Persevering Eagles Grade Out Better than Expected
PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles were dead and buried, down 30-14 to the talented Baltimore Ravens with just 7:12 left in the game Sunday when a funny thing happened. ... A battered and bruised, downtrodden team down to two projected offensive starters left, refused to give in.
And the Eagles were one two-point conversion away from tying things late when Matt Judon and former Eagles linebacker LJ Fort converged on an ill-conceived and hurried RPO between Carson Wentz and Boston Scott, ultimately stuffing Wentz and enabling the Ravens (5-1) to hold on to a 30-28 victory.
In a sport with no moral victories, this was exactly that for the Eagles (1-4-1), who will now try to turn their season around with a three-game stretch against NFC East foes, starting Thursday night against the 1-5 New York Giants, who earned their first victory Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
Here's the report card:
PERSEVERANCE: A: The Eagles shouldn't beat Baltimore with a full deck and managed to fight through all the adversity until the very end before coming up short.
After losing Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) in-game Philadelphia was down to Wentz and center Jason Kelce playing with projected backup players and they gave a top 5-level football team all it could handle in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens escaped South Philadelphia on the way to I-95 south.
CARSON WENTZ: A: Forget the numbers, which obviously weren't great. Wentz was a warrior today and refused to give in despite the issues on the offensive line and players like John Hightower and Sanders dropping potential touchdown passes.
If Wentz finished this comeback it would have been a game for the ages that will be remembered for a very long time. Now it's just a footnote except for the players who were out there with Wentz and understand what he went through.
THE WENTZ/JALEN HURTS PACKAGE: B: It keeps expanding and gets a little more effective each week. A throwback that started with a Hurts lateral to Wentz and then came back to Hurts was unveiled after being installed Wednesday. Meanwhile, the first Hurts read/option gained 20 yards and seemed to slow down the swarming Baltimore front at least for a bit.
TRAVIS FULGHAM : B: Fulgham wasn't a star like he was in Pittsburgh but after a slower start he proved he wasn't a flash in the pan, either.
He's obviously gained the confidence of Wentz, who feels comfortable giving the lengthy 6-foot-2 Old Dominion product plenty of rope on 50/50 balls. He's the WR1 and that's not even a joke any longer with DeSean Jackson set to return on Thursday night against the Giants.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B: The No. 1 goal was to stop the run and the Eagles did that when it came to the running backs, allowing just 74 yards on 28 combined carries by JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Mark Ingram.
That default setting at least gives a chance to stop the Ravens and Lamar Jackson, who was the brunt of the rushing attack with 108 yards on nine carries.
Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat were particularly disruptive and while Brandon Graham continues to provide the motor of a 22-year-old.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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