Bengals vs. Eagles: Final Grades, Player Analysis for Cincinnati

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIDecember 13, 2012

Bengals vs. Eagles: Final Grades, Player Analysis for Cincinnati

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    The 8-6 Cincinnati Bengals vs. the 4-10 Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football has now gone final.

    Cincinnati started the game red-hot, but became rather sluggish in the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter.

    However, thanks to the defense creating turnovers and the offense being able to capitalize on the Eagles mistakes, this contest quickly turned into a rout in Cincinnati's favor.

    Grades and analysis for Bengals players and positional units are listed on the following slides.

    Grades for players and positional units are based upon the criteria listed below.

    An "A" grade is granted to a player that far surpasses the expectations set out for him during the game. This player will absolutely be a key factor to the success of his team.

    A "B" grade will be given to a player that plays at an above-average level and that contributes throughout the game with very few mistakes.

    A "C" grade is handed to a player that has an average game. He may not put up gaudy numbers or be a major contributor, but he will not be the main cause for certain team failures.

    A "D" grade will be granted to a player that plays below his ability level. This player would have seen better days on the field and would most likely want a do-over for his performance.

    An "F" grade will stick to a player that fails at all levels during a game. He may even be one key factor to a team's struggles, or even their loss.


    Bengals - 34

    Eagles - 13

Andy Dalton

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    Overall Game Grade - C-

    Andy Dalton did not have the kind of game that he should have had against a porous Eagles secondary.

    Dalton started the game strong, struggled greatly in the middle of the contest, then rallied toward the end to help Cincinnati rout Philadelphia.

    In defense of Dalton, his offensive line was not very strong in pass protection for most of the game as Eagles defenders were able to get to him numerous times without having to blitz.

    Aside from poor protection, Bengals receivers were not getting open, and when they were, they still struggled with dropped passes.

    The only Bengals receiver to record any catches tonight was A.J. Green.

    Dalton should have been able to perform better, but what matters more is that he lead his team to a much needed victory.

    Dalton finished the game completing 13 of 27 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown and one rushing touchdown. His quarterback rating was 74.2.

Running Backs

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    BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Overall Game Grade - A+

    Finally the Bengals coaching staff decided it would be a good idea to feed BenJarvus Green-Ellis the ball constantly throughout the game.

    This turned out to benefit the Bengals semi-anemic offense as Green-Ellis was the workhorse of the outfit.

    Not only did Green-Ellis get the tough yards and score a patented short-yardage touchdown, but he showed his capability of breaking longer runs as well.

    Tonight marked the second time in Green-Ellis' career where he surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season.

    He will be a very dangerous weapon for the Bengals in the remaining games of the season as long as they continue to utilize him as they did tonight.

    Green-Ellis finished tonight's game with 25 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown while averaging 4.2 yards-per-carry.

Wide Receivers

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    A.J. Green - Overall Game Grade - B-

    A.J. Green really should have had over 100 yards receiving tonight against a porous Eagles secondary. However, without other receiving threats surrounding him, it was difficult for him to put up such gaudy numbers.

    Green displayed great hands and the ability to run after the catch tonight. Without Green on the field, there is a good chance that the Bengals would not have mustered over 100 yards through the air.

    Green had a great grab in the end-zone on a fade from Dalton to score his lone touchdown of the evening.

    Green's final stats tonight were six receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.

    All Other Receivers - Overall Game Grade - F-

    Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Tate and Marvin Jones combined for zero receptions tonight.

    This is just not good for a team that is poised to make a playoff run.

    There needs to be consistency in the receiving corps to take the pressure off of key players such as Green.

    These receivers will have to do much better jobs at creating space for Dalton to get them the ball for the duration of the season. If they can not do this, the road to the playoffs will get much rockier for Cincinnati.

Tight Ends

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    Jermaine Gresham - Overall Game Grade - B-

    Jermaine Gresham had a solid game as he continues to be a reliable target for Dalton.

    Gresham does not put up gaudy numbers, but he remains reliable when needed and was clutch on a few first-down receptions.

    Dalton utilized screen passes to Gresham a few times tonight that allowed the tight end to showcase his ability to create yards after the catch.

    Gresham was flagged for a holding penalty tonight as he has been a few times this year. He needs to clean up his blocking to become a complete player in the NFL.

    He finished the night with six receptions for 63 yards and was the Bengals leading receiver.

Offensive Line

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    Offensive Line - Overall Game Grade - D+

    The offensive line struggled mightily in pass protection tonight as they allowed Eagles pass-rushers to get to quarterback Andy Dalton six times.

