Eagles-Rams Report Card: 'The Sky Isn't Falling' Edition
PHILADELPHIA - New Eagles offensive lineman Jamon Brown wasn't even dressed Sunday but he foreshadowed what the Los Angeles Rams had in store for Philadelphia.
"As far as the system goes, I think it was very innovative," said Brown, who played in LA from 2015 to 2018 and learned under McVay in 2017 and part of 2018. "I think (Sean) McVay did a great job of making things look different. What he would like to call it is ‘the illusion of complexity,’ Giving you the same thing, but making it look different."
McVay's offense, built on a foundation of pre-snap movement to mask play-action for quarterback Jared Goff, was good enough to generate 449 yards of offense during a 37-19 win that dropped the Eagles to 0-2 on the young season.
Quarterback: C-. It was a little bit better than Week 1 collapse but the frustrating inconsistency to Carson Wentz's game continued with the issue this week being hit-and-miss accuracy.
"We’re not panicking, the sky is not falling," said Wentz, who threw two more interceptions and now has four already in two games.
The big INT on Sunday was the first one. Down 21-16 and driving in the third quarter, Wentz tried to force the ball into J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at the goal line, a terrible momentum-shifter as L.A. regained its footing from there and eased to the finish line.
The big news pre-game was Jalen Hurts usurping Nate Sudfeld for the backup position, a potential tipoff to a special package being unveiled. Hurts was indeed out there at times, lining up in the backfield, wide and in the slot but always as a decoy.
Running Backs: B. Miles Sanders' return calmed down the significant issues in Week 1 in the backfield but not after an early fumble got the Rams going.
After that miscue, however, Sanders settled down to rush 20 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, while adding 36 more yards on three receptions. Boston Scott also looked better in the complementary role as a receiver three catches for 24 yards.
“It’s on me. It won’t happen again," Sanders said of the fumble. "I didn’t have a whole camp to take hits. Not making excuses.”
Receivers: D. DeSean Jackson wasn't even targeted in the first half, and anything thrown to Arcega-Whiteside turns to disaster. Jalen Reagor improved from Week 1 but Wentz led him into a big hit early and Greg Ward is back on the pay-no-mind list.
Tight Ends: C. There was a ton of traffic for Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert as usual but little in the way of splash plays and each was dwarfed by the production of the Rams' Tyler Higbee, who tortured Nate Gerry and Co. to the tune of five receptions and three touchdowns. Overall Wentz locked in on his tight end 15 times and found nine completions.
Offensive Line: B. After the disaster at Washington, this group held up darn well and again didn't allow a sack to Aaron Donald despite losing Isaac Seumalo to a knee injury in the second quarter. Matt Pryor was inserted at left guard and he and right guard Nate Herbig did yeoman work as the superstar moved back and forth. The return of Lane Johnson at right tackle also calmed things down there. The weak link was probably Jason Peters, who again had issues with the speed rush at times.
Defensive Line: C. Just a nondescript performance by the defensive line despite getting back Javon Hargrave and Derek Barnett. Brandon Graham notched the only sack and Malik Jackson continued to be active but Hargrave and Barnett were slow to acclimate after summers spent rehabbing injuries.
Linebackers: D. Gerry just couldn't handle Higbee in coverage as the Eagles went heavy big nickel to deal with the Rams' passing game. Needless to say, it wasn't a successful decision. The Rams also ran the ball effectively despite losing Cam Akers to a rib injury early, piling up 191 yards. T.J. Edwards got more time because of that.
Secondary: D. Cooper Kupp tortured everyone with his route running especially Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had a rough day. Kupp also got Avonte Maddox and even Darius Slay, finishing with five receptions and 81 yards while dominating on third downs early as the Rams built a 21-3 advantage.
The major move was to go heavy big nickel with Marcus Epps often added to Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod. There was a lot of talk during the week about dealing with the Rams' pre-snap motion and it wasn't all that successful when McVay got to it.
“Overall, we were unsuccessful today. We got to get back work. That’s all you can do in this moment," McLeod said.
Special Teams: C. The big play of the game for Philadelphia came when Edwards made Kupp pay for a poor decision of catching the football at his own four-yard line late in the first half. A forced fumble by Edwards was recovered by K'Von Wallace before an ensuing TD run by Sanders cut the lead to 21-16. The big issue was a coaching decision, sticking with a 33-yard Jake Elliott field goal early in the fourth quarter despite an LA penalty that would have turned a 4th-and-8 to a 4th-and-3.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM and every Monday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SportsMap Radio. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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