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Who Balled & Who Stalled: Grading the Eagles’ Week 16 Loss

Week 16 WBWS

The Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) may have lost once again on Sunday, 27-20 to the Washington Redskins, but this loss was different. For one, the Eagles showed some heart and resiliency in the fourth quarter when a 27-13 game seemed over. Secondly, it was a very, very good learning experience for some of the younger guys on the team, especially rookie QB Nick Foles, who yesterday was shown to have a fracture on his hand which will end his season.

Here are some players who stepped up or struggled on Sunday:

Baller: Jeremy Maclin

Maclin coasts into the end zone (via Philly.com).

Jeremy Maclin had his best game of the season on Sunday, racking up 116 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. He has established a great connection with Foles and DeSean Jackson’s injury has allowed Maclin to blossom into the number one option the Eagles drafted him to be. In eight games with Vick, Maclin only had 28 receptions for 356 yards. In seven games with Foles, he has 37 catches for 479 yards.

Against Washington Maclin was all over the field, running circles around DeAngelo Hall. His most impressive play was on the 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter, when he split Hall and the safety and ran a perfectly-timed fade route for the score. Maclin has developed into one of the league’s best young receivers, as is proven by this fact: he is only the fifth receiver all-time to amass 250 catches, 3500 yards, and 25 touchdowns before his 25th birthday.

Maclin’s Overall Grade: A

Staller: Nick Foles

Kerrigan strips Foles (via Washington Post).

After a big win over Tampa Bay two weeks ago, where Foles threw for 381 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, things have started to go downhill once again. His QBR, the new rating system for quarterbacks which takes into account all facets of the game including crunch time performance, has dropped considerably, from 79.8 against Tampa to 18.6 last week and now to 32.7 against Washington.

The biggest problem with Foles is still his decision-making, decision-making that caused him to throw a poor pass over the middle of the field that was intercepted by London Fletcher. It’s the same decision-making that caused him to hold onto the ball for too long and getting sacked five times, one of which was a strip-sack by Ryan Kerrigan. He needs to see pass rushes quicker and read coverages with a sharper eye or else these turnovers will continue for the rookie.

Then, of course, there is the problem of his accuracy which has caused him to under-throw or overthrow receivers time after time, the latest of which was in the end zone and cost the Eagles the game-tying touchdown on the second-to-last play of the game. An MRI revealed a hairline fracture on his throwing hand which might explain things, but it also means that yesterday’s pitiful performance is the last thing Eagles fans will see of their future QB this season.

Foles’ Overall Grade: C-

Baller: Colt Anderson

Anderson returns the interception.

Colt Anderson played the best game I’ve seen an Eagles safety play since last season. In fact, if it weren’t for Santana Moss beating Anderson into the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard TD, Anderson would’ve deserved an A+. He just played that well.

For starters, he was all over the field with five tackles and one of them for a loss. He continually stopped Alfred Morris after he broke through the Eagles’ front seven and even came up to the line of scrimmage to make a play once in a while. In coverage, he played just as well, breaking up two or three potential first-down throws by Robert Griffin III and intercepting the Redskins rookie in the fourth quarter. If the Eagles’ had gotten this kind of safety play all year from Nate Allen, they might be 6-9 or 7-8. That’s how much of a difference Anderson made.

Anderson’s Overall Grade: A-

Staller: Reid/Mornhinweg

Sunday was likely Reid’s last home game.

Once again, the play-calling was atrocious. Once again, it came at the expense of All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy. Once again, the Eagles left Lincoln Financial Field on the losing side.

Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg called 57 designed passes and only 18 rushes, allowing the Redskins to time their blitzes with relative ease and putting too much stress on an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries and a rookie quarterback who struggled for most of the game. The plan didn’t feature enough of the team’s two most explosive players, McCoy and Bryce Brown, and the team paid for it late in the game when they were forced to close a 14-point gap in less than ten minutes.

It was a fitting end to Reid’s [likely] final home game in Philadelphia.

Play-Calling’s Overall Grade: D-

Baller: LeSean McCoy

McCoy continued to make people miss (via Philly.com).

LeSean McCoy came back and reminded people who is the top running back in town, and it isn’t Bryce Brown. While McCoy wasn’t dazzling on the ground (15 carries, 45 yards) that can be attributed to the offensive line’s lack of a push. What you really have to look at is his effectiveness through the air, where he caught 9 balls for 77 yards and converted key 3rd- and 4th-down plays.

If McCoy hadn’t missed these past four games, he would be well on his way to another 1000-yard season, but even though he won’t reach that mark for the third-straight year, Eagles fans still know that he is one of the league’s top backs.

McCoy’s Overall Grade: A-

Staller: Evan Moore

I don’t want to be too hard on the guy, but Evan Moore had two chances to shine for Eagles fans at the end of halves and completely botched both. The first wasn’t so bad, late in the second quarter, when Moore was open in the corner of the end zone but was unable to keep both feet in for the touchdown that would’ve given the Eagles a 14-13 halftime advantage. The reason this one was bad was because a) He had an opportunity to make a big play and missed it and b) because the Eagles were in such a precarious position because of a Moore false start four or five plays earlier.

The more egregious error was with fourteen seconds left in the game. It was 1st & goal at the WAS 5 for the Eagles when Foles stepped back and threw a short crossing route to Moore in the end zone, a pass that went right through his hands. Dropping a game-tying touchdown isn’t something that journeyman tight end have the ability to do without serious consequences.

Moore’s Overall Grade: D

Baller: DeMeco Ryans

Ryans brings down Joshua Morgan (via Trbimg).

DeMeco Ryans had four tackles and one for a loss on Sunday, but what is so impressive about Ryans is his ability to influence rushing plays without laying a hand on the ball-carrier. Three times on Sunday Alfred Morris had a hole between guard and tackle and three times Ryans closed the gap forcing Morris to change direction and run headlong into outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks who was there to make the tackle.

Apart from Jeremiah Trotter, Ryans is having the best season for any linebacker under Andy Reid. He’s quietly amassed 111 tackles and 14 for a loss, the latter of which is a record for any Reid linebacker. He is the reason that the Eagles run defense isn’t as porous as last year and is one of few Eagles’ defensive players to have earned a Pro Bowl nomination this season.

Ryans’ Overall Grade: A-

Staller: Defensive Line

Cole struggled all day long.

The Eagles came in knowing the Redskins had a tough offensive line, but they stymied what has been a solid Eagles pass rush. Fletcher Cox (2 tackles) and Cullen Jenkins (1 tackle) were able to do nothing against the interior line featuring Pro Bowl center Will Montgomery. Trent Cole was equally ineffective, with only five tackles and no hurries or QB hits. Trent Williams consistently pushed him to the outside, away from RG3.

In fact, Brandon Graham was the only Eagle who was able to make an impact. With seven tackles and one pass batted down, he was able to get a little bit of a push against Tyler Polumbus. Even then, he couldn’t bring down RG3 even once; the Eagles’ lone sack came on a corner blitz by Brandon Boykin.

Defensive Line’s Overall Grade: D+

So thanks for reading, check out our Twitter, @KhandymanSports, and our Facebook page by clicking here. Comment with your thoughts on the game and be sure to share this post around to fellow Eagles fans!

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Categories: Eagles, Editorial

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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