The Eagles defense coupled with Desean Jackson combined to beat the Skins in a game that was never really in doubt after the first few moments of the game. On just the 4th play from scrimmage Desean Jackson took an end around 67 yards to the house. From that point, the Eagles defense took over. At the end of the first quarter, the newest Eagle Will Witherspoon picked off a tipped pass and returned it for a TD to put the Birds up 14-0.
Jackson would add another big play TD when he streaked past the Washington secondary and caught a Donovan McNabb pass for a 57 yard TD. Desean Jackson became the first Eagle to have a 50+ yard rush TD & a 50+ yard receiving TD in a game since Bosh Pritchard did it in 1949. The Eagles went on to win their first championship that year... In all, Jackson finished with 167 all purpose yards with 2 TDs and a 29 yard punt return thrown in for good measure.
As good as Jackson was, the Eagles defense was probably the real star of the night. They forced 4 turnovers, racked up 6 sacks, stifled the Redskins run game, and held their 5th team in 6 games to under 20 points. A defensive performance like that is going to give you a chance to win any game.
Tonight's win pulls the Eagles to within a half game of the NFC East lead.
More after the jump
The Eagles offense didn't answer many questions tonight. We know the Eagles have some explosive weapons and are capable of breaking off big plays. We've known that... What we don't know is if they can establish the run, if the offense line can play consistently, and if they can move the ball methodically. They really didn't do any of those things. The big plays were great, but we can't live on big plays alone.
I thought Donovan McNabb struggled again tonight. He was better than last week, but certainly not at the top of his game. The inconsistency of the offensive line surely played a part in that, but McNabb showed a lot of the same inaccuracy we saw from him last week.
The Eagles' inability to run the ball was painful to watch tonight. Unlike last week, they actually tried to run the ball a bit this time around but never really got anything going. If you take out the Desean Jackson end around, the Eagles had 55 yards rushing on 26 attempts. LeSean McCoy, who got the majority of the snaps in the absence of the injured Westbrook, really had no shot to make anything happen tonight. There were a number of times that he was hit a half second after getting the ball. I don't know what they can to fix this offensive line, but it's just not good enough.
Speaking of Brian Westbrook, he took a knee to the head which knocked him out of the game with a concussion. He did later return to the sidelines and seemed ok, but his status for next week could be in doubt.
What a debut for Will Witherspoon huh? He gets a sack, a forced fumble, a pick, and a TD to go along with his 6 tackles. If this was any indication of what he'll do for the rest of the year, this looks like a fantastic midseason pickup.
Bottom line is that any win on the road in the NFC East is a good win. The Eagles offense has room to grow for sure... but they went out and handled a Redskins team that has really given them trouble over the past couple years. This was the start of a run of several tough division games and it started off well. Tonight was a positive.
Next week the Eagles meet the suddenly struggling Giants in Philadelphia for the lead in the NFC East.