NFL Week One- Grading the Eagles Win Over the Panthers

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Passing Offense – It’s hard to give a real high grade to a unit that mustered just 82 yards, but that’s all the Eagles needed Sunday.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb (10-for-18, two TDs, one Int) was very efficient and his numbers would have been better if not for three drops – one each from DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Kevin Curtis. McNabb also ran for a touchdown and left the game with sore ribs on that play.

Kevin Kolb didn’t have to do much with a 38-10 lead, and he didn’t.

GRADE: B

 

Passing Offense – It’s hard to give a real high grade to a unit that mustered just 82 yards, but that’s all the Eagles needed Sunday.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb (10-for-18, two TDs, one Int) was very efficient and his numbers would have been better if not for three drops – one each from DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Kevin Curtis. McNabb also ran for a touchdown and left the game with sore ribs on that play.

Kevin Kolb didn’t have to do much with a 38-10 lead, and he didn’t.

GRADE: B

 

Rushing Offense – “Ground Reid’’ went for 185 yards on 32 carries, an average of 5.8 yards per carry.

Brian Westbrook ran 13 times for 64 yards (4.9 yard avg.) before taking it easy in the second half. LeSean McCoy, in his NFL debut, carried nine times for 46 yards (5.1 yard avg.).

DeSean Jackson took it on a “wildcat’’ play once and an end around once for 32 yards, and fullback Leonard Weaver even got involved on an 11-yard run.

If the Eagles run like this all season, they are going to win a lot of games.

GRADE: A

 

Passing Defense – The Eagles had five sacks, five interceptions, pressured the turnover machine, Jake Delhomme all day, and also forced two fumbles in the passing game, one that led directly to a defensive score.

Cornerbacks Sheldon Brown (2), Asante Samuel (1) and Joselio Hanson (1) all picked off a pass and Brown and Samuel took Carolina receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad out of the game.

The Eagles linebackers, who did not look good in the preseason to say the least, were very active. The trio of Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan and Chris Gocong combined to make four-and-a-half “big plays’’ with a sack-and-a-half, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. That’s only three-and-a-half less big plays than the Eagles starting linebackers made all of last season.

GRADE: A+

 

Rushing Defense – Carolina ran for 63 yards on its opening drive of the game, which resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams. The Panthers finished the game with 86 yards rushing on 30 carries, an average of 2.9 yards per carry and never saw the end zone again.

After missing three tackles on that first drive, the Eagles wrapped up well, got great play up front from tackle Mike Patterson and ends Trent Cole and Victor Abiamiri and suffocated Carolina’s usually-potent running game.

GRADE: A

 

Special Teams – DeSean Jackson’s 85-yard punt return broke open the game in the first half and was a thing of beauty. Chris Clemons may have gotten away with an illegal block, but if the refs don’t call it, it didn’t happen. Kicker David Akers was perfect from 48 yards out, but had a 51-yarder blocked.

Ellis Hobbs (22.5 avg.) didn’t do much on kickoff returns and the coverage teams could be better (24.0 avg. on kickoffs, 16.5 avg. on punts).

Punter Sav Rocca placed two of his boots inside the 20 yardline.

GRADE: B+

 

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Eagles Offense: Donovan McNabb – Before he left the game with a cracked rib injury, he wasn’t brilliant, but he did what he had to do and was responsible for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).  

Eagles Defense: Sheldon Brown – His two interceptions got the rout started. Now, give him his money.

 

 

 AP Photo/Nell Redmond

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