At one point, the Eagles were 10-3 down. Two offensive possessions later and they’re 10-17 up. That doesn’t happen by chance…but it nearly didn’t happen at all. It’s been a rollercoaster first half for the Eagles, but here’s all you need to know.
The Eagles lost Jordan Hicks to an injury on just the second play of the game. Nigel Bradham, Joe Walker, and Najee Goode are now the linebackers on the field for Philadelphia, but the middle of the field has been exploited massively. Vernon Davis already has 62 yards while Jamison Crowder has 28. This is going to be a battle the Eagles again need to overcome knowing that Kendricks is inactive.
Penalties, penalties, penalties:
There may have been more flags than passing yards in the first half, or at least it felt that way. The Eagles were penalized four times on their opening drive ALONE and have lost a total of 36 yards due to flags. Some missed holds on Alshon and a balancing missed illegal hit from Derek Barnett just headline a messy, gritty first half for both teams.
A slow start:
After being backed up deep inside their own five yard line due to the aforementioned, the Eagles ended their first drive with a swing for the fences interception. On both sides of the ball, the Eagles seemed to struggle. The Defense was giving up deep ball after deep ball and the Offense was struggling to find any kind of consistency. Wentz threw for just 13 yards on 3 attempts in the first quarter…but luckily for the Birds, things began to change.
A late resurgence:
The Eagles burst into life in the second quarter offensively. Wentz took some big hits and made even bigger plays, connecting on a 62-yard score to Mack Hollins and a huge 46 yard pass to Zach Ertz inside the 2 minute warning who would later go on to score inside the five yard line. A three and out for the Redskins Offense after a massive play from Malcolm Jenkins gave the Eagles possession of the ball back with two minutes to go. Two scores in as many possessions, it took a while but the Eagles are finally rolling.
Smallwood’s big heart:
If there’s one player that kickstarted this offense into life it was Wendell Smallwood. With 27 yards on 7 carries, the second year running back ran HARD. Meeting defenders head on, pushing the pile and forcing himself downfield for extra yards, Smallwood’s intensity arguably lit the fire under this offense.
On Defense, it’s all about finishing. When the Eagles attack Kirk Cousins with blitzes, the Washington QB often throws incompletions…but when he does make the throw, receivers are allowed to run free all too often. There have been way too many missed tackles and missed assignments (on the OL too) for the Eagles to build a comfortable lead and the discipline has to change moving into the second half.
. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports