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Eagles Lose Division Opener to Redskins

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Rob Carr / Getty Images)


The Eagles and their quarterback Carson Wentz return to Philadelphia officially on a losing streak.

It was said here that if the team that showed up in D.C. was the second half team from last week, the Redskins would have their work cut out for them.

Well, the reverse was true.

Instead, the first half team showed up. The team couldn’t muster much offense, its defense allowed big play after big play, and they were consistently shooting themselves in the foot. With a myriad of penalties and major protection concerns, the team lost to Washington, 27-20 at Fed Ex Field on Sunday.

Despite missing tight end Jordan Reed, Washington QB Kirk Cousins fared just fine, throwing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. His running backs also had themselves a day, combining for 231 yards and a touchdown. Any time the Eagles gained an ounce of momentum, Washington’s running backs were there to snuff it out. RB Matt Jones ran for 135 yards and a touchdown, including a 57-yard carry to ice the game.

“Pretty much the same as last week,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “Self inflicted penalties, gave up a few big plays, a lot of big runs in which guys are getting caught out of gaps and missing tackles. It’s just bad football and when you play a team that’s good at what they do, and you make mistakes, they take advantage of it.”

The Eagles are definitely going to miss tackle Lane Johnson. His replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai had an extremely rude welcome to the NFL. While not at Winston Justice level, it certainly wasn’t pretty, allowing two sacks (one on the first play of the game) to his man, DE Ryan Kerrigan.

“He started out just trying to get his legs,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “He had a couple missed assignments early, and I felt like he settled into the game. We used more help on his side, really on both edges.  He’s a warrior, he’s a battler. He stepped up, did a good job. He’ll learn from it to get ready for next week. It’s our job as coaches, I mean this is what we get hired to do, to make our players better. That’s what we’re gonna do with Big V”.

Wentz was sacked five times, and finished with 179 yards and no touchdowns. He was mostly uneasy on the day, either getting consistently pressured in the pocket, or sitting idly by watching the game from the sideline. After Cousins hit TE Vernon Davis for a 13-yard touchdown to go up 14-0, the Eagles showed signs of life. Rookie running back Wendell Smallwood returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. Three minutes later, Cousins threw a pass again intended for Davis that was instead picked off by safety Malcolm Jenkins for a 64-touchdown return to tie the game 14-14.

“I think it was just tough for us to kind of get in a groove today,” Wentz said. “I didn’t feel like we were in sync very well, especially the first half. The flow of the game was weird. We had the three straight defensive drives there with the kick return and the pick six, so we never really got in a rhythm offensively.”

By the time the Eagles offense had returned to the field, twenty minutes of gameplay had passed. Washington had tacked on a touchdown before the half, a field goal after, and the Eagles were down ten points. The teams traded field goals again after that leaving the final score 27-20, in a game that was way more lopsided than the scoreboard would indicate. The Eagles were outgained on offense 493-239. Its defense allowed 26 first downs, and a consistent theme for the last three weeks now has been double digit penalties. The team had thirteen penalties for 114 yards, and are now the fourth most penalized team in the NFL.

The Eagles face a tough test next week, as the NFL’s last undefeated team, Sam Bradford’s Minnesota Vikings come to town after their bye week.  The team drops to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the division, good for 3rd place.


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