Grading the Eagles: With the exception of the run defense, nobody is making the honor roll
Handing out the grades following Sunday's 23-23 tie with the Bengals, which kept the Eagles winless three weeks into the season for the first time since 1999.
How bad was this? Pretty darn bad. Let’s survey the wreckage of Sunday’s 23-23 tie with the Bengals and hand out the grades. With the exception of the run defense, nobody is making the honor roll:
The Eagles' overall rushing numbers were good: 175 yards on 36 carries. But it was a tale of two halves. The first half accounted for 111 of those yards. Miles Sanders finished with 95 yards but had just 31 on 10 carries in the second half. Carson Wentz was more impressive as a runner than a passer. He rushed for 65 yards on nine carries and had six rushing first downs.
Carson Wentz’s struggles continued. He had multiple interceptions for the third straight game and averaged a puny 4.8 yards per pass attempt. His questionable decision-making and poor accuracy continued. It didn’t help that he lost tight end Dallas Goedert to an ankle injury in the first quarter, and DeSean Jackson to a hamstring in the second quarter. But aside from his 30-yard completion to Zach Ertz in overtime, he didn’t seem to have any control over where the ball was going.
Joe Mixon is a good running back, as evidenced by his back-to-back 1,100-yard rushing seasons. But his offensive line isn’t very good. The Eagles held him to 2.9 yards per carry. A week after giving up 191 rushing yards to the Rams, they held Mixon and the Bengals to 48 yards on 18 carries. The Bengals had just two rushing first downs and two runs of more than 5 yards.
The Eagles sacked Joe Burrow eight times, including two in overtime by Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. But he still threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Three games into the season, Jim Schwartz’s defense is still looking for its first interception. Burrow completed 31 of 44 attempts, and his receivers had much of their success in the middle of the field.
Matt Pryor’s false-start penalty, on a potential game-winning 59-yard field goal try in overtime by Jake Elliott, was a devastating and inexcusable mistake. The Eagles missed gunner Rudy Ford (groin) on punt returns. They gave up an 18-yard return to Alex Erickson in the second quarter that was compounded by a penalty by Corey Clement, which gift-wrapped a Randy Bullock field goal.
The loss of tight end Dallas Goedert, who plays an important role in both the run and pass game, was a devastating early blow, but not one that should have crippled the Eagles as badly as it did. Carson Wentz is playing the worst football of his career, and even a short pass to running back Miles Sanders is difficult right now. And Doug Pederson can defend his decision to punt with 19 seconds left in overtime as much as he wants. It was the wrong move.