Weekly Report Card: Special teams gets gold star again

For three quarters, the Eagles played a nearly perfect game, especially in two of three areas. But in the fourth quarter, so many things started to go wrong and nearly cost the Eagles a win.

Regardless, the win against the Rams brought the Eagles to 4-1. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the list of things that need improvement did not get any smaller.

Here is this week’s report card.

Pass offense: Early in the game, there wasn’t anything wrong with what Nick Foles was doing. The Eagles first two drives stalled in the redzone, but Foles had led the Eagles up the field very well. It was only later in the game that the Eagles started to struggle in this area. Receivers weren’t getting open and Foles wasn’t on target. Foles did have two passing touchdowns. But he also threw a costly interception and at times just looked downright awful. B-

Run offense: This week, the running game was much improved. Darren Sproles still headlines the group, but LeSean McCoy started to look back to form after a bad fumble midway through the game. It is the fumble by McCoy and a fumble by Foles on a run where he failed to slide that were costly and can’t happen. Additionally, the Eagles could have used the running game to score in the redzone. The slow start for them hurt the Eagles chances of putting this game away earlier. B-

Pass defense: This is a split decision. On one hand, you couldn’t ask for anything more from the front seven. The pass rush was excellent until there were too many linebackers off the field to supply the pressure. But between Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton and others, they were solid all game. It was the secondary that struggled. Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams were noticeable, but even Malcolm Jenkins didn’t play a great game. When he’s getting noticed for the wrong reasons, you know the secondary is playing poorly. B-

Run defense: Similarly, when the linebackers took a hit with DeMeco Ryans out for the last part of the game, things got worse. But for the most part, the Rams never established the run. Zac Stacy was pretty limited and only when the game was really out of hand did the they finally get something out of Benny Cunningham. B

Special teams: They have shined in every game this season and that happened again on Sunday. There are four spots that show where special teams was so good. James Casey blocked an early punt and it was recovered and taken in for a touchdown by Chris Maragos. Cody Parkey made both of his field goal attempts. The Eagles fumble recovery for a touchdown was the result of a block to the back penalty on the punt by Donnie Jones, as Bryan Braman had beat a man downfield. Finally, late in the game, Jones punted the ball inside the Rams 10 with under two minutes to play. It almost didn’t matter, but special teams did their part again. A-

Overall: It wasn’t nearly as bad a game as everyone will remember, but the near fourth-quarter collapse was enough to let doubt back in just as the Eagles looked to be moving on from a slow start. It is the difference between a dominant win and a close game that nearly got away. The win isn’t satisfying. It’s almost embarrassing honestly. But the Eagles are 4-1 and a lot of it has to do with the good the Eagles were able to do. B-

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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