DAYS later and the Eagles 20 – 27 loss to the Redskins still feels like a deep scratch that’s less than an hour old. For all the things that went wrong in that game, there were so many things that went right. Even with huge deficiencies, this game was at no point, ever out of reach. On the one hand those seem like things to take comfort in, but at the same time they only seem to highlight just how deep the problems were.
The biggest of these problems was the way our run defense was exposed for a second week in a row. I won’t get into those weakness here, but you’d better believe, that they will feature prominently in my next Four Things article.
While the Lions (two weeks ago) didn’t run for a huge number of yards, their anemic rushing attack managed to get a toe-hold, and exposed some of the very keys that the Redskins exploited on their way to racking up 230 yards on the ground.
But what about the stuff that the stats don’t reveal? That’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. To have an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that we’re forced to honestly answer questions AFTER the game.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) We need a plan for covering TE Jordan Reed. This was a “just in case he played” sort of thing. He didn’t play, so there is no fair way to say “not done”. Especially given that Redskin QB Kirk Cousins’ completion percentage (52%) was his lowest of the season, by far. DONE
2) Work the edges. The idea was to force the Redskin OLB’s from pass rushing to coverage by throwing passes to their vacated areas. The prescription was for short passes along the hash marks. However, at no point did the Eagles scheme to fill it. NOT DONE
3) Do NOT punt directly to WR Jamison Crowder. I hate when technically something is done, but it’s swapped out for something equally as bad. While we didn’t punt directly to Crowder, the punts hung up there long enough for him to get under them, which in many ways is the same thing. Next time I will specify “line drive punts that go out of bounds”. DONE
4) Protect the rookie. This was emphatically not done. The Eagles coaching staff didn’t even try. They just rookie RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, spend the day getting his ass handed to him by anyone who lined up across from him. It’s a miracle that QB Carson Wentz wasn’t seriously injured. NOT DONE
This week has a score of 2 of 4 which represents the toss-up that this game felt like. The problem was we did the smaller things, but didn’t address the big things. Deservedly, we lost this game. For this next game we get a 5-0 Vikings team, led by former Eagle QB Sam Bradford.
Though there was no indication that the Vikings would be any good behind Bradford, I’ve been afraid of this game since the trade. The media will use this next game to serve as a verdict on the question of whether we were right to move on from Bradford. Depending on how it shakes out, we may never hear the end of it from The NFL Network, ESPN, and Comcast Sportsnet this season. Fingers crossed!