Eagles-Patriots Up-Down Drill: Carson Wentz didn’t deliver, but cornerbacks excelled
Wentz held the ball too long several times in the first half, missed on too many throws after the break, and came up small in the clutch.
The Patriots defeated the Eagles, 17-10, at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Here’s who’s trending up and down:
DOWN — Few expected the Eagles’ receivers — Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and Mack Hollins — to have a significant impact Sunday. Especially with Alshon Jeffery out with an ankle injury and against one of the best passing defenses in the NFL. But 6 catches for 75 yards was inexcusable.
DOWN — He didn’t get much help, but Wentz didn’t deliver Sunday. He held the ball too long several times in the first half, missed on too many throws after the break, and came up small in the clutch.
UP — The beleaguered group brought its "A" game against Tom Brady. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby kept the Patriots’ receivers from doing much on the outside, and Avonte Maddox kept dangerous slot receiver Julian Edelman in check.
DOWN — He had a solid offensive plan to open the game, but the Eagles coach couldn’t counter the Patriots’ changes at the half. It was a tough loss and Pederson’s group showed grit, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick was able to get some revenge, however inconsequential, after the Super Bowl LII loss.
UP — His defensive unit was excellent. In the first half alone, the Patriots averaged just 2.2 yards on the ground, Brady completed just 44 percent of his passes, and the Eagles didn’t allow a touchdown. The Eagles surrendered a touchdown on the first possession of the second half, but that was the extent of the scoring.
DOWN — He had lost the lead running back job earlier in the season, but was thriving as a complement to Jordan Howard. Sanders had some early tough runs with Howard out, but he couldn’t produce enough magic on the ground as the game progressed.
SIDEWAYS — Goedert had a strong first half as the Eagles predictably went heavy with their two-tight end package. He caught a 12-yard screen and in pulled in a 5-yard touchdown pass that officials had initially ruled an interception. But Goedert had a drop and a couple of shaky plays in the second half.
SIDEWAYS — The Eagles linebacker’s missed tackle on a Rex Burkhead screen on the Patriots’ opening drive of the second half was egregious. But he otherwise had a solid performance and sacked Brady in the fourth quarter.
Eagles run defense
UP — The Patriots came in with one of the NFL’s worst rushing offenses, but that shouldn’t take away from what the Eagles managed to do against the run. Stopping the run takes all 11 players, but Fletcher Cox dominated inside.
DOWN — After missing the previous three games, Peters moved back into left tackle at rookie Andre Dillard’s expense. It would have been difficult for Pederson to bench “The Bodyguard.” But two early penalties by Peters were costly. He left with another injury in the fourth quarter.
UP — It has taken him some time to return to the form that he showed pre-knee injury, but the linebacker was all over the field in the first half. Grugier-Hill led the Eagles with four tackles before the break, two of them for losses.
SIDEWAYS — With Howard sidelined, Scott was pushed into a more prominent role. He made an immediate impact by drawing a pass-interference penalty on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage. But he nearly lost a fumble on a later kickoff that seemingly reversed the first half momentum and made poor decisions as a punt returner.