Eagles stock up, stock down after Week 5 win over Panthers: Darius Slay soars after standout performance

Written by on October 11, 2021

The Philadelphia Eagles certainly didn’t turn in the prettiest performance in Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers, even though they earned the win. Philadelphia’s defense responded after back-to-back abysmal weeks, allowing just 16 points and 267 yards with three takeaways — as Carolina averaged just 3.8 yards per play (4.0 yards per pass attempt). 

Jalen Hurts rushed for two touchdowns in the final 16 minutes to help the Eagles snap a three-game losing streak, capping off what once seemed to be a comeback that was never going to happen with the way the offense was moving the ball through three quarters. The win was far from convincing, but the Eagles are 2-3 through five games — and have the Tampa bay Buccaneers coming into town in three days. 

Philadelphia’s defense has been on blast the past few weeks, but a lot of praise went around the unit in Sunday’s win. Buying stock prior to the Panthers game would have cashed in, as evident in this week’s Eagles stock report. 

Stock up

Darius Slay

Slay earned the nickname “Big Play Slay” against the Panthers, finishing with two interceptions on the afternoon — his first multi-interception game since 2017. Slay also had two pass breakups in the game, as the Eagles had him shadow D.J. Moore in most of the contest. Moore was held to just five catches for 42 yards by the Eagles defense in the game.

Slay had the first multi-interception game for an Eagles cornerback since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in Week 1 of the 2012 season, ending a long drought for Philadelphia cornerbacks. 

Steve Nelson

Nelson’s first interception with the Eagles couldn’t have come at a better time. With a defensive stop essentially sealing the victory, Nelson jumped Sam Darnold’s pass to Robby Anderson and picked off the pass with 1:57 left. This occurred just two plays after Nelson allowed a third-and-15 completion to extend the Carolina drive. 

Nelson also had two pass breakups on the day. A strong day overall for Eagles cornerbacks. 

Javon Hargrave

What else can be said about Javon Hargrave at this point? Another sack brings Hargrave’s total on the season to six, the first Eagles defensive tackle with that many sacks through five games in franchise history. 

Hargrave is the only defensive tackle since 1987 (when tackles became an official stat) to have 24 tackles and six sacks within the first five games of a season. He’s been that good. 

Fletcher Cox

Cox finally earned his first sack of the season, getting the one-on-one matchup he needed because the Panthers had to worry about Hargrave beating them inside. Cox finished with a sack and two quarterback hits, making a difference on this Eagles defense Sunday. 

Quez Watkins

Watkins provided the big play a dormant and inept Eagles offense needed, securing a 53-yard grab late in the third quarter that sparked the Eagles comeback. The Eagles called Watkins to run a X-Post and the second-year speedstar ran the route perfectly for the big completion. 

The Eagles scored their first touchdown of the game two plays later, cutting Carolina’s lead to 15-13 heading into the fourth quarter. Watkins finished with three catches for 48 yards, but that 53-yard catch may have saved the Eagles season. 

T.J. Edwards

Edwards had the block on the punt that gave the Eagles excellent field position late in the fourth quarter — and ultimately set up the winning touchdown. The block gave Philadelphia the ball at Carolina’s 27-yard line and the Jalen Hurts ran in for the winning touchdown four plays later. 

A miss on the block by Edwards would have given Carolina a first down and an opportunity to extend the drive and run more clock down. Instead, he recorded Philadelphia’s first blocked punt since Kamu Grugier-Hill had one back in Week 15 of the 2017 season. 

Jalen Hurts 

Sunday wasn’t Hurts’ finest performance, but he earned the first fourth quarter comeback of his career in just his ninth career start. On the Eagles’ final four possessions, Hurts finished 5 of 10 for 105 yards with five carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns — and a two-point conversion pass to DeVonta Smith to lead Philadelphia to victory. 

Hurts has a lot of things to work on — and Nick Sirianni has to help him by running the football more — but great quarterbacks find ways to win football games. He was able to accomplish that Sunday when having the opportunity. 

Stock down

Miles Sanders 

Even when Sanders gets opportunities, he blows his chances to prove why he deserves the football. The Eagles were trying to run out the clock and seal the win with under two minutes to play, giving the ball to Sanders. Twice Sanders failed to run out of bounds, saving the Panthers from burning timeouts at the end of the game.

The Eagles benched Sanders for Kenny Gainwell, who was able to keep the clock running. Sanders led the Eagles with 11 carries for 45 yards, but the lack of awareness in situational football may be way he doesn’t get the touches the Eagles should be giving him — or that’s at least part of the reason. 

Jalen Reagor

Just a bad game from Reagor overall. On the first series of the game, Reagor dropped the first pass attempt thrown to him and committed a holding penalty that led the Eagles to go three-and-out. He took a kick return deep in the end zone and didn’t come close to the 25-yard line, pinning the Eagles deep in their own territory. On the next play, Jason Kelce had a high snap that led to a safety. 

Reagor finished with three catches for 24 yards in the game. The Eagles wanted to get him involved in the offense early, but he just wasn’t the difference maker this franchise hoped he’d be when they used a first-round pick on him. No reason to completely give up on Reagor, but he has to start performing soon. 

Greg Ward

Ward’s offensive pass interference penalty took a touchdown off the board for the Eagles — and he didn’t even need to go near the defensive back he committed the penalty on. Smith was wide open for the score and all Ward had to do was stay out of the way.

Wondering why Ward is on the team is a fair observation. He’s just made too many mistakes in the red zone this year for the Eagles warranting him snaps. The problem — does JJ Arcega-Whiteside deserve playing time over Ward? 

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