There are a lot of factors that contributed to the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent loss to the Washington Redskins with the immediate accusations being pointed at Caleb Sturgis, a woeful Offensive line and the lack of running game. But is there another factor we’re overlooking?
Coming into this game, the Eagles had the best Defense in the league when it came to stopping the run and for the most part, the unit lived up to the expectation if you take away the 42 yard rush from Chris Thompson. But when it comes to defending the pass, the Eagles have been inconsistent.
Recently, big plays from Eric Rowe, Nolan Carroll, Jordan Hicks and Malcolm Jenkins have cut out any X-Plays from forming and all of those names stepped up yet again today..but that isn’t the problem. Early on, the Eagles lost both Brandon Bair and Mychal Kendricks before Fletcher Cox joined them on the sidelines later in the game.
That meant that in terms of linebackers, the Eagles were without Alonso and Kendricks..on the line Brandon Bair who was standing in for Cedric Thornton was now out and for a brief interval they were without Fletcher Cox.
So partner that with the fact that the Eagles Defense was on the field for 41 minutes and you start to see why the game tilted early on..but the problems weren’t coming from the secondary.
During those 41 minutes, the Defense picked up just one sack and hit the Quarterback twice. There were instances where Kirk Cousins escaped the pocket and was able to run out of bounds to safety and to put it simply, the Eagles were not pressuring the Quarterback enough. Cousins ended the game 31/46 for 290 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown. Cousins was without his main target DeSean Jackson and had thrown 4 interceptions across his opening three games..but the Eagles were unable to capitalise on this.
The team were fantastic against the run, but with no pass rush and both starting corners hurt, every run almost became a blessing that the Eagles could prevent a big play. The secondary took a big hit when they lost Maxwell early on and with a rookie in his spot, they could have used some help from the pass rush..but it was non existent. Every play was Cousins vs the secondary and surprisingly the secondary held on for a 90 yard drive that took up almost an entire quarter, not to mention the rest of the game.
The ONLY positive to come out of the game was a stripped ball from Brandon Graham that led to a Jordan Hicks fumble recovery. Both players contributed greatly in tackles but when it came to the pass rush..again they were almost invisible.
There was no pressure on Cousins at all tonight, and whilst you can point the finger at the slow starting Offense, a weak Offensive Line or a kicker who misfired not once but twice, costing them a game winning amount of points but if you cannot pressure an inconsistent Quarterback or even touch him for the most part, then surely the pass rushers have to accept part of the blame.