked on two receptions for 15 yards and a score as well.

Grade: A

OFFENSIVE LINE
Chance Warmack: Started at left guard

Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled with the speed of All-Pro defensive end Olivier Vernon off the edge, allowing four quarterback hits and a sack. Warmack had trouble keeping his feet and reaching his landmarks is the running game. Of course, you can only expect so much when the left side of the O-line consists of backups. Vaitai and Warmack were adequate, even very good at times, and settled in as the game went along to the point where protection was actually solid in the second half.

Grade: B+

DEFENSIVE LINE
Brandon Graham: 4 TKL, 2 TFL, 1.0 SK

The Giants rely on quick passes, negating the Eagles' pass rush to some extent, but the defense was able to generate some mild pressure. Vinny Curry had a sack erased by a penalty in the secondary, and Fletcher Cox got to the quarterback on a two-point conversion attempt. Otherwise, it was a quiet day up front, though the Giants were limited to 75 yards rushing on 3.3 yards per carry.

Grade: B

LINEBACKERS
Nigel Bradham: 11 TKL, 1 TFL, 2 PD

Both Bradham and Mychal Kendricks with nine tackles were extremely active, as the Giants worked the middle of the field hard with their power running game and short slants. Bradham had a chance to put the game on ice late in the fourth quarter but dropped what could've been an easy interception.

Grade: B

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Ronald Darby: 5 TKL, 3 PD, 1 INT

The secondary got off to a horrendous start, allowing 14th-year veteran Eli Manning to set a career high with 252 yards passing in the first half of a game. Darby's interception and 37-yard return while trailing 20-7 in the second quarter flipped the momentum a bit. The coverage was perfect, and Darby's run to the Giants' 20-yard line was even better. Manning went back to work in the second half, racking up 427 yards and three touchdowns. This was supposed to be the 31st-ranked passing offense in the NFL. Not good.

Grade: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS
Eagles: 3 blocked kicks

Derek Barnett blocked an extra point attempt in the first quarter, which turned out to be a huge play. Kamu Grugier-Hill followed up Darby's pick with a blocked punt on the following possession. Malcolm Jenkins blocked a field goal, too. And Jake Elliott was perfect on field goals and extra points. Yet, Najee Goode nearly undid all of it. Goode's totally unnecessary neutral zone infraction on a Giants punt in the third quarter extended a failed drive, eventually resulting in a touchdown. The rest of the unit bailed him out.

Grade: A-

COACHING
Eagles' record: 12-2

This was not Jim Schwartz's best work. The Eagles' defense seemed wholly unprepared for the exact same offense the Giants ran against them in Week 3 — the same offense they run every week. There's no reason for Manning to go over 400 yards. None. Some of the issues were the poor play on the part of the defensive backs, but the game plan was questionable as well.

Otherwise, great job by Doug Pederson to rally the troops after falling behind by 13 in the first half. It didn't look like the offense dialed anything back at all with Foles under center, which was the right call, too. When the team scores 34 with the backup quarterback, the coach is doing something right.

Grade: B-