Eagles-Redskins Final Score: Eight Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Loss
The Philadelphia Eagles are now 3-2 after losing to the Washington Redskins on Sunday by a final score of 27 to 20. Here’s a look at eight things to be learned from this game.
1 – The bye week didn’t help the Eagles
Life was good for the Eagles. They had just blown out a potential Super Bowl contender to advance to 3-0. Then the Week 4 bye happened. Things haven’t been the same since. The Eagles look like a different team.
To put it simply, the Eagles haven’t played very good football. They’ve been sloppy. Last week they turned the ball over in critical situations. This week they took care of the football but missed a ton of tackles and committed way too many penalties.
Doug Pederson deserved a lot of praise for getting his team off to an impressive 3-0 start. Now he deserves criticism as the team has dropped two straight games.
2 – Penalties are a big problem
Just take a look at the numbers.
EAGLES PENALTIES BY WEEK
1 – 7 (46)
2 – 7 (60)
3 – 10 (99)
5 – 14 (111)
6 – 13 (114)
TOTAL: 51 for 430
Gotta be more disciplined.
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 16, 2016
What more can you say? The Eagles can’t keep hurting themselves and giving their opponents free yards like this and expect to win.
3 – Philadelphia’s defense is on the decline
Through the first three weeks of the season, Jim Schwartz’s unit allowed the fewest amount of points in the NFL (20). In two games since then, the Eagles’ defense has allowed 51 points. It’s safe to say the Birds aren’t trending in the right direction.
Philadelphia’s run defense was especially terrible against Washington. It’s surprising, too, because the Eagles were only allowing 3.9 yards per opponent rush attempt prior to this game. But, sure enough, Washington gashed the Eagles for 230 yards and one score on 33 attempts (7.0 average). The Eagles were hurt by the loss of Bennie Logan at times during the game, but his absence alone doesn’t solely explain their struggles. The Eagles lacked gap discipline at times and missed a lot of tackles.
Washington gained 493 yards of offense against Schwartz’s unit. So much for all that early talk of him being a head coach again.
4 – Lane Johnson’s absence is really going to hurt the Eagles
The drop-off from Johnson, who was playing great prior to his 10-game suspension, to rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai is huge. ‘Big V’ really struggled against Washington. Vaitai allowed three sacks to Ryan Kerrigan early on in the game.
It will be interesting to see if the Eagles stick with Vaitai or opt to shift Allen Barbre to right tackle and put Stefen Wisniewski at left guard.
5 – Carson Wentz needs more help
This was Wentz’s worst game of the season. The rookie quarterback only completed 11 of 22 attempts for 179 yards, zero touchdowns, and a 77.7 passer rating.
On a number of plays, Wentz struggled to make accurate passes. A number of his attempts were thrown high. This is an issue that was apparent during spring practices and training camp. Wentz also held on to the ball too long on a few occasions.
Wentz wasn’t a total disaster in this game, though. He still flashed some special ability. His amazing scramble and completion to Dorial Green-Beckham was impressive despite the fact the play got wiped out by a questionable block in the back penalty. Wentz’s deep pass to Jordan Matthews was right on the money for a 54-yard gain.
The Eagles can’t expect their 23-year-old passer to carry the offense every game. The rookie needs more help. Wentz got sacked five times. He had to deal with a number of drops yet again. Philadelphia only averaged 4.5 rushing yards against a Washington defense that had allowed a league-worst 5.1 per attempt heading into Week 6.
Getting Wentz better protection and better offensive weapons needs to be a long-term priority for the Birds.
6 – Fletcher Cox needs to be better
The Eagles need to get more out of their $100 million man. Cox had two hits on Cousins but he finished the game without a sack for the second time this year. In fairness to Cox, he’s not the only one to blame for Philadelphia’s poor pass rush. Cousins didn’t get sacked once in the entire game.
But Cox definitely needs to do a better job when it comes to penalties. He negated a defensive stop last week when he ripped off Matthew Stafford’s helmet on a would-be sack. Cox got called for roughing the passer against Washington on a play where the Eagles would have otherwise forced a field goal in the red zone. The Eagles need Cox to be better than that.
7 – Dave Fipp is still doing a good job
Here’s a small silver lining that most people won’t care about in a loss like this: the Eagles are still having success on special teams. Fipp’s units always performed well under Chip Kelly and that was the case against Washington.
Wendell Smallwood had a 86-yard kick return for a touchdown. Darren Sproles averaged 10.1 yards on three punt returns. Caleb Sturgis made all of his kicks. Donnie Jones had three of his six punts downed in the 20-yard line.
Philadelphia held Washington to 17.3 yards per kick return. The Eagles kept Jamison Crowder, who was leading the NFL in punt return average (27.7) before this game, to 13 yards on three tries.
8 – The Eagles’ struggles might continue
The bad news for the Eagles is that their schedule only gets tougher from here. Philadelphia returns home to face an undefeated Minnesota Vikings team coming off their bye. Then the Eagles have to play the Cowboys, also coming off their bye, on the road in Week 8. The Birds need to fix their mistakes and fix them fast or else this season could really get away from them.