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Grading the Eagles' 43-35 win over the Rams in Week 14

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Grading the Eagles' 43-35 win over the Rams in Week 14

Grading the Eagles' 43-35 win Sunday afternoon over the Los Angeles Rams at the L.A. Coliseum (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Carson Wentz: 23/41, 291 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT

Wentz was having a phenomenal game until disaster struck. A knee injury sent the starting signal caller to the locker room, and he was unable to return for the fourth quarter (see story). No word as of this writing as to Wentz's condition. Nick Foles came on in relief and was something north of abysmal — when he wasn't throwing to his left tackle in desperation. Foles completed 6 of 10 passes for 40 yards, which was just enough to lead the Eagles on a pair of field-goal drives, including the go-ahead score. The backup did his job.

Grade: A

RUNNING BACKS
Jay Ajayi: 12 ATT, 72 YDS

Ajayi and Corey Clement were by far the Eagles' most effective backs, yet LeGarrette Blount saw the bulk of the work in the first half. Blount looked slow to the hole, rushing seven times for just 12 yards. There weren't necessarily huge lanes, but the rest of the ball carriers seemed to make due. Clement added a 28-yard reception. The game plan was pass-heavy, depriving the entire backfield of a true opportunity to shine.

Grade: B

WIDE RECEIVERS
Torrey Smith: 6 REC, 100 YDS

Arguably the most oft-criticized player on the Eagles' roster, Smith authored his best game with the club (see Roob's observations). Alshon Jeffery didn't exactly dominate his battle with Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, but did manage five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Nelson Agholor is the guy dragging the class down this week. Though Agholor finished with eight for 64, a drop on the opening possession led directly to Wentz's interception, also giving the opponent a short field. Bad luck, maybe, but that can't happen.

Grade: B-

TIGHT ENDS
Trey Burton: 5 REC, 71 YDS, 2 TD

No Zach Ertz, no problem. The Eagles' leading receiver missed the game with a concussion, but Burton stepped up. An impending free agent, Burton probably made himself a little extra coin with his big game, making tough catches in traffic on touchdowns of 20 and 11 yards. Brent Celek chipped in with a five-yard score as well.

Grade: A+

OFFENSIVE LINE
Stefen Wisniewski: Exited game in 2nd quarter (ankle)

Chance Warmack initially took over for Wisniewski at left guard, but that did not go well. Warmack was getting destroyed on virtually every snap until he too was replaced by Isaac Seumalo after halftime. Seumalo was better, though not by much. That being said, the Eagles' injuries weren't solely along the interior. Lane Johnson penalties nullified two Wentz touchdown runs, including the play on which the quarterback was injured. Despite the penalties and issues at guard, the offense did average 4.3 yards per rush attempt and limited the Rams to two sacks.

Grade: B

DEFENSIVE LINE
Fletcher Cox: 4 TKL, 2 QBH

Quiet day up front for one of the most disruptive front fours in the NFL — until Chris Long showed up. Long's strip-sack set up the Eagles' game-winning score, and was one of the few times they got the quarterback on the ground all day. But the larger issue up front was the No. 1 run defense's inability to slow down Todd Gurley. Gurley carried 13 times for 96 yards with two touchdowns, and that starts up front. Not the D-line's best game.

Grade: C+

LINEBACKERS
Nigel Bradham: 6 TKL, 1 TFL, 2 PD, 1 FF

Bradham had some opportunities to dramatically change the course of the game, yet failed to hang on to a pair of would-be interceptions. Tough to fault a linebacker for not making extraordinary catches, but the Eagles sure could've used those turnovers. Also, Mychal Kendricks was practically nonexistent, finishing with one tackle.

Grade: C+

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Patrick Robinson: 3 TKL, 1.0 SK, 1 PD

To their credit, the Eagles' secondary tightened up in the second half, but missed tackles were a serious issue and the coverage was suspect for large stretches. Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 7.7 yards per attempt and two touchdowns, while wide receiver Cooper Kupp went for 118 yards receiving. It wasn't any one individual, either. It was the entire group. At least Rodney McLeod was able to scoop up the football on Long's forced fumble, so there's that. 

Grade: C+

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Elliott: 3/3 FG, 4/4 XP

Elliott was automatic, including a 54-yard field goal that was negated by a penalty. However, the performance of the special teams units was marred by a blocked punt the Rams took to the house for an easy touchdown in the third quarter. The Eagles nearly had another blocked earlier, begging the question why an adjustment wasn't made earlier.

Grade: C-

COACHING
Eagles' record: 11-2

Make no mistake, this was a difficult game from a coaching vantage point. The Rams are a strong team on both sides of the football, and the Eagles won. They spent the week in Los Angeles leading up this contest but remained focused. They lost the franchise quarterback in the second half and trailed in the fourth quarter, yet never gave up and pulled off a gritty victory. You can nitpick aspects of the game plan by Doug Pederson or Jim Schwartz, but the team won, on the road, against a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Give the staff a lot of credit.

Grade: A

T.O. unplugged on Twitter

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T.O. unplugged on Twitter

Terrell Owens is never one to hold his tongue. Or in this case, his fingers.

Answering fans’ Twitter questions on Friday night, the former Eagles wide receiver and Hall of Fame finalist opened up about several topics.

Things started off relatively tame, as T.O. was asked about playing for Andy Reid and the coach’s inability to win the big game.

Things took a turn when Owens’ Philadelphia exit — and the person he felt was behind it, who went unnamed, (Donovan McNabb) — was brought up.

… And his feelings on Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

However, Owens’ former San Francisco 49ers head coach, Steve Mariucci, got it the worst. Or maybe he’s just the worst.

At least Owens made it clear that despite playing for five teams during his NFL career, he will always bleed green.

Zach Ertz reveals secret origins of the dog mask

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Zach Ertz reveals secret origins of the dog mask

Dog mask mania has swept through Philadelphia ever since Lane Johnson and Chris Long donned the creepy masks following the Eagles' divisional round win over the Falcons. We know why the duo wore them but where in the world did they get the idea?

Well, thanks to Zach Ertz — and his article on The Players' Tribune — we now have the answer.

The Friday before the game, Long, Johnson, Ertz, Jason Kelce and Brent Celek were having dinner when Johnson just couldn't contain his excitement for the idea.

“You know how everyone keeps saying we’re underdogs?" Johnson said. "Even though we’re the No. 1 seed? Well … we were on Amazon last night, and we ordered these dog masks.

“Yeah, and when we win, because we’re gonna freaking win, we’re going to do everything in the masks. Media. Postgame. Everything. Dogs.”

And the rest is history. The dog masks have become a must-own for Eagles fans — if you managed to buy one before they sell out that is. The Linc will surely be filled with tens of thousands of rabid German shepherds. But will Long and Johnson get to gloat in the masks postgame again? 

For the full origin story of the masks and a ridiculous Carson Wentz story, read Ertz's full article here.