Eagles vs. Cowboys: Live Grades, Analysis for Philadelphia
FINAL: Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
Michael Vick was knocked out of the game with a concussion and Nick Foles got his chance. It didn't go so well, but Foles wasn't the real problem.
Read the full player grades to see the main guys responsible for another pitiful performance from the Eagles.
Michael Vick: A-
Michael Vick finished the day 6 of 9 for 70 yards and a touchdown pass before the dreadful offensive line finally got to him. Vick was sidelined with a concussion, which may end up costing him his job.
Nick Foles: D+
Nick Foles came in, officially starting the long-anticipated Foles Era in Philadelphia. Foles had some highlight plays early on, such as the 44-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin that gave the Eagles the lead over the Dallas Cowboys.
For most of the game though, Foles looked simply overmatched. He played like a third-round rookie forced into action in a tough situation, and that’s not a knock on Foles. That’s the truth. Anyone that truly expected Foles to come in and dazzle probably had unrealistic expectations.
What was frightening though was that Foles very easily could have thrown three to four interceptions. His numbers aren’t too bad, as he went 22 of 32 for 219 yards, a touchdown pass, and a pick. But he also lost a fumble, threw another pick-six that was only negated by a Dallas penalty, and made some truly awful decisions.
Remember when he rolled to the right and threw across the field to Jeremy Maclin? That was the decision you would expect from a rookie quarterback.
Foles is in no way a bust, and a shaky outing was to be expected from a third-round rookie forced into action against a tough team. But that doesn't mean he didn't play really poorly. If I'm asked to grade Foles' performance on his play today, it was pretty bad.
LeSean McCoy: A
LeSean McCoy played his typical strong game, fighting for his life for every yard he got. He was given the ball just 16 times but came away with 82 yards, which is a 5.1 yards per carry average. He added a 23-yard highlight run, and he did most of this work without help from his offensive line.
Bryce Brown: B
Three carries for one yard is disappointing for Bryce Brown, especially when you look at how he did last week. But Brown hung in and blocked very well on notable occasions. That's exciting because he was very rarely asked to block in college.
Stanley Havili: A
Stanley Havili made the most of his one carry today, plunging the ball in from one yard out to give the Philadelphia Eagles a fourth quarter touchdown.
DeSean Jackson: B+
DeSean Jackson played very well today, catching five passes for 62 yards. He was the number one target of Michael Vick when Vick was still in, and he deserves more credit because Jeremy Maclin hasn't been the same player in 2012.
Jeremy Maclin: B
Eight catches for 93 yards and a long touchdown catch should give Jeremy Maclin a grade higher than a B. What was alarming though was that Maclin seemed to alligator arms multiple plays, including one in which he was lifted off his feet and then drilled to the ground.
Jason Avant: D
Jason Avant finished the game with just one catch for minus-one yard, and that's disappointing because Avant is normally a reliable option. It seemed like the perfect scenario for Avant to come up with four to six catches when Nick Foles entered the game, but that wasn't the case. Avant actually dropped Foles' first-ever pass (a throw that hit Avant in the helmet), and Avant had to leave the game for some time due to a hamstring strain.
Riley Cooper: A
For the first time since he joined the Philadelphia Eagles, Riley Cooper took advantage of his 6'4" frame. He outjumped the defender on a brilliant one-handed catch in the end zone to put the Eagles on board first.
Damaris Johnson: A-
Damaris Johnson saw more action than usual when Avant was taken out of the game due to a hamstring injury. He came through big in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard catch-and-run down to the Dallas one, although he probably should have scored.
Brent Celek: C
Brent Celek didn't have the impact one would have thought from a rookie quarterback. He had just three catches for 31 yards and no touchdowns, which isn't a bad total. But it was surprising that the Philadelphia Eagles didn't target him more in the game.
Clay Harbor: B
Three catches for 25 yards is a solid total for a backup tight end, especially because Clay Harbor spent much of the game blocking for the inept offensive line.
Demetress Bell: F
Demetress Bell continues to be the weak spot of an already-poor offensive line. He was moved to the left tackle spot for today’s game so that he wouldn’t be responsible for protecting Michael Vick’s blind side. Bell’s struggles continued though, highlighted by consecutive plays in which he gave up a quarterback hit and was flagged for holding. He was also responsible for getting beat late in the game when Nick Foles was sacked and fumbled for a touchdown.
Evan Mathis: A-
Evan Mathis played a fine 60 minutes of football today, which was important because the Philadelphia Eagles needed their only starter to play well. Mathis was slowed up by an ankle injury but he battled through it and finished the contest.
Dallas Reynolds: C-
Dallas Reynolds didn’t look nearly as bad snapping the ball to Nick Foles as he has to Michael Vick. It may be because the two have undoubtedly worked together on the second team frequently. Reynolds was part of an Eagles’ line that somehow didn’t give up a sack today until there were just three minutes left in the game.
Dennis Kelly: C+
Dennis Kelly looked much improved today in place of first-round bust Danny Watkins. The 6’8” Kelly’s height isn’t as much of an issue with the 6’6” Foles under center as opposed to 6’0” Vick. Kelly did a good job of keeping Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff off of Vick and Foles.
