By Chip Keagy, AATSN Co-Host
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The NFC East was primed for the taking. The Philadelphia Eagles had done enough in their first few games and had seemingly turned the corner. Jalen Hurts was beginning to silence the critics, Nick Sirianni was starting to show flashes of good coaching. And then the New York Giants happened. The game after Thanksgiving showed all the makings of a turkey hangover. Here's the official gradebook from a lifeless loss to the G-men.
Coaching Staff: D+
The very best thing to do when going up against the 22nd ranked rush defense and you have a dominant rushing attack....is to pass the ball over 30 times. Sirianni lost Jordan Howard and somehow forgot that his rushing attack was what has been working. EVEN WITH THAT, the team rushed for over 200 yards. Miles Sanders did not touch the ball enough (and was injured in the 4th quarter). Kenny Gainwell touched the ball 3x and was the team's leading receiver. Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert were total afterthoughts. This game plan was much more reminiscent of the first few weeks of the season when the offense was in a complete stall. And yet STILL the Eagles were in position to win the game at the end (hence the non failing grade).
Defensively, when you hold a professional football team to 13 points, you are supposed to win the game. Gannon's defense was successful in stopping the run, slowed down a good tight end, but allowed Daniel Jones to game manage the Giants to a win. Daniel Jones looked much better than he is and was able to pick apart a defense that is normally better than this.
Jalen Hurts was terrible yesterday. 3 interceptions and each of them was 1) the incorrect read, 2) way underthrown, and 3) thrown into double coverage. He didn't have it. Hurts was back to the first read Quarterback that was not successful in the first few weeks of the season. His vision wasn't there yesterday. AND STILL they were in position to win the game. His two throws at the end of the game (the throws) were spot on perfect. Jalen Hurts reopened the conversation that he might not be the guy. He certainly wasn't the guy yesterday.
Running Backs: F
Jordan Howard missed the game due to injury and this team forgot their identity. Miles Sanders carried the ball 9 times before leaving the game with an injury (availability and durability are equally important). Gainwell was the team's leading receiver with 3 catches for 30+ yards. Boston Scott had a touchdown pulled off the board but was ok overall (15 carries for 64 yards for a 4.3 average) but the fumble was an absolute back breaker. I'm not sure if Sirianni gave up on the run game because of ineffectiveness or if the run game was ineffective due to lack of plays called. Either way, the group that has carried this team to victory the last few weeks was not able to run on one of the worst rushing defenses in football.
Wide Receivers: F
The leading receiver yesterday was a running back. You COULD blame this groups failure on a terrible game by Jalen Hurts. And you should. But when given the chances, this group couldn't do anything at all. Smith couldn't get open, neither could Watkins. JJAW had another "big" catch. And then there was Jalen Reagor. His drops were abysmal and cost the team the game. He has gone past the point of "maybe he will be ok" to questioning if he is an NFL receiver. The drops yesterday can't happen at a professional level. You can compare all you want to Justin Jefferson and have a longing to the correct draft pick. That's natural. HOWEVER the question is now should he even have been drafted at all.
Tight Ends: F
Can't stress enough that Dallas Goedert is not a top tier TE. 1 catch for 0 yards. Thats the multi-million dollar TE that is the future of the team? The deal was signed too early. He has not proven enough in this league yet.
Offensive Line: B-
Rushed for over 200 yards again. But the penalties this week were killer. Herbig stepped into the game when Kelce got hurt and was responsible for wiping out the two biggest plays of the game with really egregious holding penalties. Only gave up 1 sack (Hurts held the ball WAY too long) and the pressures that they allowed were mostly due to the QB. This group did a good job and the rest of the offense let them down.
Defensive Line: B+
Saquan Barkley is a really good running back. He was held to 40 yards of rushing yesterday (the Giants definitely under used him). Daniel Jones was able to run a bit but this group did ok yesterday. Javon Hargrave had a sack and Fletcher Cox had a HUGE hit. Derek Barnett even had a good game.
RYAN KERRIGAN HAD A TACKLE. That alone was worth a grade bump.
With injuries to this group, somebody had to step up. Alex Singleton was somebody. He led the team in tackles and was relentless on the field. Evan Ingram is a good TE and he was almost neutralized yesterday. Obviously, allowing Chris Myarick catching his first career pass for a TD wasn't ideal but the catch was an absolute circus catch. Linebackers were good yesterday.
Darius Slay has been so good, he didn't even get balls thrown his way yesterday. Nelson was better than last week but a BAD pass interference in the endzone was still problematic. Maddox was out of bounds on his pick but what an effort. The secondary held Daniel Jones and company to JUST OVER 200 yards passing which should result in a win in today's NFL. The offense was just that bad yesterday.
Special Teams: C-
It can't be stressed enough how bad Jalen Reagor was yesterday. He averaged 4.5 yards per punt return. To put that into perspective: Reno Mahe's career average was 9 yards per return. Jalen Reagor is worse than Reno Mahe. Jake Elliot was 1-1 on XPs and Sipos had another good game. It's the returning that isn't doing anyone any favors.
OVERALL GRADE: C-
When you hold a professional football team to 13 points, you are supposed to win the game. The defense did their job. The offense was absolutely embarrassing and the coaches didn't make adjustments to right the ship. The Eagles took a gigantic step backwards yesterday and it may cost them the playoffs (which were a longshot to begin with).