Because games end after the first quarter
19 GAME WINNING STREAK STARTS RIGHT HERE BUSTER
How does 228/39, 313 yards, and 3 touchdowns sound to you, team? In his (second) return from injury, Wentz look far more like his 2017 self than his 2018. He broke the pocket and orchestrated chaos on late downs, threading tight needles and throwing across his body for tough completions. He put great balls on DeSean Jackson downfield for explosive scores. He protected the football and only took one sack. Wentz, on a one-game sample size, is back.
Cannot emphasize this strongly enough: the Eagles probably don’t win this game if not for the coaching of Doug Pederson. A critical fourth-and-short attempt from his own 34 (!!) yard line kept the ball rolling on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that pulled the Eagles within one possession; a 19-play, 9-minute drive with four third-down conversions kept the Redskins’ offense off the field and extended the Eagles’ two-possession lead to a two-touchdown lead.
In a week rife with coward coaching, Pederson’s gumption once again gave the Eagles life they wouldn’t have otherwise had. Go Birds.
HEY YOU REMEMBER THAT ONE TIME THAT DESEAN JACKSON WAS VERY GOOD AT FOOTBALL AND THEN CHIP KELLY TRADED HIM AWAY BECAUSE HE WASN’T SLEEPING ENOUGH OR SOME NONSENSE LIKE THAT.
DeSean is the best deep threat the Eagles have had since DeSean, and that clearly matters a lot: his deep touchdowns kept the Eagles within striking distance when the rest of the offense was spinning its wheels, and they reinvigorated the crowd as well. Still clearly with the goods, the season-long DeSean revenge tour kicked off with an absolute bang on Sunday morning.
Well, if the corner play is going to look like that every week, I can promise you that Jalen Mills will be starting the second he gets off the PUP list.
Go ahead and list Eagles defenders who played well yesterday that aren’t named Brandon Graham.
4/4 baby Jake Elliott ain’t never gonna miss again
The Washington Redskins
BECAUSE GAMES DON’T END AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER
The pass rush
Against an offensive line that we made a fair bit of a fun of in the preamble to this game, the Eagles’ fearsome pass rush fell surprisingly flat. Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jerningan, and Malik Jackson (when healthy) were surprisingly quiet against Ereck Flowers and Chase Roullier on the interior — Jernigan’s sack came on a twist — and neither Brandon Graham nor Derek Barnett got home often or in key situations. No reason to panic, but a disappointing performance overall
Don’t think I saw Rodney make a single play — tackle or otherwise. Fascinated to go back and watch the film, see if he’s fully back from injury, and how exactly the Eagles are using him and Sendejo in three-safety sets
Again, no reason to panic, but nothing to get super stoked about here. Ronald Darby turned interception into pass break-ups — not the way you’re supposed to do it — as his continued struggles in contested situations lingered. Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones both got toasted on deep routes, then had quality plays in shorter coverage. The Eagles need better play from their outside corners, and they need it quick.
I dunno what else we expected from Jim Schwartz, who came out running the exact same defense he’s ran for three years in Philly, and had the exact same problems with it. They gave up quick third down routes with massive cushion on the outside. They gave up an end-of-half field goal by playing sticks defense and allowing the Redskins back into range. And corners on islands got burned by Scary Terry McLaurin on deep routes when the pass rush couldn’t get home.
Schwartz is a good defensive coordinator, and like a lot of good coordinators, cleaves just as strongly to his bad ideas as he does his good ones. Schwartz’s corners will always play 8 yards off and want for safety help; that will always cause problems.
Running Back By Committee
As was to be expected in Week 1 of a new-look offense, the RBBC approach led to some head-scratching decisions. Jordan Howard was targeted on screens while Darren Sproles got short-yardage touches (I want to kill that power toss play with fire). Miles Sanders out-snapped everyone but failed to get much going outside of one 19-yard runway paved by the left side of the Eagles’ offensive line.
RBBC is here to stay, but the Eagles still have a ton of work to do in terms of keeping their players in rhythm, while figuring out who deserves which touches when.