Eagles

Eagles dominate Cardinals from start to finish for 3rd straight win

Eagles dominate Cardinals from start to finish for 3rd straight win

BOX SCORE

That was a beatdown.

Carson Wentz was great, the defense was stifling at times and Dave Fipp's special teams' group showed why it was it's considered one of the best in the NFL.

The Eagles simply crushed the Arizona Cardinals in all three phases Sunday at the Linc. The final score was 34-7 (see Roob's 10 observations)

And it wasn't that close.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 4-1 on the season. The Cardinals dropped to 2-3.

If fans weren't expecting the Eagles to make the playoffs before the start of the season, expectations might have changed now. Of the 339 teams to have four wins through five games, 234 have made the playoffs. That's 69 percent.

But nothing is guaranteed.

This is the first 4-1 start for the Eagles since 2014 — they did not make the playoffs that year.

Still, it would be hard for Eagles fans to not be encouraged by the first five weeks of the season (see report card). Their only loss came to the Chiefs, who many consider being the best team in football.

Sunday's game was the biggest win for the Eagles since their 34-3 win over the Steelers early last season.

Turning point
We'll just say the first drive. After a nice punt return from Kenjon Barner, the Eagles went 54 yards on 10 plays in 5:26.

The Eagles have now scored on their first possessions in four of five games this year, including three touchdowns. They never trailed Sunday.

Key stat
The Eagles came into Sunday as the second-best team in NFL on third down conversions. They kept it going against the Cardinals. They finished the game 9 for 14 (64 percent) after going 5 for 7 in the first half.

Offensive stud
Wentz came to play Sunday. He finished the game 21 for 30 for 300 yards, four touchdowns and one interception — a passer rating of 128.3. It was the best passer rating of Wentz's career.  

He became the first Eagles' quarterback to throw four touchdowns in a game since Nick Foles had his seven-touchdown game in 2013. Wentz was absolutely brilliant on third downs.

With touchdown passes of 72 and 59 yards, Wentz threw the second- and third-longest passes of his young career Sunday. 

Offensive dud
Another lackluster performance from Alshon Jeffery. It just didn't matter much.

Defensive stud
Vinny Curry picked up his first sack of the 2017 season and played well in the run game too. Brandon Graham was also a wrecking ball once again. Tim Jernigan had himself a game too. Credit the entire defensive line. They were difference-makers on Sunday.

And on the back end, Patrick Robinson had another good game. He had three pass breakups and probably should have had a couple interceptions.

Defensive dud
No one really had a bad game. Jalen Mills gave up the touchdown but made plenty of plays too.  

Special teams update
Barner filled the role of punt returner, setting up the Eagles with good field position a few times. The coverage units didn't give up anything. And Jake Elliott made two more field goals. He's made eight straight (see rookie report).

The Eagles' special teams unit is still really good. It made a difference Sunday.

Key plays
• The Eagles took 9:14 off the clock late in the game to ice it. They got the ball with over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter and got the game all the way to the two-minute warning with the 13-play drive to send the capacity crowd home happy.

• On 3rd-and-19 in the third quarter, Wentz delivered a 72-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. After catching the ball, Agholor juked safety Budda Baker bad before falling backward into the end zone. Ballgame.

• Wentz completed a 17-yard pass to Agholor on 3rd-and-11 in the third quarter on a drive that eventually led to a field goal. Wentz missed on a third-down throw to Zach Ertz a little later.

• Robinson got his hand on a 51-yard field goal attempt to keep the Cardinals from cutting even more into the Eagles' lead. A big blocked field goal.

• The Eagles had a chance to get another score toward the end of the first half but Wentz threw a bad interception in the end zone to Antoine Bethea, who got both feet down to give the Cardinals the ball back.

• Curry picked up his first sack of the season in the second quarter to force a long third-down situation for the Cardinals. They punted away.

• Carson Palmer hit Jaron Brown on a slant for a 13-yard touchdown pass. On the play, safety Rodney McLeod was blitzing but it looked like Mills might not have known. He let Brown past him; it looked like he thought he had help. The Cardinals converted three third downs on the drive.

• Wentz hit Torrey Smith for a 59-yard touchdown pass for a long touchdown. Coming into the week, Smith had really been struggling with four drops in four games. But Wentz kept going back to him. It was the second-longest pass of Wentz's young career.

• Barner had a huge 76-yard punt return that gave the Eagles great field position. Barner rejoined the team after Darren Sproles was lost for the season. Three plays later, Wentz hit Ertz for 11 yards and a touchdown.

• Wentz hit Trey Burton for a 15-yard touchdown on a fade. The Eagles converted on three third downs on this drive, including two 3rd-and-11s.

Injuries
Lane Johnson didn't come back out for the second half because of a head injury. Halapoulivaati Vaitai filled in. With the short week, it seems likely Big V will get the start Thursday.

