Even though the Birds let another winnable game get away, there were some positives I saw. I think the biggest problem the Eagles are facing right now, is the 3-0 record that they had to start out the season. The expectations for this team got much too high, despite the fact that they have a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback.
I know there are a lot of negative things to talk about, but I want to emphasize some positives, so here are my Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week.
This team has holes in it, but there are certain aspects of the squad I see coming together. One of those aspects is the Carson Wentz-Zach Ertz combination. An injury to Ertz in the first game and the fact that these two players didn’t work together during training camp, has prevented the Wentz-Ertz combination from flourishing in the first half of the season.
They got it going on Sunday and Ertz was our Offensive Player of the Week. The tight end was the team’s leading receiver in the game as he caught eight passes for 97 yards. I think this was just a small sample of what Ertz can do going forward with rookie Carson Wentz.
The former Stanford star injured his rib in the first game of the season and that prevented him from developing a connection with Wentz. In addition, they didn’t work much together in training camp because Sam Bradford was taking the first team reps and Wentz was throwing the ball to the other tight ends.
Going forward, I think we’re going to start seeing a great deal more of Wentz passing to Ertz, which is a good thing, especially in the red zone.
Eagles middle linebacker Jordan Hicks is our Eagles Defensive Player of The Week. Hicks did a great job of making plays against the Giants running attack, which the Birds defense held to 54 yards. The second-year linebacker from Texas was also active in the middle versus Eli Manning and the Giants pass game as he made five solos tackles and two assists.
Those contributions were all great, but all that paled in comparison to what was the Defensive Play of the Game. With the Eagles trailing and the clock ticking down, Hicks made an acrobatic interception on a 3rd down Manning pass that was tipped by Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin. Hicks dove, got his hands under the ball and put the Eagles offense in position to win the game on the Giants side of the field with plenty of time left to play.
Despite being the leading ball carrier in the game with 57 yards, Darren Sproles is our Special Teams Player of the Week. He made another amazing 66-yard punt return, which gave the Eagles the ball inside the Giants 20-yard line. It should have set up a score by the Birds, but the Eagles chose to go for it on fourth down and they came up short.
Still the 33-year old Sproles showed us that despite being up there in the years, he’s still one of the best punt returners in the National Football League and he’s capable of taking a return the distance every time he touches the football.