Carson Wentz struggles, defensive line shines and more in Eagles-Patriots report card

Andrew Kulp

There's no shame in losing to the defending world champions, as the Eagles were defeated 17-10 by the Patriots on Sunday (see Roob's observations). But had the offense performed even somewhat satisfactorily, the result could've been different.

The Eagles' defense deserves high marks after limiting a Tom Brady offense to a trio of field goals and a lone touchdown on a trick play. The offense, on the other hand, was a complete failure after jumping out to a quick 10-0 second-quarter lead, which means it's time once again to break out the trusty red pen.

Quarterback

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Carson Wentz: 20/40, 214 YDS, TD

Not Wentz's best, to say the least. He was off the mark a bunch and took some sacks - five total - several the result of holding the ball too long, and one of which he fumbled to giftwrap three points for the Patriots. Understand, Wentz has only one reliable receiver and his production nosedived after the injury on the offensive line. Still, he missed too many throws the Eagles needed for an opportunity to beat one of the NFL's best teams.

Grade: C

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 11 CAR, 38 YDS

The backs were much more effective in the first half, averaging 4.6 yards per carry in quarters one and two, but the running lanes weren't there later, and the average dipped to 3.9. Boston Scott may have missed a huge hole, and Sanders got bullied once in protection for a sack, but the backs were otherwise solid and played turnover-free, albeit unspectacular football.

Grade: C+

Wide receivers and tight ends

Zach Ertz: 9 REC, 94 YDS

No separation and no hands is a bad combination. Dallas Goedert caught a touchdown, but a second-quarter drop led to a punt, while Nelson Agholor let one go through his hands on a crucial 3rd-and-2 in the fourth quarter, then misjudged a potential game-tying score in the final minute - he made it look a lot harder than it was. For the most part though, guys aren't even open, which means there's precious little room for error.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Big difference after Lane Johnson exited with a concussion. Prior to the right tackle's absence, the Eagles had 10 points in three possessions, averaging a modest 4.5 yards per play with zero sacks. With Johnson out, the Eagles weren't able to score again over their remaining 10 series, averaging 3.5 yards per play and surrendering five sacks. The quarterback wound up getting hit 12 times in 43 dropbacks, so once three or four passes. Jason Peters was also cited for back-to-back drive-killing penalties on the opening two drives in his return from injury.

Grade: D

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: 2 TKL, TFL

It won't be reflected in the pass rush numbers - only four quarterback hits and zero sacks for the unit - but the Eagles were able to generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback, especially off the edges. Not coincidentally, the Patriots only completed 56.3 percent of their passes for 4.6 yards per attempt. New England didn't have much luck running the football either (3.4 yards per carry) thanks in large part to the push up front.

Grade: A-

Linebackers

Nathan Gerry: 10 TKL, TFL, SK

Gerry made a bunch of plays before and after, but his missed tackle in the third quarter was costly. Instead of stopping a screen pass for no gain, the running back slipped away for a 30-yard gain - six plays later, the Patriots were in the end zone. Good game otherwise. Kamu Grugier-Hill was all over the place as well, finishing with three tackles, including three behind the line of scrimmage.

Grade: B+

Secondary

Ronald Darby: 5 TKL, 2 PD

Superb job as Darby, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox and Rodney McLeod all recorded pass breakups. The only problem: two or three of those could've and perhaps should've gone for interceptions. The defensive backs also got fooled by a wide receiver pass for New England's lone touchdown, which marred an otherwise excellent performance, limiting New England to 234 yards through the air despite 48 attempts.

Grade: A

Special teams

Jake Elliott: 1/1 FG, 1/1 XP

Boston Scott sure is an adventure in the return game. He muffed and fumbled one kickoff and was fortunate to have it go out of bounds, dangerously made an over-the-shoulder catch on a punt and fielded another inside his own 10-yard line where a touchback appeared likely. Rudy Ford's block in the back with four minutes to go didn't do the Eagles any favors, either.

Grade: C-

Coaching

Eagles' record: 5-5

With a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, it looked like Doug Pederson was on his way to calling his best game of the season with an undermanned offense. But it was one injury too many when Johnson went down, and the offense collapsed, never finding or coming particularly close to the goal line again. Great game for Jim Schwartz's defense, and the team seemed properly motivated, so not sure how much more the staff could've done. They simply lacked the talent.

Grade: B+

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Carson Wentz struggles, defensive line shines and more in Eagles-Patriots report card originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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