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Grading the Eagles in their Win Over the Bucs

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When the opposition in the NFL offers little resistance, it’s tough to judge just how well you played.

The Eagles, who now have three wins over three teams with a combined 1-13 record and a loss to an unbeaten team, are caught in that trap.

Sunday’s 33-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is what was expected for the most part.

Let’s break it down.

PASSING OFFENSE: Quarterback Donovan McNabb, in his first game back after missing two games with a broken rib, was very good. He completed 16 of just 21 passes for 264 yards with three touchdowns for a rating of 157.2. McNabb used seven different receivers, but rookie Jeremy Maclin was his main target as Tampa’s defense rolled its coverage to DeSean Jackson. Maclin finished with six receptions for 142 yards, including touchdowns of 51 and 40 yards. Maclin became the first Eagles rookie to score two touchdowns in a game since Reggie Brown in 2005, and the first to score two of more than 40 yards, ever. Tight end Brent Celek had four catches for 58 yards.

Grade: A

 

RUSHING OFFENSE: McNabb scrambled twice for 30 yards and led the team in rushing. That’s not good. Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy both had six carries and managed just 18 and 14 yards respectively. Fullback Leonard Weaver carried twice for four yards. Don’t blame the backs, the offensive line, which protected McNabb wonderfully, didn’t provide any room to run. Then again 14 carries is not a lot to judge.

Grade: D

 

PASSING DEFENSE: The Eagles game plan was evident. They were going to blitz Tampa quarterback Josh Johnson, making his second NFL start, all game. And that’s what they did. Johnson showed good elusiveness at times and was able to make some plays. But the Eagles sacked him three times, hurried him a bunch more and forced him into three interceptions. Still, four drops by Tampa receivers were of no doing of the Eagles defense. And the coverage on the tight ends has to get better. Kellen Winslow Jr. killed the linebackers with nine catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Grade: C+

 

RUSHING DEFENSE: The Eagles let Johnson get out of the pocket to run five times for 40 yards. Derrick Ward gained 37 yards and ran hard on all of his six carries, including a 28-yard run in which he ran through three Eagles. Cadillac Williams did nothing, gaining just eight yards on 10 carries.

Jeremiah Trotter, in his return to action, played about 20 plays but had very little, if any impact. Tampa seemed to know he was on the field and threw the ball instead of running at him.

Grade: B

 

SPECIAL TEAMS: This unit is still not getting any better, which is troubling. Four more penalties, Sunday, plus allowing the Bucs to recover an onside kick is not acceptable. The cover teams allowed Tampa an average of 9.0 yards on three punt returns and 30.0 yards on four kickoff returns. The return didn’t do much either, as DeSean Jackson had just one, four-yard punt return and Ellis Hobbs had just one 21-yard kickoff return. Punter Sav Rocca had a decent day with a 48.8 yard gross and a 43.4 yard net average. Kicker David Akers made his only field goal attempt from 44 yards and all four of his extra points.

Grade: D

 

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