The defense played well Sunday in the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the Patriots. Carson Wentz and the offense didn’t.
Sure, they were without Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery and lost Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson early. But they still needed to be more productive. My grades:
Even without Jordan Howard, and even after losing right tackle Lane Johnson to a concussion early in the game, the Eagles still averaged 5 yards per carry on first down in the first half before Doug Pederson curiously decided to put the ground game in mothballs. The Eagles ran the ball on just two of their last 12 plays in the first half and only nine times in the second half.
Carson Wentz completed just 50 percent of his passes and averaged only 5.3 yards per attempt. The Patriots have an outstanding pass defense, but he missed open receivers several times and held onto the ball too long. At least three of his five sacks were on him. Eagles wideouts were targeted 17 times and had just six catches for 75 yards.
The Patriots came into the game ranked 30th in the league in rushing average (3.3 yards per carry), and the Eagles effectively shut them down, holding them to 74 yards on 22 carries and just four rushing first downs. The only slip the Eagles had against the run was on the Patriots’ touchdown drive to open the second half. They gave up 8 yards to Mohamed Sanu on an end-around, a 6-yard gain to Rex Burkhead and a 7-yard gain to James White.
The Eagles did a tremendous job on Tom Brady, holding him to 4.6 yards per attempt and no TDs. The one costly breakdown came on a trick play early in the third quarter when wide receiver Julian Edelman caught a lateral pass from Brady behind the line of scrimmage and found Phillip Dorsett wide-open in the end zone for what turned out to be the game-deciding score.
Boston Scott had a fumble on a second-quarter kickoff return and let a punt bounce that he should have caught. Rudy Ford racked up his team-high fourth special-teams penalty. But the Eagles’ coverage units played well and Jake Elliott made his only field goal attempt, a 42-yarder.
The defense turned in an excellent performance Sunday, shutting down Tom Brady and holding the Patriots to 255 net yards. But Carson Wentz and the offense — and the offensive play-calling — was disappointing. The Patriots have an excellent defense, but even without Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery and Lane Johnson, 10 points, 255 yards, and 3-for-13 on third down are unacceptable.