Fletcher Cox (calf), Ronald Darby (ankle) and Wendell Smallwood (knee) all missed Sunday's game.

Up next
The Eagles have a few days to prepare for their Thursday Night Football game against the Panthers in Carolina. These turnarounds are always difficult and it won't be an easy game.

Eagle Eye podcast: A heartbreaking loss in Atlanta

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Eagle Eye podcast: A heartbreaking loss in Atlanta

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro break down the Eagles’ heartbreaking 24-20 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta. 

They go through the laundry list of injuries and wonder about the future. 

Plus, Roob is tired of all this moral victory stuff. The Eagles had a chance and didn’t win. 

• A heartbreaking loss
• Everyone got hurt 
• The key plays that went wrong
• The Eagles couldn’t run the ball
• This makes next week very important 
• And plenty more 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

Eagles fans won’t want to hear this, but there’s nothing for the team to be ashamed of after a 24-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday night. 

The injuries started in warmups with tight end Dallas Goedert and continued to pile up as the game went on, with Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Tim Jernigan and Sidney Jones among the players who came off the field at some point. Add in the road trip, and it was a tough game.

Sure, the Eagles had opportunities to steal a win, and that’s reflected in the grades. But by and large, this isn’t a terrible report card considering what transpired in Atlanta.

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz: 25/43, 231 YDS, TD, 2 INT

Was Wentz hurt, or was the offense out of sync because the Eagles were suddenly down to their backup receivers? Whatever was ailing the signal caller, he snapped out of it in the second half, completing 19 of 27 passes for 184 yards with two scores — one passing, one rushing — plus he put the possible game-winning touchdown on Nelson Agholor's fingertips. By no means a classically great performance, but a gutsy game for Wentz, particularly under the circumstances.

Grade: B-

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 10 ATT, 28 YDS, 3 REC, 9 YDS

Sanders is explosive when he’s moving north-south, but has a tendency to bounce runs outside, to limited success. To be fair, the backs didn’t have a ton of room to operate. Looked like Darren Sproles might’ve missed his assignment in pass protection on an interception.

Grade: C

Wide receivers and tight ends

Nelson Agholor: 8 REC, 107 YDS, TD

There’s no getting around it. Agholor’s drop in the fourth quarter might’ve cost the Eagles the game. Atlanta would’ve had an opportunity with the ball, but that was six points. Backbreaker. Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery all exited in the first quarter with injuries. Mack Hollins helped pick up the slack with five catches for 50 yards, though he often did not appear to be on the same page with his quarterback.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Eagles running backs carries 18 times for 46 yards — a 2.6 average — and didn’t record a gain over five yards. Five! Atlanta’s pass rush enjoyed some success too, registering 10 quarterback hits and three sacks. Give the Falcons’ front and pressure packages some credit, but this unit has set the bar high and didn’t meet those expectations.

Grade: C

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: TFL, 3 QH

The numbers won’t do them justice, but the pass rush helped create three interceptions despite five quarterback hits and zero sacks. Falcons running backs also carried 15 times for 54 yards, a 3.6 average. Barnett and Brandon Graham set the tone with their efforts.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Nate Gerry: 2 TKL, INT

It might’ve been a case of right place, right time. Regardless, Gerry’s end zone pick kept the Falcons off the board and gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Clutch. Zach Brown led the unit with five tackles. Nigel Bradham left some plays out there, though.

Grade: B

Defensive backs

Sidney Jones: 6 TKL, INT

Ronald Darby was getting killed, and rightfully so as the Falcons were clearly picking on him. Yet on the 34-yard touchdown over the top, it was Andrew Sendejo arriving late with the help. Darby’s play picked up in the second half, as did the rest of the secondary. Darby and Jones had picks, Andrew Sendejo a sack, and Rodney McLeod was everywhere with a team-high seven tackles. Unfortunately, the lasting image will be Avonte Maddox getting buried on the game-winning screen.

Grade: C

Special teams

Cameron Johnston: 52.3 AVG, 3 IN20

Underrated moment that will go forgotten: Corey Clement’s kick return fumble to open the second half. Three plays later, the Falcons were in the end zone. For what it’s worth, Clement was injured during the return. Still, a big turnover that marred an otherwise solid night for special teams.

Grade: C-

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 1-1

Jim Schwartz’s aggression may very well have kept the Eagles in the game and eventually turned the tides, but a zero blitz on 4th-and-3 turned out to be the call of the game. The Falcons caught Schwartz with a wide receiver screen, which Julio Jones took 54 yards to the house for the win. Also of note, Doug Pederson’s run-pass ratio — 72 percent pass in a game in which two starting receivers and a tight end were all lost to injury early in the first quarter.

Grade: C-

 



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