The Eagles beat the Redskins 30-17 on Sunday, getting the 2017 season off of to a great start. But more than just teams won and lost, some players had good games, others not at all.
The Eagles won, which automatically makes them winners, but more importantly they ended their five game losing streak against the Redskins. It wasn’t always pretty, and the Redskins are probably a pretty bad team, but a win against a division rival is a win against a division rival. There’s still 15 games to go, but this is a sign of progress.
The defensive line
Four sacks was just what was needed for a defensive line that wasn’t able to find that extra gear last year. And just as important, they gave up only 58 yards rushing on 2.4 yards per carry against a running game that embarrassed them last year. The tables got turned.
He lined up all over the field and caught 8 passes for 93 yards, and didn’t rack it up in garbage time. Five of his catches came in the first half, and four of them moved the sticks. Just a real nice, evenly productive game for Ertz, who hasn’t had a lot of them before December.
Another game against a division rival, another turnover. Hicks is the most underrated player on the Eagles, but that shouldn’t last.
The 5th 300+ yard game and 6th multi-touchdown game of his young career, once again getting his season off to a good start. Again he had to carry the offense, with 43 called passes to 20 rushing attempts, and he again kept his team in it. And let’s watch this one some more:
CARSON WENTZ ARE YOU KIDDING?! #FLYEAGLESFLY pic.twitter.com/l4In2oQQB5— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2017
*Wentz is going to need to play better moving forward though. The first pass of the game was a poor throw, the swing pass to Agholor was a great play call that should have been a TD but the throw wasn’t good enough, and later in the game he tried to force feed Jeffrey when others were open. Against a good defense that performance isn’t going to cut it. But he outdueled Kirk Cousins, a QB that quite a few people were saying is a better QB. That’s another sign of progress.
Despite the Eagles playing 0 games prior to Sunday, Pederson came under quite a bit of backlash. And while he didn’t have the greatest game (Doug, burn those screen passes), his team got a small monkey off their back (a guenon? let’s go with that), and the Eagles just looked like a better team. The offense converted on 57% of their third downs, spread the ball around as 8 players caught a pass, and opened up the playbook by moving Ertz all over the field (which he should have done last year). For the first time in three years, the Eagles outcoached the Redskins.
Kirk Cousins looked bad. The receivers looked bad. The running game looked bad. Jamison Crowder was supposed to be a difference maker in the game, he had 3 catches for 14 yards. The defense looked bad. And half the stadium was Eagles fans. It’s going to be a long season in Washington. You like that?
The running game
20 called runs for 52 yards. The longest run was 7 yards, by LeGarrette Blount, who had 3.3 yards per carry. The Redskins had a bad run defense last year, so there’s no curve to be graded on. The Eagles are going to struggle to run the ball again this year.
The 2017 draft
The Eagles made eight draft picks this year, and half of them were healthy scratches for this game. On one hand, you don’t want to rely on rookies. On the other, just two of six active rookies is very low, and it wasn’t like these guys were buried on the depth chart. Two players with 0 career games were dressed over draft picks at the same position (Corey Clement and Marcus Johnson played while Donnel Pumphrey and Shelton Gibson sat), and the team dressed just three cornerbacks and left two inactive, including 3rd rounder Rasul Douglas.