The Philadelphia Eagles marched into their third consecutive road game on Sunday, traveling to Orchard Park to face the Buffalo Bills. After dropping the first two games away from home, the Eagles left the Bills beaten and battered, blowing Buffalo out by a score of 31-13.
The Eagles trailed 7-3 at the two-minute warning of the first half. The Bills had all of their timeouts and a short third down inside their own 30-yard line. Veteran defensive end Brandon Graham (six tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss) stripped quarterback Josh Allen as the second-year man ran on a designed sweep. Graham recovered the fumble, the Eagles scored, and it was all downhill from there for Buffalo.
How did our five Eagles to watch fare on Sunday? Pretty great.
QB Carson Wentz
The young veteran was efficient, not flashy, in leading his squad to a big-time road victory. Wentz navigated the bad weather quite well, hitting on a 38-yard pass with the wind at his back to Alshon Jeffery on Philadelphia’s third play from scrimmage after halftime. (Side note: The Eagles’ first three plays after halftime went as follows—Jordan Howard two-yard run, Miles Sanders 65-yard touchdown run, Alshon Jeffery 38-yard reception. That’s how you come out after halftime). Wentz threw a touchdown pass to end the first half, as well, when he hit tight end Dallas Goedert for a five-yard score. Wentz also was instrumental in Philadelphia’s back-breaking, 14-play, 83-touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to seal the game. He converted two third downs with his legs and another with his arm. On the day, Wentz was 17-of-24 for 172 yards and one touchdown pass, adding eight rushes for 35 yards overall.
TE Zach Ertz
The star tight end was a forgotten man again, as he only caught two passes for 20 yards on the day. One of those passes was a huge 18-yard catch on the aforementioned fourth-quarter drive that sealed the game. Ertz was only targeted four times on the day—one less than his position mate Goedert, whose pedestrian line (three catches, 23 yards, one TD) was still better than what Ertz managed to do.
WR Alshon Jeffery
The big wideout had a big day, boosted by the 38-yard catch on a slant-and-go to start Philly’s second drive after intermission. Bills cornerback Levi Wallace bit hard on Jeffery’s slant move, and Wentz dropped a beauty in to the sure-handed veteran. Jeffery’s size posed a problem for Buffalo, as he managed to haul in four passes for 64 yards, both game-highs. Jeffery saw six targets in the swirling wind, and he was Wentz’s top target on the wild-weather day.
DE Derek Barnett
The big edge rusher was constantly in Buffalo’s offensive backfield, as he harassed Josh Allen all day. He was only able to make one tackle and notch half a sack, but he also had three QB hits on the afternoon, which led the Eagles on a day where they had 11 total hits on Allen. Barnett was called for a personal foul penalty on Buffalo’s first touchdown drive, but the foul should have been called on Malcolm Jenkins, as it was actually the defensive back who went helmet-to-helmet on Allen. The foul has since been changed to reflect that in the box score.
CB Ronald Darby
Statistically speaking, Darby’s day wasn’t much to write home about. He made two tackles and broke up one pass. However, that one pass breakup was a big one, as he was the corner who kept Buffalo from converting a 4th-and-10 after the Bills had recovered a Boston Scott fumble on a punt return. John Brown had a step on Darby, as he ran a deep cross route, but Darby was able to beat him to the ball at the six-yard line. Had Darby not been able to break up the pass, Brown probably scores, the Bills pull to within three (or four, if Stephen Hauschka were to miss another extra point), and who knows what happens. Brown said that he ran his route poorly, saying that he should have run it “flatter.” Either way, Darby was there to keep him from making a big play.