Despite the tie, there are many positives to take away from the Eagles’ Week 3 match-up against the Bengals. Carson Wentz showed flashes of his true capabilities. Miles Sanders looked great when Doug Pederson decided to hand him the ball. Jake Elliott, although not allowed to attempt the 64-yard game-winner in overtime, was excellent. However, one of the most significant showings of the weekend came from the Eagles’ defensive line via Brandon Graham.
After two weeks of silence, the unit came to life, totaling 6.5 sacks and dominating a lackluster Bengals’ offensive line. However, one name stood out in particular, that being Brandon Graham. Graham, a veteran on the Eagles’ d-line, looked to make an impact on a unit in need of a spark. Boy, did he ever. Graham’s performance was critical to the Eagles’ avoiding the 0-3 hole, and for that, he is this weeks Eagles’ Defensive Player of the Week.
The Brandon Graham Show
The Eagles’ made sure to make first overall pick Joe Burrow uncomfortable on Sunday. The rookie took plenty of hits, multiple coming from Graham. Totaling two sacks, Graham seemed to be in the backfield all day. Whether he was forcing an early throw from Burrow or planting him in the turf. On a line where the pass rush has been virtually nonexistent, Graham’s performance was incredibly refreshing.
Graham’s monstrous day seemed to help elevate the rest of the d-line. Even perennial pro-bowler Fletcher Cox ended his day with a sack. Josh Sweat managed to get in on the act with an early sack while Derek Barnett racked up two more. Shoot, even safety Jalen Mills found himself with a sack and a half, bringing the Eagles’ total up to 8 on the day. It was an all-out assault on the young Bengals’ passer. After absorbing criticism over the last week, the Eagles’ defense stepped up big against Cincinnati, highlighted by strong d-line play.
Running into a Brick Wall
Joe Mixon was probably expecting less of a challenge. Amidst a few big runs here and there, Mixon was mostly ineffective on the ground, totaling 49 yards on 17 carries. Whether or not you expected Philly to stand up to the run, the Eagles’ D mostly held their own against Cincy’s ground game. Brandon Graham, of course, was particularly exceptional.
Although he only racked up four tackles, Graham was disruptive. During a late fourth quarter Bengals’ drive, Cincinnati attempted to run a sweep play snuffed out by BG. Although the play didn’t count as the Bengals were penalized, it went to show just how disruptive Graham was during the game. He didn’t have to fill up the stat sheet. His presence was felt play after play with his relentless motor and nose for the football. Hopefully, Graham can consistently play at this level because the Eagles’ defensive line is dangerous when he does.