That was not the season opener that fans were hoping to see. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, it felt like a dream start for the Eagles…until it wasn’t. The end result was an absolutely soul-crushing 27-17 loss. What went wrong?
Before we get to individual play and roll up our sleeves, the gameplan here was borderline shambolic. For the opening half, the Eagles kept a varied tone on offense, mixing play-action looks with a run-game that at least got half the job done without Miles Sanders. This was important. There was a lot of screens and shots to tight ends in the intermediate area of the field, which was crucial given that the Eagles were without Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, and Brandon Brooks, when matching up against that front four.
Then, the Eagles decided to launch nothing but long balls when playing from behind in the most ‘angry Madden player’ mentality I’ve ever seen. Carson Wentz couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo and the offensive line was giving up a ridiculous amount of pressure. Why then, was Pederson insistent on longer-developing plays and play-action looks that allowed Washington to sack Wentz 8 times (a career-high), and hit him 14?
It was an absurdity to not see Pederson adapt and relish in the short areas of the field, and instead double down on a plan that was throwing his already wobbly quarterback to the Lions. It was a poor showing from Doug Pederson.
Carson Wentz wasn’t great. He started out strong, tossing two touchdowns, moving like Houdini, and hitting playmakers like Jalen Reagor in stride and then something changed. Wentz was already misplacing the ball. Both Ertz and Goedert were victims of very low passes, but the NDSU product then became uncharacteristically sporadic.
Wentz was unrelenting in launching the ball downfield, but was missing in every which way and forcing it into some very scary windows as we’ve come to expect when the cards start stacking against him.
He may have been responsible for the first 17 points, but he was also a huge reason for every point scored by Washington.
Hello darkness, my old friend
Is it really an Eagles game if there isn’t an abundance of injuries? Brandon Graham exited the game with a probable concussion, Boston Scott had to leave early, and even Vinny Curry was taken inside. The Eagles are already backed up against the wall and it’s only been a week.
An Eagles O-line bodge job
The Eagles’ offensive line had more holes than Augusta golf course. Going up against such a scary front-seven was always going to be problematic for a unit missing three of its five starters, but things went from bad to terrible pretty quickly. There was no push in the run game, guys like Jack Driscoll, Matt Pryor, and Nate Herbig were all expected to hold their own and were found wanting, while Jordan Mailata’s first taste of NFL action went as expected.
The worst part is, there isn’t much the Eagles can do now. The season is here, no moves have been made. They just have to wait out the injury storm and hope for the best. Oh, and not expose Carson Wentz and the O-line by constantly running play-action against a front-seven that tenacious.
On the plus side…
It has to be said, the Eagles’ secondary looked sharp. Terry McLaurin was held to 61 yards and out of the endzone after a fine performance from Darius Slay, while Avonte Maddox played excellently. The secondary rallied to four passes defensed. Rodney Mcleod also enjoyed a truly stellar game.
A lot of eyes were fixed on the linebackers and they all stood out. Nate Gerry led the team in tackles and Duke Riley flashed on several occasions.
T.Y McGill registered a sack. Defensive tackle depth is strong, which is great considering how this season already looks to be going.
There aren’t a lot of positives to take from today, but they’re all on defense…apart from one.
Jalen Reagor, who was questionable all week, left fans purring with a huge 55-yard reception. Had Carson Wentz not missed him on three more occasions, he could’ve enjoyed one of the most explosive rookie debuts in recent memory. Reagor bombs are a thing and the future is bright.
For now though, let’s all listen to songs that make us sad and pretend this never happened.
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire