Eagles vs. Falcons: Final Grades, Analysis for Philadelphia
FINAL: Atlanta 30, Philadelphia 17
Check here for complete player grades and analysis.
Michael Vick: C
It's interesting that a player (Michael Vick) can play the single most important position on the field and not have that big of an impact on the outcome. Between the Philadelphia Eagles' defense being a no-show and the offensive line providing little to no protection, Vick's role was reduced to staying alive and throwing checkdown passes to his wide receivers.
Vick's final passing stats were 21-of-35 for 191 yards, a touchdown pass, no interceptions, and no turnovers. What stands out to me most though is the paltry 5.5-yards-per-attempt average, a direct product of the fact that Vick didn't throw the ball more than 10 yards in the air until midway through the third quarter.
Vick put up decent numbers running the ball, scrambling seven times for 42 yards, although he didn't seem to be as effective as his numbers. He did do a good job though of escaping the defenders that seemed to be in his face as soon as he took the snap. Vick was sacked just three times, although he was pressured countless times.
LeSean McCoy: A-
Never before has LeSean McCoy had to fight for every yard as he did today. It started with his first carry of the game when he ran all the way to the left sideline, then cut back to the middle of the field in an attempt to gain yards.
McCoy finished with 16 carries for 45 yards, but numbers don't tell his value for today. He scored a rushing touchdown when he beat Asante Samuel to the outside and then he added a screen pass touchdown on a reception late in the game to give the Philadelphia Eagles a glimpse of hope still.
Bryce Brown: A
Bryce Brown got just one carry today, but he made the most of it. It was a five-yard run to the right side in which he absolutely refused to go down, fighting through several defenders for a gain.
Stanley Havili: C
Stanley Havili's great season as a lead blocker for McCoy didn't continue today against the Atlanta Falcons. He didn't seem to be providing the same kind of impact in the running game and it hurt the Eagles.
DeSean Jackson: B+
DeSean Jackson has a tendency to disappear for long stretches throughout games, especially losses that can be particularly frustrating. That wasn't the case today, as Jackson finished with five catches for 59 yards, including a big 32-yarder down the right sideline when he beat former teammate Asante Samuel.
Jeremy Maclin: B-
Six catches for 33 yards seems like Jeremy Maclin had no bigger role than that of a checkdown receiver for Michael Vick. And because of the poor play from the offensive line, that seemed to be what Maclin was reduced to doing. Maclin should have had eight catches though, as he recorded drops on consecutive plays late in the game.
Jason Avant: B+
This was the kind of game made for Jason Avant. The offensive line was poor, meaning Michael Vick had less time in the pocket to throw and more urgency to look for his reliable slot receiver. Avant finished the contest with four catches for 45 yards.
Brent Celek: B-
Brent Celek finished with a typical stat line of his, totaling three receptions for 32 yards. He spent much of the game as an extra offensive line blocking for Michael Vick, and his blocking wasn't his best performance.
King Dunlap: C+
The Philadelphia Eagles have actually done pretty well over the years when King Dunlap starts for them, averaging 401 yards and 22 points per contest coming into today. Today was an underwhelming effort although I didn't think Dunlap epitomized the struggles of the line.
He wasn't great, but it was nice to see plays like the one early on when he was 15 yards downfield lead-blocking for Jeremy Maclin. That was reminiscent of something Jason Peters would do. Dunlap also was going up against a terrific end in John Abraham, which is obviously a tough task for a career backup.
Evan Mathis: B-
Evan Mathis didn't give up any sacks and he wasn't a liability in the passing game. He's one of the better guards in the NFL, although I thought his run-blocking today was subpar. He didn't open up too many holes for LeSean McCoy, who finished with just 2.8 yards per carry.
Dallas Reynolds: C-
At least Dallas Reynolds didn't have any botched snaps this week, but he still wasn't very effective as a blocker. Reynolds is just overmatched at this level, and that's even going against an Atlanta Falcons team that doesn't have great defensive linemen and entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per rushing attempt.
That's why it was so frustrating to see the Eagles run for only 92 ground yards.
Dennis Kelly: D+
It certainly was not a textbook-worthy performance at right guard for Dennis Kelly, but give the man a break. He's a 6'8" offensive tackle with three NFL snaps to his name and he was asked to slide over to right guard to fill in for Danny Watkins. Kelly certainly has some work to do in all aspects of his game, but he has one big thing going for him: He's not Danny Watkins.
Todd Herremans: D
Todd Herremans' struggles have continued, as the Eagles' right tackle was abused for much of the game by the Atlanta defense. Herremans turned in his worst series of the day late in the fourth quarter, when he surrendered a brutal sack (to Kroy Biermann) and then committed a holding penalty immediately afterward.
Trent Cole: C
The days of Trent Cole as a top-five 4-3 defensive end in the NFL appear to be fading. Cole registered just two tackles and no sacks today, and it's not like he was racking up a bunch of quarterback hits or hurries.
He then cemented an awful day for the Philadelphia Eagles' defense when he was called for penalties on consecutive fourth downs with less than a minute to play, the second of which probably would have gotten him ejected had there been significant time left.
Cullen Jenkins: A
Cullen Jenkins had a very strong performance today, racking up three tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. He made his mark early in the game when he pulled down Jacquizz Rodgers way behind the line of scrimmage.
Derek Landri: B-
One tackle isn't a strong performance for a starting defensive tackle, and Derek Landri also whiffed on a sack attempt from Matt Ryan late in the game. He did pick up a tackle for a loss though, and he's one of the better all-around defensive tackles in the NFL in terms of rushing the passer and stopping the run.
Jason Babin: F
The days of Jason Babin being a Pro Bowl defensive end that feasts on opposing quarterbacks are long over. Babin made almost no positive impact on today's game, finishing with just one tackle, no sacks, no quarterback hits, and no quarterback hurries. He was also thrown into pass coverage early in the game, and while he's not expected to contribute in pass defense, a holding penalty is disappointing.
Brandon Graham: B-
One thing is for certain, and that's that Brandon Graham needs to start taking Jason Babin's snaps as the starting defensive end opposite Cole. Graham finished with four tackles today and he's just better than Babin in almost all facets.
Fletcher Cox: B+
From watching the game, it didn't seem as if Fletcher Cox had a great impact on the outcome. The state sheet though revealed five total tackles and two tackles for a loss, and that's an impressive performance for a defensive tackle rotating snaps. What would have made Cox's day even better though would have been if he could have secured that early interception thrown right to him.
Cedric Thornton: A
Remember the Eagles' embarrassing sackless streak? Thank Cedric Thornton for finally ending that, as he was able to wrestle Matt Ryan down behind the line of scrimmage in the third quarter. Thornton finished with four tackles and one for a loss in addition to his sack.
Darryl Tapp: C
Darryl Tapp just isn't providing enough of an impact as a rotational pass-rusher to warrant his rotating in over Vinny Curry.
DeMeco Ryans: A-
DeMeco Ryans continues to be a great addition for the Philadelphia Eagles, game after game. He racked up nine tackles, two for a loss today and was the leading tackler for the Eagles. Ryans had a great stop on a second and goal play late in the opening quarter and he put good pressure on Matt Ryan as well.
Mychal Kendricks: F
Mychal Kendricks was covering future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, probably the greatest tight end this league has ever seen. But he still turned in an awful performance.
Kendricks finished with just two tackles among the 68 plays the Atlanta Falcons ran. He was benched for the first series for disciplinary reasons. And he committed a ridiculous three penalties, one of which was on third-and-goal and extended a Falcons drive.
Akeem Jordan: C-
Whichever player starts at weakside linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles (Akeem Jordan or Jamar Chaney) probably isn't going to make much of an impact, good or bad. Jordan finished today with two tackles.
Casey Matthews: A
It really seems to me that Casey Matthews is making a case to play more defensive snaps. He registered two tackles and he was pretty much only on the field for the opening drive. He also turned in a huge special teams play when he blocked a punt.
Nnamdi Asomugha: F
See the picture at the top of this slide of Nnamdi Asomugha getting torched? That's all you need to know about the Philadelphia Eagles' $60 million cornerback.
He probably shouldn't have been on Julio Jones because Jones runs a 4.3 40 and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is significantly faster than Asomugha. But Asomugha was on Jones, and he blew that play when he was torched for a 63-yard touchdown. For the day, Matt Ryan finished with 262 passing yards, nine yards per attempt, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: B-
In pass coverage, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie outplayed his corner counterpart (Asomugha), as has been the story for much of the season. DRC does get marked off though for one play in which he managed to commit two penalties on a single snap.
Brandon Boykin: B
Brandon Boykin wasn't responsible for that initial touchdown by Drew Davis, although he was then responsible for covering Davis for much of the game. Davis didn't catch any more passes after that first drive. Boykin also finished with two tackles.
Brandon Hughes: C
Brandon Hughes finished with one tackle on his limited plays. He didn't really provide much of an impact either way.
Nate Allen: C-
Nate Allen was a big liability for the Eagles today. He did finish with nine tackles (a very impressive total), but he was beat constantly in pass coverage.
Kurt Coleman: D-
Kurt Coleman just isn't an NFL-caliber starting safety, and he can beat by any quarterback at any time on a play-action fake.
Alex Henery: A
Alex Henery had just one field-goal attempt today and he converted it.
Mat McBriar: A-
Mat McBriar punted three times for an average of 48 yards per kick, and that included a booming 56-yarder that pinned the Atlanta Falcons on their own 10-yard line.
Brandon Boykin: C+
Brandon Boykin showed a little more life today returning kicks, but the Philadelphia Eagles still haven't had a kick return of at least 35 yards since Jorrick Calvin against the Tennessee Titans in 2010. That's pathetic.
Jon Dorenbos: A
Every snap was right on line, and that's all Jon Dorenbos can do.
Andy Reid: F
This was one of the most inept coaching performances I have seen from Andy Reid. He had two weeks to prepare the Philadelphia Eagles for a game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, and the team was as flat as could be.
The Eagles showed no life, no spark and no discipline. The team lacks accountability, focus, a leader and motivation to do anything on the field. The Eagles literally played as if they just wanted to go home. Reid had better be careful or he won't even make it through the season as the head coach.
Marty Mornhinweg: F
Marty Mornhinweg may join Juan Castillo in the unemployment market soon, because his offense is a liability. The Eagles have a below-average offense. Michael Vick doesn't scary anyone. The offensive line isn't good enough for Vick to be able to throw deep for DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin. The play-calling is stale and predictable. There's no spark.
Todd Bowles: F
Welcome to life as the Eagles defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles. Bowles' defense allowed the Falcons to score on their first six possessions. Castillo's defense never trailed by at least 17 at the halftime, and that was the case in Bowles' first game today.
He was playing an undefeated team with a borderline elite quarterback but Bowles has enough weapons at his disposal in Trent Cole, DeMeco Ryans, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that this should have been a fight. It wasn't.
Bobby April: B
It wasn't enough to change the game, but Bobby April's unit was very solid. Alex Henery is a very accurate kicker, Mat McBriar had a strong game punting the football, and Casey Matthews' blocked punt was huge. The return game is getting a little better although it still needs some more improvement.