Eagles-Washington Instant Observations

Notes on Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox and more.

Darren Sproles and Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

Darren Sproles and Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles (5-8) fell to Washington (7-5-1), 27-22, and have now lost all four of their NFC East games. Here’s what we saw:

OFFENSE

*Doug Pederson did a good job of setting up his rookie quarterback with several quick, easy throws to start the game. Carson Wentz got into a rhythm early on, completing 32 of his 46 pass attempts for 314 yards and an 86.7 passer rating. However, Wentz threw his seventh interception in four games as he threw a pick in the end zone in the first quarter. The rookie tried to hit Zach Ertz on a quick slant, but it was both a bad decision and a bad throw by Wentz. The quarterback did find Darren Sproles open in the corner of the end zone just before the second quarter ended, however, for a four-yard touchdown pass.

*Two plays before Wentz’s interception, Jordan Matthews cost the Eagles a touchdown. Wentz threw a beautiful ball to the corner of the end zone, and Matthews failed to tap his right foot down in bounds after dragging his left foot. It wasn’t the easiest play to make, but it was a good example of what people mean when they say Wentz doesn’t get much help from his receivers.

*Allen Barbre exited the game in the third quarter due to injury, which really cost the Eagles at the end of the game. Matt Tobin, the Eagles’ fourth-string right tackle, gave up a game-ending strip-sack to Ryan Kerrigan with less than 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

*Zach Ertz was Wentz’s leading receiver, hauling in a season-high 112 yards on a season-high 10 catches. Matthews led the Eagles’ receivers with eight catches for 79 yards, while Trey Burton added seven receptions for 65 yards.

*Ryan Mathews led the Eagles in rushing with 60 yards on 15 carries, as the Birds totaled 95 yards on 26 rushes for 3.7 yards per carry.

DEFENSE

*The Eagles’ defense got some help from their offense as Philadelphia held the ball for nearly 37 minutes, giving them a 14-minute edge in time of possession. However, the Birds struggled to stop the run as they allowed 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries for an average of 4.7 yards per rush. Kirk Cousins only completed 14 of his 21 pass attempts, but he threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns for a 116 passer rating.

*After a rough few weeks, Leodis McKelvin was very productive in the first quarter, recording two pass breakups on third down. In his previous three games, he had just one pass deflection. Jalen Mills played in the slot for the first time in several weeks, as Jim Schwartz moved Malcolm Jenkins around and had the safety occasionally cover Jordan Reed.

*McKelvin gave up an 80-yard touchdown catch to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter with no safety help over the top. Jackson made an impressive adjustment on a poorly thrown ball deep down the field, and he finished the game with 3 catches for 102 yards and a score.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/808035643980820480

*But in the fourth quarter, McKelvin made up for Jackson’s touchdown by getting one of his own. He undercut Jackson along the right sideline and returned the pick-six 29 yards.

*Nolan Carroll gave up a 15-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon, who quickly created separation on his fade route in the third quarter.

*Fletcher Cox ended his streak of eight consecutive games without a sack as he brought Cousins down in the second quarter. Cox also recorded a half-sack along with Bennie Logan in the third quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS

*Ertz’s illegal block above the waist penalty negated Sproles’ 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Birds punted the ball after four plays on the ensuing drive.

*After Jon Dorenbos exited the game with a right wrist injury, Brent Celek became the long snapper. Celek cost the Eagles a 50-yard field goal attempt because of a bad snap.

*Celek also left the game in the second half due to injury, so Trey Burton had to come in as the third-string long snapper. Burton snapped the ball high on Caleb Sturgis’ 41-yard field goal, but Donnie Jones was able to get the ball down for three points in the fourth quarter.