Eagles Week 1 PFF Grades: AJ Brown leads the way; Jordan Davis earns stellar marks in debut
The Eagles managed to escape Detroit with a victory in Week 1, besting the Lions 38-35.
Philly held a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, before Detroit rallied back to give the Eagles a run for their money. In the end, the Eagles are 1-0 and have a tough test ahead of them next week with Minnesota coming to town for the home opener Monday night.
As they do every week during the NFL season, Pro Football Focus has handed out their grades for each player during Sunday’s contest.
Here’s how the Eagles fared in PFF’s grading system.
AJ Brown, Jalen Hurts, and Miles Sanders lead the way offensively
Watching the game Sunday, it didn’t take a football expert to recognize the dominance of wideout AJ Brown. He feasted on Detroit’s secondary all afternoon, racking up 10 receptions for 155 yards. His 155 receiving yards is the most by any WR in their Eagles debut.
Per PFF, Brown finished the day with an 88.8 offensive grade and an 87.7 receiving grade. Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson was the only other starting wideout to earn a higher offensive grade on Sunday. He earned a 91.1 mark.
Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, and Jason Kelce were the only other offensive players to earn grades of 70.0 or higher on the day.
The Eagles signal caller earned a 76.8 offensive grade by the end of the game. His 80.8 passing grade is a stark improvement over his 69.2 grade in that category last season. Hurts went 18-for-32 (56.25 completion percentage) for 243 yards. QB1 didn’t manage to toss any touchdowns in Week 1, but he also didn’t commit any turnovers, which is always a plus.
Like last season, Hurts was also a force on the ground, racking up 90 yards rushing. He gained 66 yards after contact and forced six missed tackles, according to PFF.
Sanders was steady in the running game as well, leading the team in rushing with 96 yards on just 13 attempts (7.38 YPC). 78 of his rushing yards came after contact and he forced three missed tackles.
Sanders has always been a big play threat and that was evident once again on Sunday. He tallied three runs of 10+ yards, with a long of 24.
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Eagles’ top tier offensive line left a little to be desired on Sunday
If there’s one area the Eagles offense should be somewhat concerned with after Week 1, it’s their offensive line. My gut tells me they’ll pull it together; they’re far too talented not to. But, PFF wasn’t very kind to the Birds’ line in their assessment of Week 1.
Cumulatively, the Eagles offensive line finished with an offensive grade of 64.18.
Here’s how each starter graded out:
- Jordan Mailata: 59.8
- Landon Dickerson: 60.8
- Jason Kelce: 73.4
- Isaac Seumalo: 60.8
- Lane Johnson: 66.1
Despite their poor outing, it’s certainly not time to panic.
The group still did a nice job in pass protection. Each of the starting five earned a pass blocking grade higher than 70.0. On the day, the offensive line allowed six quarterback pressures. The lone sack given up was attributed to Kenneth Gainwell, per PFF.
PFF grades for the entire Eagles offense:
Jordan Davis, Marlon Tuipulotu, and Darius Slay lead the way defensively
Although the Eagles first-round pick didn’t get the start on Sunday, Jordan Davis left his mark on the contest. He earned the highest grade on the defensive side of the ball, finishing the day with 74.3 mark on 22 total snaps.
As expected, the rookie was stout against the run, earning a 74.7 run defense grade on the afternoon. He recorded two tackles and two defensive stops (a PFF metric that tracks tackles resulting in a ‘failure’ for the offense).
His playing time should increase moving forward, especially if the team continues to struggle stopping the run.
Right behind Davis, second-year defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu had his best outing to date. On 29 defensive snaps, Tuipulotu earned a 74.3 defensive grade and a team-high 85.6 pass rushing grade. He finished the day with one pressure and one QB hit along with a pass rush win rate of 15.4 percent.
On the backend, Darius Slay led the Eagles secondary with a 73.6 defensive grade along with a 75.3 mark in coverage. He saw a game-high nine targets on Sunday, allowing three receptions for 55 yards. Although one of those catches went for a touchdown, Slay still had damn good coverage on the play.
Though James Bradberry finished with a lower coverage grade (63.6) than Slay, the newcomer allowed just one reception for 13 yards on six targets. He and Slay are already proving to be one of the best CB tandems in the NFL after just one game together.
Eagles’ safety duo struggled in their first outing together
The safety duo of Marcus Epps and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson didn’t seem like complete liabilities at first glance, but PFF’s grades and the stats tell a different story.
CGJ posted the worst defensive grade on Jonathan Gannon’s unit in Week 1, earning a 45.5 mark, along with abysmal grades in run defense (37.2) and tackling (28.5). As a whole, the team missed 15 tackles on Sunday and the newly acquired safety recorded three of them.
Though his coverage grade (54.9) is a bit better than his other markings, Gardner-Johnson was still a liability on that front. On seven targets, CGJ allowed five receptions for 43 yards.
As disappointing as CGJ was in coverage, Epps was worse. He allowed three receptions on three targets for 30 yards, earning a coverage grade of 51.1 and an overall grade of 52.3 (third-worst defensive grade on the team).
Epp’s saving grace on Sunday was his tackling ability, something he’s always thrived at. He finished the day with a team-high eight tackles while only missing one, earning a 70.2 tackling grade.
Like the subpar offensive line play in Week 1, I don’t think we should panic over this safety duo just yet.
CGJ joined the team on August 30, less than two weeks before the opening game. He’ll need time to thoroughly acclimate himself to Gannon’s scheme. I still expect the former Saint to excel in the Eagles secondary, it’ll just take some time.
As for Epps, this type of performance isn’t shocking given his resume. He’s a box safety that thrives when he’s close to the line of scrimmage. Heading into the year, the hope was that Epps could find more consistency in coverage. One game in and it doesn’t seem like he’s developed much in that area.
Better quarterbacks will look to expose Epps as much as possible, especially with Slay and Bradberry locking things up on the outside. Facing Kirk Cousins and the explosive Vikings passing attack next week will be a huge test for Epps.
PFF grades for the entire Eagles defense:
Mandatory Credit: Duane Burleson | The Associated Press