Fanteractive Game Breakdown for Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh by myles.whitmore

National Football League

Philadelphia (V) vs. Pittsburgh (H)

Heinz Field
Pittsburgh


Sunday Oct 11,2020 01:00 PM ET

Post Game Analysis by myles.whitmore for Philadelphia

Post Game Report Card

Overall Team Grades
Overall Team Grade
B-
Overall Offense Grade
B+
Overall Defense Grade
C+
Overall Special Teams
C
Overall Coaching
B
My Player of the Game
Miles Sanders
Game Notes
Overall, this was the second-best performance the Eagles have had all season. While the loss obviously stings, there are many silver linings for Eagles fans to focus on. For instance, aside from a horrible miscommunication between Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz, this Eagles offense was the most consistent and explosive that it has been all season. Led by wideout Travis Fulgham and lead back Miles Sanders, this Eagles offense erupted for over 300 total yards and 29 yards. Likewise, Philly's defense made a fair number of plays too. Darius Slay was one such playmaker who was all over the field covering the Steelers wideouts and making open-field tackles to prevent touchdowns. However, this unit as a whole failed to contain Pittsburgh's passing attack. As a result, Big Ben and Chase Claypool had a field day connecting for over 100 yards and three TDs. To make matters worse for the birds, their star DT Fletcher Cox suffered another injury in yesterday's contest. Nevertheless, the Eagles still have plenty of time to address these problems and remain in playoff contention. Also, wide receiver Travis Fulgham is definitely the MVP of this game. Despite a tumultuous start to his NFL career, Fulgham has been coming through for the Philadelphia Eagles in consecutive weeks. Following a game-winning TD catch against the Niners, Fulgham went off for ten catches, 152 yards, and a TD against a stingy Steelers secondary. It's way too early to make declarations. Still, if Fulgham can sustain this explosiveness, the Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson might finally have a reliable wideout to reverse their recent offensive woes.
Player Grades
Player
Pos
Grade
Alex Singleton (49)
LB 
Brandon Graham (55)
DE 
Brandon Graham stifled the Pittsburgh pass and run games. In the passing game, Graham was able to pressure Roethlisberger four times. Additionally, he had three-run stops as well.
Cameron Johnston (1)
Excellent net yardage and YPA. Johnston is a reliable punter for the Eagles.
Carson Wentz (11)
QB 
B+ 
Throughout this game, Carson Wentz was able to carry the Eagles aggressively. Aside from a bad interception in the first half, Wentz aired the ball out to Travis Fulgham with ease. Speaking of ease, Wentz looked comfortable as a gunslinger who can also target his safety valve, Greg Ward. If Wentz can keep this momentum going, the Eagles offense could be explosive when Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson return.
Derek Barnett (96)
DE 
C+ 
Barnett was a decent pass rusher in this game.
Duke Riley (50)
LB 
A- 
Duke Riley came through against the Steelers. He finished with seven tackles and four run-stops. He also did a good job in coverage, allowing only one catch the entire game.
Fletcher Cox (91)
DE 
Something is not right with Fletcher Cox. For multiple games, Cox has suffered setbacks due to nagging injuries. This trend is troubling given that is also corresponds with Fletcher's noticeable regression this season. Cox is still a formidable DT who might just be getting used to football in the covid era. Nonetheless, the Eagles will need to continue monitoring his injury.
Jake Elliott (4)
C- 
He made all his extra points but missed a 57 yarder.
Jalen Hurts (1)
QB 
A- 
This rating is based on how Jalen Hurt's presence benefits this Eagles offense. With Hurts and Wentz on the field, the Steelers defense was caught off guard. If this two QB offense can become more solidified, Jalen Hurts' versatility could make Doug Pederson's offense even more dynamic.
Jalen Mills (31)
CB 
While Jalen Mills made some nice tackles, he gave up 55 yards in coverage. This coupled a bad penalty gave the Steelers opportunities to score.
Jason Kelce (62)
CE 
C+ 
Like the rest of the Eagles offensive line, Kelce and Herbig surrendered some pressures against the Steelers. Given that the Eagles injury-ridden OL competed against a daunting Pittsburgh pass rush, this result is expected. Still, these two players and their OL teammates need to create more opportunities for Miles Sanders to produce on the ground.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside (19)
WR 
For the first time in this season, JJ Arcega Whiteside made a contribution. He hauled in a terrific 37-yard catch. However, this catch was right before halftime, so this highlight-reel play was meaningless.
Josh Sweat (94)
DE 
If the Eagles defensive line has any chance of remaining dominant, Josh Sweat needs to step up. While Sweat is capable of exploding in any given game, he needs to be more consistent. This is especially true considering that Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox have already been playing through injuries this season.
Lane Johnson (65)
OT 
Lane struggled a bit in both the pass and run blocking games. However, it is important to note that injuries heavily contributed to his issues.
Matt Pryor (69)
OG 
Pryor struggled heavily throughout this game. Against the Steelers, Pryor surrendered five pressures and failed to hold up as a run blocker.
Miles Sanders (26)
RB 
B+ 
Miles Sanders came through with a sensational 74-yard touchdown to spark the Eagles offense early. Plus, Sanders was able to reach paydirt again in the red zone and haul in two catches for 19 yards.
Nate Gerry (47)
LB 
Nate Gerry is a reliable tackler who came through with seven tackles and no missed tackles. Still, he struggled in coverage and got beat for a touchdown. Given that he had help with a double team, this was an especially bad mistake.
Nate Herbig (67)
CE 
Like the rest of the Eagles offensive line, Kelce and Herbig surrendered some pressures against the Steelers. Given that the Eagles injury-ridden OL competed against a daunting Pittsburgh pass rush, this result is expected. Still, these two players and their OL teammates need to create more opportunities for Miles Sanders to produce on the ground.
Nate Sudfeld (7)
QB 
No Opinion 
held a clipboard well
Rodney McLeod (23)
SS 
B- 
McLeod was effective at stopping the run.
Zach Ertz (86)
TE 
Zach Ertz continued his poor stretch of play yesterday. Despite receiving a whopping six targets, Ertz could only haul in one catch for six yards. Unfortunately, Ertz got pushed off one of those routes on a miscommunication play with Carson Wentz. This miscommunication led to a horrible red-zone INT that set Pittsburgh up to score. Also, unsurprisingly, Ertz struggled profusely to hold up in the pass blocking game.
Advanced Team Grades
Offense
Run Offense (Overall)
B+
Passing Offense (Overall)
B
Moving the Chains
B+
Protection
D
Big Plays
A
Mistakes
D
Overall QB Play
B
Game Notes on Offense
This offense had it's most explosive performance yesterday. Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, and Travis Fulgham all made sensational plays to keep the Eagles in the game. In fact, Sanders' 74-yard score and Fulgham's ten receptions were enough to keep the Eagles in this game. As a result, Carson Wentz was able to effectively move the chains while also targeting Fulgham and John Hightower down the field. Aside from a poor OL performance, this team made big plays and played well despite the absence of Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and DeSean Jackson. Furthermore, the presence of Jalen Hurts, coupled with the return of those receivers, could set the Eagles up with a chance to dominate the second half of the season.
Quarterback
B+
Running Backs
B+
Protection & Blocking
D
Receiving
A
Analysis Notes
Carson Wentz was solid as a game manager who knew when to push the ball down the field. If Doug Pederson can keep him on the run and attack deep, Wentz and his mentee Jalen Hurts can be a truly dynamic tandem. However, Wentz will need to refrain from making boneheaded reads, and Hurts will need to work on ball security as he learns Pederson's offense.
Defense
Passing Game Defense
F
Stopping the Run
F
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
C-
Forcing Turnovers
B-
Big Plays
F
Mistakes
D
Game Notes on Defense
The Eagles defense was obliterated in both the pass and run games. This deficiency was best encapsulated by Pittsburgh's 136 rushing yards, 239 passing yards, and five total touchdowns. There are plenty of reasons why the Eagles defense struggled last Sunday. For instance, Josh Sweat and Fletcher Cox each struggled to pressure Ben Rothlisberger's last game. In the secondary, players such as Jalen Mills and Nathan Gerry also failed to contain Steelers receiver Chase Claypool who went off for an impressive three touchdowns. Besides a fumble recovery, this was a dreadful performance for the birds' defense.
Defensive Line
C+
Linebackers
C+
Defensive Backs
C
Notes
As mentioned earlier, DL Josh Sweat and Fletcher Cox struggled to create sustainable pressure to combat the Steelers' passing game. Given that the defensive line is the strength of this team, the Eagles need to address this unit in practice or through trade. This need is worth slightly panicking over since Cox has suffered injuries in multiple games this season. Although there are some silver linings for Eagles fans to enjoy on Monday. For instance, Darius Slay looks like a solid investment early this season. Besides containing star receivers in multiple games this season, Slay has made numerous, sensational tackles in open spaces to prevent touchdowns. Likewise, his teammate Nickell Robey-Coleman had a great coverage game, only allowing nine yards to Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington. As a whole, this Eagles secondary is still decent and underrated. Nevertheless, Eagles fans should not pin all of their hopes on their LBs and DBs to contain explosive receiving corps such as Pittsburgh's.
SPECIAL Teams
Kickoff/Punt Coverage
C-
Kicking
C-
Punting
A
Kickoff/Punt Returning
C+
Special Teams Comments
Placekicker, Jake Elliot, made all his extra points and missed a 57 yarder. Punter, Cameron Johnston, had excellent net yardage and YPA. Johnston is a reliable punter for the Eagles.
Play of the Game
74-yard TD run by Miles Sanders
Coaching Grades
Game Plan
B-
Execution
C
Game Management
B+
Key Decisions
A
Play-Calling
A
Creativity
A+
Comments on Coaching
Doug Pederson coached a terrific game on Sunday. Pederson created a system where Carson Wentz could attack deep down the field while refraining from forcing anything. Before the Niners game, this task looked impossible, given the Eagles' glaring hole at the receiver position. However, the emergence of receivers like Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham shows that Pederson can develop receivers to assist his signal-caller. Speaking of development, Pederson has clearly shown trust in his QB Jalen Hurts. This trust is best illustrated by Jalen Hurts' participation in the Eagles dynamic offense as a passer and a runner. With Hurts on the field, the Niners and Steelers defenses were caught off guard and on their heels. It's still early, but if Pederson can continue to find creative ways to integrate Hurts into his playcalling, the Eagles offense could be revolutionary long-term. While Pederson coached well, there are some areas of improvement, especially as it pertains to the defensive side of the ball. While the offense exceeded expectations against Pittsburgh, the defense was a different story. As mentioned earlier, Philly's defense surrendered over 300 yards, five TDs, and 38 points, which is inexcusable. At the very least, Pederson and his defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz need to do a better job containing wideouts across the middle and deep down the field. However, Schwartz, in particular, needs to find ways to get more pressure against opposing QBs since that is a staple of the Eagles' success. Despite some flack that Pederson received following this game, he made multiple good decisions to keep his team in the best position to win the game. First and foremost, Pederson is maximizing Travis Fulgham, Jalen Hurts, and Greg Ward and integrating them into an offense that complements his QB. Plus, his aggressiveness to go for it on fourth down plays and two-point conversions is wise. Plus, he wisely trusted Jake Elliot's leg.