Eagles vs. Lions: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Philadelphia
FINAL: Detroit 26, Philadelphia 23
For three quarters, this Eagles defense shut down Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, confusing Stafford, frustrating Johnson and giving Michael Vick and the offense plenty of chances. And then the defense completely fell apart, giving up a ridiculous 20 points in the final 14:30 of the game.
The Eagles now head to the bye week at an even 3-3 while the Lions are 2-3. The Eagles face the red-hot 6-0 Atlanta Falcons in two weeks.
I have mixed feelings about Michael Vick's performance today. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to 23 points, which is normally enough to win a game, and he helped the offense put up 10 points in the final quarter of the game, which should have been enough to put the contest away.
Vick also threw for 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a big, beautifully thrown 70-yarder to Jeremy Maclin with just over five minutes left. He ran the ball nine times for 59 yards, an average of 6.6 per rush, and he didn't get much help from a running game that accounted for just 12 yards on 20 rushes by guys not named Vick.
He continued with the turnovers, though, throwing a pair of picks, and he gets all the blame for the deep pass to DeSean Jackson when he just flat-out underthrew him.
You just can't turn the ball over three times against this caliber of a defense and expect to win the game, and if Vick doesn't stop turning the ball over, the cries for Nick Foles are just going to get louder and louder.
LeSean McCoy: F
I understand the offensive line didn't provide LeSean McCoy with much time on the runs. But 22 yards on 14 carries? That's a paltry average of just 1.6 yards per rush. If you take away his 11-yard run, he averaged fewer than one yard per rush.
McCoy did catch seven passes (including a touchdown), the most he's had in a single game in two seasons. They went for just 26 yards, though, and one of those was a 17-yarder, so if you take that one away, McCoy accounted for nine receiving yards on six receptions. On the whole, McCoy accounted for just 39 yards on 21 touches. That's the single worst total performance he's ever had as a full-time back.
Bryce Brown: F
Bryce Brown may have a lot of potential, but he's not showing any of it this year. He had five rushes today for four yards. That's an average of a little over two feet per rush, which provides nothing as a change-of-pace back for LeSean McCoy.
Stanley Havili: C
Stanley Havili has been having a terrific season in 2012 as a fullback and the lead blocker of LeSean McCoy, but he wasn't even close to being able to provide the protection today that he has been giving McCoy all season.
DeSean Jackson: B
The Detroit Lions have a very poor secondary so I was hoping Jackson might do a little more than he did. Five catches for 74 yards is a solid enough total, but he didn't break one, and it's unfortunate that on the only time he was open on a deep route, Michael Vick missed him on the route.
Jeremy Maclin: A
All I can say is it's about time. Jeremy Maclin had accounted for just seven catches since his terrific Week 1 performance against the Cleveland Browns. Maclin exploded for six receptions today, catching them for 130 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown on a crossing pattern late in the game that should have iced the game.
Jason Avant: C
Jason Avant finished with his typical line of two catches, although 21 yards isn't a great total, and I thought he played a minimal impact on the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive game plan.
Riley Cooper: B
Welcome back, Riley Cooper. I still don't think Cooper provides much to the Eagles' offense and I wouldn't miss any sleep if the team handed him his walking papers. But he did finish with two receptions for 18 yards, which is a solid total for a fourth receiver in an offense that targets the backs and tight ends so frequently.
Brent Celek: F
Brent Celek's statline isn't anything to get excited about. He finished with four catches for 33 yards, although that's not too bad of a performance.
But Celek was brutal in the fourth quarter when the game really counted. First, he dropped a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from Michael Vick, and the Eagles then had to settle for a field goal. Then he caught a touchdown pass later in the quarter, but it was called back because of offensive pass interference on Celek, and the Eagles again had to settle for a field goal.
That's twice that Celek directly limited the Eagles to a field goal rather than a touchdown, meaning he cost them eight points.
Clay Harbor: C
Clay Harbor can all but forget about getting to catch any passes this season. The Eagles have to keep him on the line to block when he does get to play. Today, Harbor finished with two receptions for nine yards.
Demetress Bell: F
Michael Vick only got sacked one time before he was dropped on consecutive plays in overtime. Much of that can be attributed to Demetress Bell, who is nowhere near the player he was in Buffalo.
Bell has looked like a Division-II lineman called up to play in the NFL. He's lost on screen passes, colliding with LeSean McCoy while failing to provide protection, and he isn't mobile enough to get downfield to block. He has poor technique and his footwork is shaky.
