Doug Pederson’s first divisional game as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles left a lot to be desired. The birds had their flaws exposed on both sides of the ball, but were there any redeeming factors in such a tough loss?
It’s easy to discredit Carson Wentz for his inaccurate throws, questionable decision making and reluctance to throw the ball down the field early on..but considering he was hit eleven times and sacked five, his game management was impressive.
Wentz didn’t turn the ball over despite constant pressure and even though he took a bad sack and his pocket awareness seemed to dwindle, it was rare to see him make an error that put his team in trouble. The high throws and inaccurate passes stung the Offense, but he’s a rookie quarterback and is going to make mistakes..the lack of said mistakes is what stood about here opposed to his lack of success.
The Eagles were held to under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season, but there was a small positive. Mathews averaged 6.7 yards per carry which was a welcome bonus, but finally Doug Pederson began spreading the ball around. Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner both saw carries as the rotation began to balance..the only problem is that an inefficient Offensive line partnered with some questionable playcalls made life difficult for the running backs.
The Redskins had the 4th worst run D in the league coming into this week and the Eagles were unable to take advantage of that..but seeing the carries shared among the Eagles committee was a welcome sight.
The less said about the line, the better. Five sacks, constant hurries and eleven hits on Wentz is unacceptable. Big V’s baptism of fire turned into an inferno very quickly..and the rest of the line seemed to struggle in opening the run game and supporting the fifth round pick.
It wasn’t all bad, but a negligence to take Big V out of the game in favor of Allen Barbre and moving Wisniewski to LG arguably cost the Eagles a lot of Offensive momentum..who ended spending nearly an entire quarter on the sidelines.
The time of possession favored the Redskins heavily and the Offensive line was unable to protect Wentz consistently to help change the momentum. Lane Johnson’s absence was always going to hurt..but like most heartbreaks, you don’t know what you miss until it’s gone.
The Eagles still tallied a total of 179 receiving yards, but drops plagued the unit once again. DGB made a great 23-yard catch before Matthews finally sent some life into the Offense with a beautiful 54-yard catch, the Eagles longest of the season.
Zach Ertz meanwhile was near invisible in the first half before dropping a pass that would have likely turned into a walk-in touchdown. Not that it was on him..but Ertz had a much quieter day than needed.
High passes and inaccuracies didn’t help the unit, but the drops and inability to create separation really showed when Wentz had such limited amounts of time to get the ball out. The receivers didn’t have a bad day..but they stood in their own way and prevented an average game becoming a very good one.
The Eagles Defensive line couldn’t get to Kirk Cousins at all on Sunday, hitting him just twice and failing to bring him down. The unit couldn’t stop the running game and when Fletcher Cox is being flagged for penalties, it only helps the Redskins.
There was a lack of explosiveness to the D-Line and the in-game absence of Bennie Logan really showed after being sidelined with a groin injury, of which the MRI results should be revealed today. Destiny Vaeao fell victim to a penalty and Brandon Graham was kept unusually quiet.
A rare Marcus Smith sighting set up the Malcolm Jenkins pick-six, but beyond that it was a dismal day for the D-line.
This was very much a balancing act. Mychal Kendricks missed more tackles and Stephen Tulloch seemed lost at times, while Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks combined for a total of 18 tackles and a pass deflection.
Hicks and Bradham were forced into coverage looks much more often against the Redskins, but luckily for them it’s where their strength lies..unlike Kendricks who seemed lost at the best of times when on the field.
It was a tough day for the Eagles and plays like the Cousins scramble for a first down and the Vernon Davis TD that could have easily been prevented by Nigel Bradham hurt that much more.
From Carroll to Mills, the corners were consistently burned by the Redskins explosive corps. DeSean Jackson showed that he can still make the lives of corners incredibly difficult while an injury left the Eagles with two cornerbacks at one stage, meaning Malcolm Jenkins was having to play in the slot.
Again, the cornerbacks were left without lifelines..and for the second time in a row, the flaws were exposed. Comeback routes against Jalen Mills moved the chains while deep shots made Jordan Reed’s absence irrelevant.
The cornerbacks were relied on against the Redskins and came up incredibly short..but like always, we will focus more on this in our cornerback grades and analysis All-22.
Rodney McLeod continued to show that he’s the unsung hero of the Eagles Defense while Malcolm Jenkins struggled until a pick six salvaged his game.
McLeod led the team in tackles with his services being required all over the field, while Jenkins flashed in places and failed to show up in others. But the tandem of Jenkins and McLeod is definitely one of the bright spots of this Eagles roster..and the addition of Jaylen Watkins in dark moments is just as important.
The Safety position was probably the best on the field against the Redskins..preventing a 7 point deficit becoming a much heavier one.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports