Eagles Report Card: Offense Benefits from Defensive Turnovers

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It took a while, but when the Eagles got some golden opportunities from Chicago turnovers, they made the Bears pay.

Two quick scores in the third quarter seemingly put the game away to a stunned Chicago Bears team, as the Eagles improved to 2-0 on the season with a 29-14 win.

Here are the grades for the Eagles for this week.

Pass Offense – B

Carson Wentz proved that his debut was no one-shot deal. The rookie continued to display a veteran quality in his leadership, poise and confidence.

While the Eagles pass offense only accounted for one touchdown, they moved effectively early in the game, with Wentz getting thrown into the fire pretty quickly.

While there weren't many incompletions or miscommunications to speak of, the two throws that really could have been game changers were an on-the-money throw to Jordan Matthews that was dropped and a slightly under-thrown pass downfield to Nelson Agholor that was also off the hands of the second-year receiver. Wentz really did everything he could to make big plays downfield and just didn't get the help. That also hurt his individual numbers. He would have easily eclipsed 200 yards if even one of those two passes had been complete.

In the absence of Zach Ertz, Trey Burton also had a solid game, with five catches for 49 yards and a touchdown in the red zone.

But the thing that really stands out about Wentz is ball protection. He has not allowed a turnover in each of his first two games, becoming the first rookie QB in NFL history to lead his team to two wins to open the season and have his team not allow a turnover. Impressive.

Run Offense – B-

Down the stretch, they got going. And when they did, they were scoring. Ryan Mathews barely saw any action in the first half, but struck for two touchdowns in the second half.

Wendell Smallwood also got off some nice runs.

That said, the first-half struggles of the running game were brutal to watch. The pass-happy Eagles were more than content to let Wentz throw, but struggled to establish a running game. Seems like a fairly easy task to hold the Eagles ground game down when the primary rusher is Darren Sproles.

Wentz also got in on the running game a bit, but the rookie needs to simmer down a bit when it comes to doing things on the run. Several times, Wentz took an unnecessary hit when he should have just slid or run out of bounds.

Pass Defense – B 

The Eagles didn't exactly supply a ton of pressure on Jay Cutler, but the Bears quarterback was uneasy the whole game, a testament to the noise this front-seven has made around the league.

Cutler's two big mistakes came on the pass rush. The first was a huge hit from Destiny Vaeao that resulted in a fumble recovered by the Eagles. The second was Fletcher Cox, who was bearing down on Cutler as he threw an interception to Nigel Bradham

All the way through, the turnovers have started on the line of scrimmage with a good pass rush. 

Run Defense – B+

The Bears finished the game with 64 yards rushing at a 3.6 yards per carry clip. Aside from a 16-yard rush by Jeremy Langford and a 10-yard rush by Jordan Howard, the Bears really never established a strong running game. Brandon Graham was a big part of that. He was a standout on defense the entire night.

The Eagles also got a fumble off a carry from Langford, with Bennie Logan forcing the fumble and Ron Brooks picking up the recovery.

Special Teams – C-

 

Donnie Jones did not have the best night punting, averaging 43.6 yards per kick. Caleb Sturgis started out strong with field goals from 25, 29 and 53 yards, but dealt with cramping during the second half and missed an extra point.

The special teams unit was doing fine in this game until Eddie Royal reeled off a 65-yard return with several blockers being picked up as Royal worked in tight space on the sidelines toward the endzone. Not a good play at all.

The Eagles two kick returns were fairly solid, with Smallwood getting 30 yards on his return and Josh Huff getting 27 on his.