And he also committed another penalty today, giving him a team-leading five penalties and three false starts.
Evan Mathis: D+
Evan Mathis isn't the same player he was when he had All-Pro tackle Jason Peters next to him last year, and that's to be understood. But he has struggled too many times this season, and today he provided little help for McCoy on the ground game.
He also looked to be responsible for the second of the consecutive overtime sacks today, as he was just beat by a relentless pursuit from Nick Fairley. If the sack does get charged to Mathis, it will officially be the first he's given up as a member of the Eagles.
Fortunately, the penalties from Mathis have subsided, as he hasn't committed any since getting flagged twice in each of the first two games of the season.
Dallas Reynolds: F
As a result of today's performance, the Philadelphia Eagles will likely be holding open tryouts for the center position.
In all seriousness, though, the team doesn't play again for two weeks. There's really no reason to keep Dallas Reynolds around. He pulled off the dubious feat today of snapping the ball into his butt one play and then snapping the ball to Michael Vick when Vick wasn't looking, which led to a turnover.
Reynolds also allowed Vick to get hit when Vick was throwing deep downfield, which led to an interception. It was just a miserable, forgettable 65 minutes of football for Reynolds.
Danny Watkins: C
Danny Watkins really didn't put up much of a fight against either Ndamukong Suh or Nick Fairley today, and the result was a ground game that put up less than a yard per carry. Watkins is still adjusting to the NFL, but then again, so is Fairley, who was a first-round pick the same year as Watkins (2011).
Todd Herremans: D-
I miss the Todd Herremans of 2011. That man was a borderline Pro Bowl offensive lineman who excelled in both pass protection and run blocking. Then Herremans got owned by Cliff Avril on the first play of overtime, looking like a rookie who had never played against a defensive end with NFL speed.
Seriously, watch this play. He didn't have a clue.
Trent Cole: D
There should be no reason for Trent Cole not to own an aging left tackle like Jeff Backus, who is way past his NFL prime. Not only did Cole not have a sack, not only did he not register even a single tackle, but after the game, he also told reporters that he felt the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive line did a great job of getting pressure on Matthew Stafford.
Cullen Jenkins: D
According to the official stat sheet, Cullen Jenkins registered two tackles today. I'm not sure where I was for those plays because I don't recall Jenkins doing a thing. Detroit ran the ball for nearly 150 yards and a score, and the Eagles didn't register a sack.
Fletcher Cox: F
It really shouldn't have to be said, but part of being an effective NFL player is staying in the game. That didn't happen with Fletcher Cox today, as the Eagles' rookie defensive tackle was ejected from the game for committing consecutive penalties on an extra point attempt, the second of which was the result of his throwing a punch.
Cox also had no tackles today, and on the play in which he did pick up a sack, it was negated by a hands to the face penalty on Cox himself.
Jason Babin: F
Jason Babin has been one of the biggest disappointments of any player on the Eagles this season. He has been completely ineffective against the run as usual, but he's no longer providing much of anything as a pass-rusher.
Babin is part of an Eagles defensive line that now has gone 13 consecutive quarters without getting a sack. He gets fooled constantly on bootlegs and he's unable to register any pressure against subpar right tackle after subpar right tackle.
Brandon Graham: C
The Eagles have been getting great performances from Brandon Graham in limited snaps, and it may be time for him to take over for Babin as the other starting defensive end opposite Cole. Babin hasn't been getting it done, and even though Graham finished with just a single tackle today and no sacks, he's been taking advantage of his snaps.
Derek Landri: C+
Derek Landri had a tackle today and a big tackle for a loss, which is more than most of his defensive linemates can say about their individual performances today.
Cedric Thornton: C
As a situational backup, Cedric Thornton filled in adequately but he was flagged for an encroachment penalty early in the second quarter. Thornton finished with two tackles.
Darryl Tapp: C
Darryl Tapp had a typical backup-caliber day: He finished with one tackle, no sacks and no plays of note against the Lions.
DeMeco Ryans: A
Give Andy Reid all the credit in the world for finding a way to acquire DeMeco Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker from the Houston Texans, for next to nothing. Ryans finished today with 13 tackles, including three for a loss. He's been arguably the one constant on the Philadelphia Eagles' defense this season, and he turned in another fantastic performance today against the Detroit Lions. You could make a strong case for Ryans as the team's 2012 MVP.
