Grades are great after battering of Bears

LeSean McCoy makes Chicago cornerback Isaiah Frey miss on a first-quarter gallop. A week after getting just 38 yards on eight carries, McCoy had a bear of a game, rushing for 133 yards and two TDs on 18 attempts.
LeSean McCoy makes Chicago cornerback Isaiah Frey miss on a first-quarter gallop. A week after getting just 38 yards on eight carries, McCoy had a bear of a game, rushing for 133 yards and two TDs on 18 attempts. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 25, 2013

Position-by-position grading of the Eagles after their 54-11 win over the Bears on Sunday, focusing on one player at each spot:

OFFENSE

Quarterback - A+

Nick Foles executed Chip Kelly's offense flawlessly. Only one of his 25 passes did not connect with an open receiver and it could be argued that Brent Celek dropped the lofted screen pass. The other incomplete passes were two that were thrown out of the back of the end zone to avoid sacks and one tossed into the ground at the feet of DeSean Jackson to avoid pressure.

Foles had several impressive throws, including a 5-yard bullet to Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone for the opening touchdown, a 27-yard pass to Zach Ertz as he bought time out of the pocket, a 16-yard strike to Cooper on third and 10, a 10-yard out to Jackson on third and 7, and a 32-yard hookup with Cooper down the seam.

He threw a number of screen passes to LeSean McCoy that enabled the back to get a running start. He took two sacks, one on which he held the ball too long, but once again avoided turnovers. It was arguably Foles' best game of the season, maybe even better than his seven-touchdown performance against the woeful Raiders.

Running back - A+

McCoy was brilliant once again, but Bryce Brown busted out for his biggest game of the season. The backup running back was held to 1 yard on his first three carries but picked up 114 yards on his final six. Even when he wasn't picking up big gains, he stayed north-to-south on his carries. Brown slipped through a crevice for 15 yards in the third, he slipped out of a low tackle and rushed for 18 yards in the fourth, and he capped the Eagles' rout with a 65-yard touchdown run through a gaping hole on the right.

Wide receiver - A

Eagles wide receivers were relatively quiet, but mostly because Foles didn't need to throw downfield much and because the running game was so effective. The downfield blocking, overall, was very good, though. And Cooper made a nice catch for his touchdown and made his two other receptions in traffic.

Tight end - A

Brent Celek should be included in any praise the Eagles' blockers receive for their run blocking. He was effective in sealing off the backside on a number of rushes. As a receiver, Celek caught three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. He pulled in a low pass for 24 yards, ran a little inside-out route for a 10-yard score, and reached out for a 24-yard grab in the third. Celek fumbled after the last catch.

Line - A+

The Bears' rushing defense entered the game ranked last in the NFL and lived down to the ranking. But the Eagles' offensive line was excellent in the running game and mostly in pass protection. Center Jason Kelce, left tackle Jason Peters and left guard Evan Mathis were dominant and all three should receive Pro Bowl consideration. But right guard Todd Herremans has come on strong after a slow start this season. He had another great run-blocking game. He kicked out and blocked the safety on McCoy's first carry for 19 yards and had the key block on McCoy's first 1-yard touchdown run. He was effective on screens but had trouble when a linebacker sniffed out a third-quarter pass to McCoy.

DEFENSE

Line - A

Eagles coaches credited Cedric Thornton with only two tackles, but one was for a safety after he tripped up Matt Forte in the end zone. Thornton also had the initial pressure on Trent Cole's second sack.

Outside linebackers - A

Cole recorded three sacks in a game for the first time since Dec. 11, 2011, against the Dolphins. He had only three sacks in all of last season. His first takedown occurred on the Bears' first drive when he ran over Forte en route to Jay Cutler. He rushed from a standup position and dove at Cutler's feet for the second sack. Cole looped inside to get Cutler for a third time in the third quarter.

Inside linebackers - B+

Mychal Kendricks had a split-personality game. He was great as a pass rusher and against the run but struggled in pass protection against tight end Martellus Bennett. Kendricks was targeted six times and allowed five catches for 57 yards. Bennett beat him downfield for a 30-yard catch. His first sack came when he shook off Forte. His second occurred after he turned the corner and ran down Cutler.

Cornerbacks - A

Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher rebounded nicely from the Vikings game and Brandon Boykin shook off last week's concussion and had an all-around solid game. He was targeted five times and allowed only three catches for 27 yards. Boykin recorded his team-leading fifth interception and returned it 54 yards for a score.

Safeties - B+

Patrick Chung had his best game in some time. It wasn't as much that he didn't make visible mistakes, it was that he actually came up and made plays. He had solid coverage on Bennett when Cutler short-hopped a throw. He teamed up with Williams to double Marshall on a deep pass., and he assisted against the run and came up to drop Forte in the fourth.

SPECIAL TEAMS - A

Alex Henery was effective with his high, directional kicks that landed between the goal line and the 10. Henery also booted a 49-yard field goal. Fletcher's forced fumble on Devin Hester's second return stuck a fork in the Bears.

STAT SHEET

Nick Foles needs a perfect passer rating (158.3) against the Cowboys on Sunday to improve his NFL-best rating from 118.8 to 122.6 and top Aaron Rodgers' NFL record. The Packers quarterback finished with a 122.5 rating in 2011.

The Eagles' 418 points this season are third in team history and are just 21 points shy of the team record (439 in 2010). They Eagles have compiled 6,308 net yards this season, which is also second in team history (6,386 in 2011).

In the Eagles' nine wins, they are plus-16 in turnover margin. They are minus-6 in their six losses.

jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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