When comparing the PFF players grades from the Eagles 28-23 win over the Panthers I’m surprised the Panthers had a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. In fact, if not for the three Panthers INTs I think they very well would have won. The turnovers resulted in 14 Eagles points in a game decided by 5 points.
The Eagles had at least 7 players grade out at 80 or higher. The Top 5 are below, plus two more they provided context on. I don’t have the full list so I can’t give you the full number but I think there is room for a couple more.
TOP 5 GRADES
LB Nigel Bradham, 89.7 overall grade
S Rodney McLeod, 86.7 overall grade
QB Carson Wentz, 86.6 overall grade
OT Jason Peters, 85.8 overall grade
Edge Brandon Graham, 85.2 overall grade
Your eyes were not lying to you, the Panthers were getting beat in one on one match-ups on both sides of the line throughout the game. Here’s two cases that really surprised me:
Refocused: Philadelphia Eagles 28, Carolina Panthers 23 | NFL Analysis | Pro Football Focus
G BRANDON BROOKS, 84.7 OVERALL GRADE
Brooks was responsible for a handful of the Eagles biggest runs on Thursday, dominating Star Lotulelei on multiple occasions. He was also good in pass protection, as he was beaten for one lone pressure on 37 pass-blocking snaps.
This is the first time since we drafted Star that he was shut out so thoroughly. I’ll just chalk it up to ‘he had a bad game’ and leave it at that. Star is usually on the giving end of the domination.
This next one is no surprise. We all saw RG Trai Turner get walked back to Cam Newton like he was on skates on the first INT. It wasn’t the last time Turner got his lunch money taken on this night.
DT FLETCHER COX, 85.7 PASS-RUSH GRADE
After missing the Eagles’ past two games, Cox returned and made a sizable impact as a pass-rusher. He had six total pressures on the night, including one sack, and one hit that caused Cam Newton’s first interception of the night.
Just like Star though, more often than not it is Turner dominating his opponent, not the other way around. Fletcher Cox is no push over either. He looked like a Pro Bowler out there.
The Panthers on the other hand had only one player register an 80+ grade on the day:
TOP 5 GRADES
OT Daryl Williams, 81.0 overall grade
S Mike Adams, 79.4 overall grade
LB Thomas Davis, 78.4 overall grade
LB Luke Kuechly, 77.0 overall grade
DT Vernon Butler, 76.5 overall grade
I bet you would not have guessed that player was RT Daryl Williams. The kid is playing better for sure.
So my point is that in spite of this adversity, the Panthers still had the ball at their own 43 at the two minute warning and (if this were 2015) could have driven down for a winning score. Instead they got to the Eagles 48, and facing two plays to get one yard they chose to throw the ball. Shows you even the coaching staff had no confidence in the running game on this day.
If you instead look at the team stats it was actually a pretty evenly matched game. The teams were evenly matched in offensive production. The difference maker on this day was the turnovers. That is something we can turn around quickly, so have heart.