Mychal Kendricks: C+
For the most part, it seems like Mychal Kendricks has been exceptionally good or exceptionally bad this season. Today, I felt his performance was more in the middle. He had four tackles and wasn't beat on any notable play in coverage, although he was part of an Eagles defense that struggled in run defense.
Akeem Jordan: B+
Like I've said all season, it really doesn't matter who the Eagles start at weak-side linebacker. Akeem Jordan is nothing special but neither is Jamar Chaney, who was actually deactivated for today's game. Jordan finished with three tackles as a linebacker but then had a bone-crushing hit on punt returner Stefan Logan in overtime that forced a fumble.
Nnamdi Asomugha: C
I've been extremely hard on Nnamdi Asomugha all season for several reasons: He's nowhere near the corner he was in Oakland, which is really frustrating; and he's making $60 million over a five-year deal, which adds lofty expectations.
That being said, I felt Asomugha did a tremendous job sticking with All-World wide receiver Calvin Johnson...for the first three quarters. He recorded a big interception in the end zone on a pass that was overthrown to Megatron, and he held Johnson to just a single catch for most of the first three quarters.
And then Asomugha—and the Philadelphia Eagles defense collectively—just collapsed down the stretch, allowing Detroit to score 20 late points while Johnson finished with six receptions for 135 yards, an average of 22.5 yards per reception.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: B+
I thought Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had an up-and-down game in terms of pass coverage. Like most of the Eagles' defenders, he was very solid early on, limiting Nate Burleson to zero catches for the first half. He finally allowed a completion to Burleson on a 3rd-and-2 play, the Lions' first third-down conversion of the game, but then he made a big knockdown on a pass to Burleson on a third down later on.
Brandon Boykin: B
Titus Young had just two receptions for six yards, and Brandon Boykin committed a huge knockdown on a pass near the goal line with nine seconds left in the game that helped send the game to overtime.
Curtis Marsh: D
I didn't see Curtis Marsh on the field for too many plays, but that's still too many. He's simply not an NFL caliber cornerback and he was beat on a 16-yard pass to backup tight end Tony Scheffler in overtime that helped stick a knife in the Eagles' chances of winning.
Brandon Hughes: F
Brandon Hughes was burned by Scheffler on a 57-yard play in which Hughes looked clueless running after him.
Nate Allen: A
Apparently Nate Allen is the greatest player in Philadelphia Eagles history because I have never quite seen a team collapse like the Eagles did today after Allen got hurt. Allen played very well in pass coverage when he was in, helping Asomugha on several occasions against Megatron. Allen finished the day with two tackles, including a big third-down stop early on.
Kurt Coleman: B
It was a solid enough game for Kurt Coleman, who finished the day with seven tackles, a higher total than any defender on the team except for DeMeco Ryans.
Colt Anderson: F
Great special teams player, terrible safety. The Eagles shouldn't be playing Anderson on defense.
Alex Henery: A
No complaints about Alex Henery here. He made all three field-goal attempts, including a long 49-yarder early in the fourth quarter, and he looked to have a little more leg on his kickoffs.
Mat McBriar: B+
Mat McBriar averaged an impressive 56.6 yards per punt this game, including a booming 64-yard punt that was the longest by a Philadelphia Eagles punter since Sav Rocca in 2008. McBriar's first punt of the game, though, was a brutal line drive kick that was returned 48 yards by Stefan Logan.
Brandon Boykin: B
Brandon Boykin showed a little life today as a kick returner, which was nice to see. He returned five for an average of over 24 yards per return.
Mardy Gilyard: C
I don't think the Eagles really expected too much from Mardy Gilyard in the punt return game, and two returns for 15 yards is just average.
DeSean Jackson: D
The Eagles took a gamble and put Jackson back for a punt early on, but in his attempt to break it, he lost three yards.
Andy Reid: F
No excuses here for Andy Reid. He had a 10-point lead at home to a 1-3 team and managed to lose that. This goes down as one of the worst collapses for the Philadelphia Eagles under the Andy Reid era.
Juan Castillo: F
It's tough to have a defensive line of this caliber and not get a sack, but Juan Castillo has managed to squeeze that out of his group for 13 consecutive quarters now while turning in an epic collapse on defense that buried the Eagles.
Bobby April: B
The Eagles managed to play very well in their return coverage units, limiting the kick and punt return game, and even forcing a late fumble that could have saved the game.