King Dunlap: F
King Dunlap transitioned to the right side today because of the ineptitude of Bell as Vick’s blindside blocker. Dunlap really looked exposed today, and he was flagged for a ridiculous three penalties. He also looked completely overmatched trying to block for Vick and Foles, despite the fact that the Eagles only gave up two late sacks.
Trent Cole: B-
Trent Cole finally broke through and wrapped up Tony Romo for a sack (although it looked like Fletcher Cox and Cole shared the sack, and it may not be officially credited to Cole). Cole did whiff on Tony Romo late in the game though when Romo hit Miles Austin for a 25-yard pass that was one of the final nails in the coffin to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cullen Jenkins: B
Cullen Jenkins played a solid game, although he was up against a very inferior offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys. He recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss, helping the Eagles hold the Cowboys to an average total of 101 rushing yards.
Fletcher Cox: B+
Fletcher Cox will be a force for the Cowboys to contain for many years to come. He finished today with a shared sack of Romo, a tackle for a loss, and several other pressures on Romo.
Jason Babin: F
Did Jason Babin play? He had zero tackles, zero sacks, zero quarterback pressures, and zero plays of impact. Babin has all but disappeared as a playmaker on defense.
Brandon Graham: C-
Brandon Graham had a big quarterback pressure on Tony Romo to help give Mychal Kendricks his first-ever sack. But Graham was one of a handful of Eagles to come up short on Felix Jones' early touchdown run that put Dallas on the board.
Mike Patterson: F
Mike Patterson's days as a regular starter on defense are probably over. But he pulled a Jason Babin today, making no tackles or plays of impact. Patterson added a hands to the face penalty when he all but harassed Romo late in the game.
Darryl Tapp: C
Why Darryl Tapp was active instead of Vinny Curry is puzzling because Tapp is just a part of the rotation at defensive end. He had two tackles and nothing else.
DeMeco Ryans: A
DeMeco Ryans was a huge addition to the Philadelphia Eagles defense, and he made several big plays today against the Dallas Cowboys. Ryans had eight total tackles, including two for losses, and he showed a lot of skill on covering the crossing route.
Mychal Kendricks: A
Mychal Kendricks turned it around after a string of poor performances as the strong side linebacker. He totaled seven tackles, two of them for a loss, and his first career sack when he dropped Tony Romo. Kendricks also helped hold Jason Witten to just 47 yards on eight catches.
Akeem Jordan: C+
It was a better than usual game for Akeem Jordan, who was around the ball more than he usually is. Jordan totaled four tackles in limited snaps at linebacker.
Jamar Chaney: F
He offers absolutely nothing to the team as a linebacker and he looked painfully slow running after Dwayne Harris on his punt return touchdown.
Nnamdi Asomugha: B+
Nnamdi Asomugha turned in a very strong performance as a cover corner against a tough group of wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Asomugha was mainly tasked with covering Austin, who finished with just two receptions for 32 yards and no touchdowns. Asomugha did come up short on Felix Jones' early touchdown run, but that's to be expected from Asomugha.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: C
DRC had a rough game today, getting beat by Bryant on a 49-yard catch early on. Later on, he was torched by Bryant who had a diving touchdown catch in the end zone, even when DRC committed pass interference on the play (although to be fair, conclusive evidence showed it was not a catch).
Brandon Boykin: B
Brandon Boykin played a minimal impact as a slot cover corner today, although he didn't get beat by any big plays.
Curtis Marsh: C
Curtis Marsh was on the field today, which is better than normal. He finished with one tackle in limited snaps.
Nate Allen: C-
Nate Allen's struggles with tackling the opposition continued today, and it was never more evident than when he tried and failed to wrap up Felix Jones on a big touchdown run early on.
Kurt Coleman: B
Kurt Coleman helped contain Jason Witten to just 47 receiving yards and no touchdowns today, and he finished with eight tackles, including one for a loss.
Alex Henery: D
Alex Henery successfully converted a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter today but completely shanked an extra-point attempt when the Philadelphia Eagles really needed it.
Mat McBriar: A-
Mat McBriar averaged over 50 yards on seven different punts today, although there were occasions that McBriar completely outkicked his coverage and thew result was a touchback.
Brandon Boykin: B
Four kickoff returns for an average of 23.5 yards per return is actually a solid total, and an amazing performance by Brandon Boykin.
Damaris Johnson: D
It was a typical uneventful day as a punt returner for Damaris Johnson, who returned one punt for four yards.
Jon Dorenbos: A
The missed extra point by Henery was not the result of a bad snap from Jon Dorenbos. He was perfect, as always.
Andy Reid: F
There's no point in defending Andy Reid for today's game. Sure, he can't help the fact that Michael Vick got hurt or that Bobby April's special teams were awful. And what did you expect from Nick Foles? But actions speak louder than anything else, and Reid's Philadelphia Eagles have now lost five straight for the first time ever.
Marty Mornhinweg: C
It's tough to blame Marty Mornhinweg for today's struggles when the Eagles were down to a backup quarterback and four backup offensive linemen.
Todd Bowles: C+
Quietly lost in the mix was the fact that Todd Bowles' defense looked solid for a change. The defense sacked Tony Romo three times and held the Dallas Cowboys to just 17 points (the defense and special teams gave up 21).
Bobby April: F
The special teams units have been playing much better recently, but not today. A missed extra point and a return touchdown allowed did the Eagles in.