Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Texans


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans

Here’s a player-by-player review of how the Eagles’ defense performed against the Texans after having watched the All-22 copy.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game for Cox, who has been the Eagles’ most consistent defensive player this season. He finished with two tackles and two hurries. Cox helped disrupt a run that was stopped after a 3-yard gain in the first. Good rush in the second, hitting Ryan Fitzpatrick as he released the ball. Cox ran over a Texans offensive lineman and hit Fitzpatrick on the play where DeMeco Ryans momentarily had an interception.

Bennie Logan – He once again played a key role in the Eagles’ stout run defense. Logan finished with three tackles. On the season, he has 33, tied for eighth-most among defensive linemen and second among nose tackles. Logan shed his block and stopped Arian Foster after a 2-yard run in the first. He blew up a run that gained 3 in the third. Logan was called for a facemask penalty trying to chase down a screen in the third. He dropped Foster for a loss in the third and tackled Alfred Blue for a 3-yard loss after a short completion.

Cedric Thornton – He’s always consistent against the run and finished with four tackles, the most of any Eagles defensive lineman. Thornton and Mychal Kendricks brought Foster down after a 4-yard run in the second. He helped bring Foster down after a 3-yard run later in the quarter. Thornton disrupted a Blue run that lost 5 yards. And he blew up a run that gained 3 in the third. The Eagles defensive line has performed well against the run all season.

Vinny Curry – He was somewhat quiet, but Curry did hit Fitzpatrick on third down in the third to force a field goal attempt.

Brandon Bair – He and Beau Allen combined for a coverage sack in the first. Good job playing to the whistle. Bair brought Foster down after a 2-yard run in the third.

Beau Allen – He had half-a-sack. Allen lost his footing, but still tackled Foster after a 3-yard run in the second.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Connor Barwin – He got beaten for the one big play, but otherwise played well. Barwin was matched up with Foster in coverage, and Fitzpatrick hit the RB on a wheel route for a 56-yard TD down the sideline. Billy Davis said technique-wise, Barwin did everything right. Don’t see how you can really kill him for the play. Sometimes, you just have to give the other guys credit. Barwin chased Fitzpatrick down for a sack in the third. He used an inside move to hit Fitzpatrick later in the quarter. Barwin was a free rusher on a later play and hit Fitzpatrick. Good rush on the last play of the game. It looked like he got his hand on the football. Overall, the coaches credited him with three tackles, a sack, two hurries and two batted balls.

Trent Cole – Very active game. Cole rushed like a stand-up inside LB on third down in the first, beat the left guard and pressured Fitzpatrick. He pursued from the back side and helped drop Blue for a 5-yard loss in the second. Cole’s pressure flushed Fitzpatrick to his right where Barwin picked up the sack in the third. Excellent pass rush on third down in the third; he had Fitzpatrick in his grasp, but couldn’t finish. Cole manhandled the tight end and tackled Blue for no gain in the fourth. In coverage, he got matched up with Hopkins in the slot once and was called for holding. Overall, four tackles and two hurries.

Brandon Graham – The coaching staff credited him with two tackles, four hurries and a sack. Remarkable, considering Graham only played 20 snaps and had only 10 pass-rushing opportunities, per Pro Football Focus. Good hustle, coming up with a sack on Fitzpatrick from behind in the second. Graham got his hand on Fitzpatrick and had another near-sack in the third, but couldn’t bring the QB down. He should have had a sack on the final drive, but Fitzpatrick spun out of it. He’s making the most of his opportunities, but it would probably be a good idea to try to get him more opportunities.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

DeMeco Ryans – Losing him is a big blow. Ryans was an extension of Davis on the field. He made the calls, got guys lined up and was the unquestioned leader of the defense. Ryans was also playing consistently well, specifically against the run. In last week’s game, he made a tackle after a 3-yard run in the first. He diagnosed a play and lowered the boom on Foster for a 1-yard loss in the second. He and Kendricks stopped Blue after a 1-yard run in the third. Ryans drew a holding penalty on a third-quarter run. He tackled Blue after a 3-yard run in the third. And of course, Ryans had an interception/fumble on the play where he tore his Achilles’. He faces a long road of rehab in the coming months.

Mychal Kendricks – He looks to be all the way back from the calf injury. The coaches credited Kendricks with a team-high 11 tackles. He also had a sack/forced fumble. Kendricks came on a blitz, beat the RB and forced Fitzpatrick out of the pocket in the first. He helped bring Foster down after a 2-yard run in the first. Came on a blitz, beat Foster and got a sack/forced fumble in the first. Tackled Foster after a 4-yard run in the second. Kendricks combined with Cole to drop Blue for a 5-yard loss in the second. He and Ryans stopped Blue after a 1-yard run in the third. Kendricks tipped a Fitzpatrick pass on a blitz in the third. He sidestepped the running back and hit Fitzpatrick in the third. Kendricks was the Eagles’ most active defensive player.

Casey Matthews – He only played three snaps down the stretch, but will now be called on to fill in.

CORNERBACKS

Bradley Fletcher – Quite possibly his best game of the year. Fletcher tackled Foster after a 1-yard run in the first. He then dropped Foster for a 1-yard loss on another run play to his side. Fletcher was targeted on an incompletion near the sideline in the first. He did a great job of playing through Andre Johnson’s hands and breaking up a pass down the sideline in the third. Fletcher broke up another pass near the sideline later in the quarter. He shoved Johnson out of bounds for an incompletion on third down in the third. Fletcher gave up a couple of completions on comeback routes, but played well overall.

Cary Williams – He also played well. Williams gave up a 22-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins in the first, but his coverage was excellent. Hopkins just made a great catch. Williams was targeted on an incompletion down the sideline in the third. He was later on Johnson and targeted on another incompletion.

Brandon Boykin – Excellent job tackling Damaris Johnson short of the sticks on third down in the second. Boykin also tackled Foster on a run play in the third. I didn’t see him give anything else up in man coverage. But it looked like either he or Malcolm Jenkins was out of place on the Hopkins crosser that gained 45 yards. Davis took responsibility for the play after the game and said the blitz had to get there. I’ll ask the players about it today.

Nolan Carroll II – Solid game. He’ll likely play more with Ryans out and the Eagles using more dime. Carroll got turned around in coverage, but tackled Foster 1 yard short of the sticks on 3rd-and-8 in the first. He was blocked by an O-Lineman on Foster’s 3rd-and-18 run in the first. Other than that, he held up well

SAFETIES

Malcolm Jenkins – He has played well. Good job in run support on Foster’s 1-yard run early. Jenkins was beaten in man coverage on third down in the third right before the missed FG, but Fitzpatrick didn’t throw his way. He got a free rush at Fitzpatrick on a blitz in the red zone in the fourth, but ran right past the QB. Jenkins broke up a pass on the final drive.

Earl Wolff – Up and down performance filling in for Nate Allen. Good coverage on the tight end on a third-down incompletion in the first. The 21-yard crosser in the fourth looked like it was on him. Wolff did a poor job in zone coverage and then overran the play, allowing Hopkins to pick up YAC. Wolff also got beaten by Hopkins on the corner route that scored from 7 yards out. My guess is the starting job is still Allen’s when he gets healthy.