ReFo: Jaguars @ Eagles, Week 1
Every team in the league is aiming to get off to a fast start in Week 1 and it often leads to some fascinating encounters. What we saw when the Jacksonville Jaguars traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles was a game of two halves, with the Eagles looking completely out of sorts in the first half, before turning it around to pull away late in the game.
The Jaguars started the game strong and, forcing the Eagles into some early mistakes, found themselves 17-0 to the good midway through the second quarter. They weren’t able to force any mistakes in the second half, however, and, with their offensive line struggling against the Eagles’ defensive front, things almost got out of hand near the end.
In the end, the Jaguars showed that they could compete with a team like the Eagles, with a couple of big plays skewing the scoreboard, but the aim for both of these teams going forward will be to put together a complete performance instead of just a half. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at three players who stood out for either team.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Performances of Note
Allen Hurns, WR: +2.4
Breakdown: It doesn’t get much better than starting off your career with your first two catches going for scores, but that’s exactly what the undrafted free agent out of Miami did yesterday. Adding another long reception when the Jaguars were backed up at their own 1-yard line, Hurns finished the game with four receptions for 101 yards.
Signature Stat: Chad Henne had a Quarterback Rating of 135.4 on the eight passes where he targeted Hurns.
Jacques McClendon, C: -8.0
Breakdown: It was a rough start at center for McClendon, who has shown himself to be a capable guard in the past, with the 2010 fourth-round pick grading in the red as a run blocker, in pass protection and committing two penalties. Eagles nose tackle Bennie Logan got the better of him on a few occasions, pushing him around in the running game.
Signature Stat: McClendon had a Pass Blocking Efficiency rating of 96.7, giving up two pressures from 46 pass blocking snaps.
Dwayne Gratz, CB: +2.6
Breakdown: After flashes some quality play as a rookie a year ago, Gratz got 2014 off to the best possible start with a strong showing in coverage. Targeted four times, he gave up just the one 11-yard reception, while breaking up a pass along the way.
Signature Stat: Gratz allowed an average of just 0.23 Yards Per Coverage Snap.
Philadelphia Eagles – Performances of Note
Fletcher Cox, DE: +4.2
Breakdown: Cox enjoyed a particularly strong showing in the first half of his rookie year and, after getting off course late in 2013, he looked back to his best yesterday. Too strong for the Jaguars’ offensive line to handle in the running game, he added a hit on the QB as a pass rusher and returned a Chad Henne fumble for a touchdown to cap off his day.
Signature Stat: With all four of his tackles against the run resulting in a defensive stop, he finished the game with a Run Stop Percentage of 21.1%.
Nick Foles, QB: -4.4
Breakdown: Poor ball security and poor decision making marred the season opener for the Eagles’ signal-caller. While his play last year wasn’t quite as good as the hype, he’s a much better quarterback than he showed in this game. He improved later in the game, but too often early on he was just off target.
Signature Stat: The Eagles’ quarterback had an Accuracy Percentage of 65.1%; he finished last season at 74.2%
Brandon Graham, OLB: +5.6
Breakdown: Seeing just 26 snaps as a reserve for the Eagles, Graham made the most of them, making a nuisance of himself for the Jacksonville offensive line when he was on the field. With four tackles resulting in defensive stops, and two quarterback hurries, he stood out when he got his chance to shine.
Signature Stat: Playing just seven snaps against the run, and racking up those four tackles for stops, Graham had a Run Stop Percentage of 57.1%.
PFF Game Ball
Though he didn’t see as many snaps as you’d like, Brandon Graham stood out once again and it does make you wonder just how good he could be if he was given a bigger role as part of the Eagles’ defense.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon