Eagles snap counts: Brandon Graham shines filling in for Josh Sweat

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Eagles snap counts: Graham shines filling in for Sweat originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

At 34 years old and coming off an Achilles injury, Brandon Graham had been a rotational player all season and had been playing great.

But when the Eagles needed him on Sunday in an expanded role on Sunday, Graham came through.

Sure, the Eagles lost to the Saints 20-10 at the Linc in Week 17, but Graham certainly wasn’t the reason why. He played a season-high 51 snaps (74%) and notched 2 of the Eagles’ 7 sacks in the game.

The Eagles needed more of Graham after Josh Sweat suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and was carted off the field and taken to the hospital. Sweat was subsequently released from the hospital on Sunday night and announced on Twitter that he will return this season.

But the Eagles’ depth on the D-line really showed up against the Saints. It’s quite a luxury to have a player like Graham in the rotation.

This was Graham’s highest usage since Week 16 of the 2020 season. His previous high in snaps this season was 34 against the Commanders and his previous high in percentage was 48% against the Cardinals and Vikings.

Graham destroyed Saints backup right tackle Landon Young on Sunday. Graham’s two sacks on Sunday give him 11 for the season. It’s a career high for Graham and the first double digit sack season of his career.

The Eagles also became the first team in NFL history to have four players with 10+ sacks: Haason Reddick (16), Graham, Sweat, Hargrave (each with 11).

And Graham’s first sack also set the Eagles’ franchise mark. After Sunday, they are up to 67 on the season, which is the fifth-most in NFL history.

“It’s a great feeling, especially coming off of an Achilles,” Graham said. “People didn’t think coming off the injury that I would be back doing what I’m doing. It’s a credit to just having a one-day-at-a-time mentality and enjoying the whole process. Now that I’m feeling real good, it’s just going out there and making plays when they come.

“I’m just thankful to make history with the team. With the defensive line, we just want to keep pushing and doing what we can to help this team win. It’s a great feeling, I’m not going to lie, to finally get over that hump. I thought I was going to be stuck there for a minute.”

Other defensive notes

• Sweat played just 7 snaps before his injury. The rest of the D-line rotation: Haason Reddick (65 snaps, 94%), Graham (51 snaps, 74%), Javon Hargrave (45 snaps, 65%), Fletcher Cox (45 snaps, 65%), Milton Williams (26 snaps, 38%), Ndamukong Suh (22 snaps, 32%), Linval Joseph (21 snaps, 30%), Patrick Johnson (18 snaps, 26%), Jordan Davis (18 snaps, 26%).

Nice jump in playing time for Williams, who played well in the loss.

• Marcus Epps played all 69 defensive snaps. Reed Blankenship, James Bradberry and Darius Slay played 67 of 69.

• At linebacker, Kyzir White got 66 snaps, while T.J. Edwards got 65. It’s the first time all year White has out-snapped Edwards. Rookie Nakobe Dean got 2 snaps.

• Backup nickel cornerback Josiah Scott played 32 snaps (46%), while backup safety K’Von Wallace played 6.

Offensive notes

• Without Jalen Hurts and Lane Johnson, backup QB Gardner Minshew, backup RT Jack Driscoll and the rest of the offensive line played all 55 offensive snaps. Those 55 snaps are the second-fewest the Eagles have played in a game this season. Those 3-and-outs in the first half killed them.

• Miles Sanders played a season-low 22 snaps and 40% in this game. It’s worth noting that Sanders came into the game with a knee injury and wore a brace on his left leg. Sanders said the knee didn’t bother him but it seems like the Eagles limited his snaps. Boston Scott got 18 snaps, while Kenny Gainwell got 15.

Scott’s 18 snaps are the most he’s played all season. If the Eagles were limiting Sanders’ snaps, they gave them to Scott.

• A.J. Brown played all 55 snaps, while Devonta Smith played 54. They both had big games. Smith had 115 receiving yards and Brown had 97, with 78 of them on the Eagles’ only touchdown of the day.

• Dallas Goedert played 53 of 55 snaps, while Jack Stoll saw the field 10 times. Third-string tight end Grant Calcaterra did not get on the field on offense. This was the first time all season the Eagles’ third-string tight end did not get a single snap.

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