December 05, 2017
In the first quarter of the 2017 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles went 3-1, and as you might imagine, they mostly earned good grades. After a perfect 4-0 second quarter of the season, the Eagles remained atop the NFC East at 7-1, with a 3-0 record in the division, and at least a 2.5-game lead on all their division rivals.
After the third quarter of the season in which they went 3-1, the Eagles are one win or one Dallas loss away from winning the NFC East, with their sights set on home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Let's hand out individual grades for the third quarter.
QB Carson Wentz: Here's what Wentz did in the third quarter of the season:
|Carson Wentz||Comp-Att||Yards (YPA)||TD-INT||QB Rating|
|Broncos||15-27 (55.6%)||199 (7.4)||4-0||118.7|
|Cowboys||14-27 (51.9%)||168 (6.2)||2-0||95.9|
|Bears||23-36 (63.9%)||227 (6.3)||3-0||109.4|
|Seahawks||29-45 (64.4%)||348 (7.7)||1-1||86.2|
|TOTAL||81-135 (60.0%)||942 (7.0)||10-1||102.8|
Wentz was outstanding in three blowouts of the Broncos, Cowboys, and Bears, but the game that will remain etched in everyone's brains at the moment was the Eagles' loss to the Seahawks. Wentz made some highlight reel plays, as he always does, but two missed throws to Nelson Agholor and a lost fumble at the goal line have tainted his third quarter of the season to some degree.
Wentz is clearly a great player, and in time he'll be more consistently great. As Sunday night showed, there is still progress to be made, and he'll make it.
RB LeGarrette Blount: Over the last four games, Blount had 45 carries for 217 yards (4.8 YPC). He also handled the acquisition of Jay Ajayi, a player certain to cut into his carries, with patience and class.
RB Wendell Smallwood: Smallwood had 5 carries for 25 yards in mop-up duty against the Broncos. He's been a healthy scratch ever since. I'm not sure how to grade that.
RB Corey Clement: Clement has proven to be a nice find in the undrafted free agency phase of the draft. Over the third quarter of the season, he saw an increased role, carrying 25 times for 135 yards (5.4 YPC) and 3 TDs. He also chipped in a TD reception on a middle screen against the Broncos.
RB Kenjon Barner: Barner made a couple big plays against the Cowboys, but hasn't participated much in the regular offense since. At one point, Barner was second in the NFL in punt return average, but he has cooled off a bit there.
RB Jay Ajayi: Ajayi had runs of 30-plus yards in each of his first three games in Philly. The bruising trio of Ajayi, Blount, and Clement will be a difficult set of backs for opposing defenses to deal with when the weather gets colder.
WR Alshon Jeffery: After a slow first half of the season, Jeffery is beginning to break out, snagging 19 receptions for 264 yards and 4 TDs over the last four games.
WR Torrey Smith: Over his last 7 games, Smith has a long reception of 11 yards. He has not been the deep threat who can open up the middle of the field for the Eagles' other receivers.
WR Nelson Agholor: After three quiet games, Agholor broke out against the Seahawks, grabbing 7 catches for 141 yards and a TD against the team that got him benched a season ago. He continues to be a story of redemption this season.
WR Mack Hollins: With Torrey Smith not producing, it's only a matter of time before Hollins starts to really take away a big chunk of his snaps. That has not happened yet. In his last four games, Hollins has caught 5 passes on 5 targets for 37 yards. He needs to see the field more.
TE Zach Ertz: Ertz was leading all NFL tight ends in receiving earlier this season, but he has cooled off a bit:
I wonder if that has coincided with Torrey Smith's complete lack of downfield production.
TE Trey Burton: We didn't even give Burton a grade during the first quarter of the season because he didn't play much. However, he has gotten more playing time recently. Over the last four games he has 6 receptions for 83 yards and a TD.
TE Brent Celek: Celek didn't play much early, but he got more opportunities with Ertz and Burton missing games during the third quarter of the season. Against the Broncos and Cowboys, Celek had 4 catches for 67 yards.
LT Jason Peters: Peters was having an outstanding season when he was lost for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.
LG Stefen Wisniewski: Wis has been a clear upgrade over Allen Barbre, in my view.
C Jason Kelce: Kelce, like many other Eagles players, has had a surprising bounce-back season. He's going to the Pro Bowl again this year, but this time it will be deserved.
RG Brandon Brooks: Brooks doesn't get beaten in pass pro, and while he's not the mauler you might expect of a 330-pound guy, he makes a lot of great blocks in the run game. Brooks was an excellent free agent addition last offseason.
RT Lane Johnson: If Johnson doesn't make an All-Pro team this year, then the voters simply haven't watched him.
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Vaitai struggled mightily against the Seahawks' Frank Clark, and Doug Pederson has admitted that the Eagles have given Big V a lot of extra help, both in terms of extra blockers on his side as well as scheming so that he's not exposed.
LG Chance Warmack: The Eagles' odd "LG by committee" approach is long gone.
LG Isaac Seumalo: Seumalo has gotten into games as the tight end in jumbo sets. I'd be a liar if I claimed to watch him closely on those plays.
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