    The worst factor to these numbers was the fact that the Eagles only had to rush four players to get this kind of pressure on Dalton.

    This offensive line can not afford this type of play as they face the dangerous pass rushes of the Steelers and Ravens in the coming weeks.

    The line's only saving grace tonight was their ability to run block. They sprung Green-Ellis for plenty of nice gains on his way to another 100-yard performance.

    The offensive line will need more balance going forward to compete with playoff contenders.

Defensive Line

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    Defensive Line - Overall Game Grade - B-

    The defensive line was fantastic against the run vs. the Eagles. They did not allow the explosive Bryce Brown to gain many yards on the ground throughout the game.

    One slight let-down was their inability to get pressure on quarterback Nick Foles. The Eagles have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and the Bengals came into this contest with the league lead in sacks with 42.

    It was very surprising to see the defensive line unable to get off their blocks tonight and cause problems in the backfield.

    The MVP of the line was Wallace Gilberry who had a sack on Foles and also recovered a fumble for a touchdown against the Eagles.

    Overall, it was not a sloppy night by the line, but it could have been much better.


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    Vontaze Burfict - Overall Game Grade - A

    Vontaze Burfict was seen all over the field against the Eagles on Thursday night.

    Burfict has a knack for getting to the ball-carrier and making very solid tackles in space.

    In one instance, Burfict sniffed out a screen pass to an Eagles running back, shed his block and put a brutal hit on the ball-carrier for a loss.

    These kinds of plays are the reason why Burfict has become a staple in the Bengals starting lineup and will be for years to come.

    Burfict led the team in tackles this week with six.

    Rey Maualuga - Overall Game Grade - C

    Rey Maualuga was only credited with two tackles this evening, but was around the ball constantly.

    He has certainly become a much better player after losing weight half way through the season. He has become more mobile and looks to be closer to the form he displayed as a rookie.

    This is great timing for Maualuga to come around as the Bengals make a push toward the playoffs.


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    Leon Hall - Overall Game Grade - A

    Leon Hall generally does not put up huge numbers. This is mostly because opposing quarterbacks recognize his ability and tend to throw away from him.

    Tonight, Nick Foles made the mistake of trying to throw a deep pass with Hall in coverage. Big mistake.

    Hall intercepted Foles and returned the ball into Eagles territory while the game was still close. This gave the Bengals a spark that they would not relinquish for the duration of the game.

    Terence Newman and Adam Jones - Overall Game Grade - B-

    Terence Newman and Adam Jones each had solid games. Both were credited with pass breakups and they remained in good position and in tight coverage for most of the evening.

    Neither player was beat on deep routes and they did not allow many yards after the catch.

    The secondary was very solid tonight except for a small lapse in judgement by Chris Crocker which allowed a deep pass to Jeremy Maclin early in the game which resulted in an Eagles touchdown.

Special Teams

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    Dan Herron - Overall Game Grade - A+

    Dan Herron could not have played a better game on special teams tonight.

    Early in the game, he created a great push during an Eagles punt and forced his man into the punter causing a blocked punt deep in Eagles territory.

    Aside from his blocked punt, he was also great in kick coverage as he accounted for a huge special teams tackle on a kickoff late in the game.

    Herron continues to become more valuable to the Bengals as the weeks go on and should find himself on the game-day roster for the duration of the season.

    Josh Brown - Overall Game Grade - A

    Josh Brown remains perfect as a field goal kicker for the Bengals. Tonight, he connected on two field goals; one from 24-yards and one from 32-yards. He was also good for four extra points.

    Brown has been a very worthy replacement of the injured Mike Nugent after being plucked off the street just over a week ago by the Bengals.


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    Coaching Staff - Overall Game Grade - B-

    The Bengals started out on fire this evening as they put up 10 early points on the Eagles.

    The Bengals then seemed to falter throughout the second quarter and early third quarter as they allowed the Eagles 13 unanswered points to take the lead.

    At that point it seemed almost hopeless for Cincinnati unless the coaching staff made some adjustments.

    They did.

    Mike Zimmer created mismatches on defense and allowed his players to achieve their full potential on the field.

    Darrin Simmons had his special teams unit ready to go as they attempted a short pop-up kick in the second half that resulted in a Bengals fumble recovery.

    Jay Gruden had a stale offense for the most part, but was able to stick with the running game for the duration of the game which allowed Cincinnati to sustain long drives and kill clock at the same time.

    Marvin Lewis did not waste timeouts on silly challenges or personnel adjustments.

    All of this was done on a short week to prepare for this game.

    Cincinnati now has 10 days until they face the Steelers in Week 16 and have plenty of time to get things right for what should be the most important game of the season for the Bengals.