By Kevin McGuire
An ineffective offense and a defense that struggled to make a stop all afternoon led the Philadelphia Eagles to drop a game against the Washington Redskins, 27-20 on Sunday afternoon in FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The loss dropped the Eagles to 3-2 this season and out of control of the NFC East moving forward.
There were plenty of penalties, offensive miscues and missed tackles in the sloppy performance from the Birds, and quarterback Carson Wentz made some more rookie mistakes. There were a few bright spots worth pointing out, but not nearly enough to make up for it when it came time to hand in the grades for this week’s game.
The Eagles offensive line turned in an abysmal performance and rarely provided protection for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz was sacked five times, and a couple of those could be put on the shoulders of Wentz opting to hold on to the football too long. He’s a rookie, and for the second week in a row reminded those watching he still has some growing pains. Last week it was an ill-advised long pass at the end of the game. This week it was misfiring on his targets and holding on to the football too long. He’ll learn. The question is, will he be given any time to think next time?
The Eagles had just 12 first downs and converted just four of 12 third-down attempts. Penalties also pushed the Eagles back time and time again, seemingly at every moment it looked like the Eagles made a key play.
For the second straight week, the opponent came out and had their way with the Eagles defense. Right from the jump, Washington was essentially able to do almost whatever it dictated on offense, which they did in turning three drives into touchdowns in the first half. However, the defense made a late stop to give the offense a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, and Malcolm Jenkins scored his third touchdown off an interception in his career in the first half.
Washington took advantage on the ground with over 170 rushing yards and piled up 25 first downs on the Eagles defense, which was just not able to get off the field nearly often enough. The Eagles did record three sacks on Kirk Cousins, but costly penalties plagued the defense just as they did on offense. A roughing the passer call on Fletcher Cox gave Washington a chance to tack on four additional points off a touchdown instead of holding them to a field goal try as well.
Special Teams: A
Wendell Smallwood returned a first-half kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, the first score of the game for the Eagles. It helped that Washington was backed up on the kickoff due to an excessive celebration penalty following a touchdown, but Smallwood likely could have found the room he needed to burst up the field for a score regardless. Darren Sproles never broke up a big punt return but was steady on punt return duty.
Kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on all of his kick attempts, including a pair of field goals and two more extra points, and Donnie Jones sent three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line while once again exhibiting his strong leg.
This feels harsh, but the Eagles showed they were completely unprepared for the loss of tackle Lane Johnson. The Eagles lost the game in the trenches weeks ago when they had no Plan B worthy of implementing ahead of time. That falls on the coaches just as much as it should probably fall on the general manager, but today the coaches will take the blame for also not having a team play disciplined football. The Eagles were called for 13 penalties for 114 yards. It is the second week in a row the Eagles had over 100 penalty yards.
A slow start on offense and on defense made sure there was plenty of blame to go around this week, because nothing went as the Eagles would have hoped.