Eagles blow a late lead once again, lose to Redskins, 23-20


The Philadelphia Eagles continued their poor pattern of play today, starting slow and falling just short in Washington. Here’s how it played out:

First Quarter

The Eagles defense takes the field to start the game. After a handful of penalties, the Washington face a 3rd and 19 at their own 11. Somehow, RB Christian Thompson splits the defense for a gain of 40-plus on the draw. That’s the second time this season the Eagles have been burned on a draw on 3rd and long. Washington moves the ball upfield, but ultimately stall on the goal line after a nice Jordan Hicks tackle, followed by a Malcolm Jenkins stop on an off tackle run. The Eagles red zone defense has been excellent to this point in the season.

Familiar sight: The Eagles offense stalls and goes 3 and out. Darren Sproles drops a low pass, and Bradford absorbs a sack on third down. Not a good start for the Philadelphia offense.

Redskins start with good field position and move the ball with a few completions to Jordan Reed. Meanwhile, Brandon Bair, Byron Maxwell (quad), and Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) all leave the field with various injuries. Washington’s drive ends with a stuffed Matt Jones carry in Eagles territory. Dustin Hopkins comes on for the kick and extends Washington’s lead to 6. The Eagles regain possession with about a minute left in the 1st quarter, and DeMarco Murray bursts into the second level, grinding away for a gain of 30. Good to see Murray have a positive play after having a rough start to the season.

Second Quarter

A few plays later, Bradford scrambles in the face of intense pressure from Ryan Kerrigan and tosses the ball downfield incomplete. The pass protection has been poor thus far, and with Jason Peters having just made his way to the sideline, things can only get worse. Eagles punt.

After forcing a 3 and out, the Eagles offense regains possession only to give it back after another uninspiring drive. DeMarco Murray is knocked backward at the line of scrimmage, and after bouncing wide is dragged down for a loss of 5. A few plays later Bradford is sacked to end the drive. Abysmal start.

Washington gets the ball back and moves the ball downfield after a series of short completions. On a crucial red zone third down, Eric Rowe makes an excellent play on the ball, making a diving break up in the end zone. Right on cue, a phantom flag comes out moving Washington to the 1. Two plays later, the center fumbles the snap to Kirk Cousins, but Cousins picks the ball up and squeaks in for the touchdown. Just as we all thought, Kirk Cousins is the first player to record a rushing touchdown against the Eagles this season. 13-0, Washington.

Heaven and hell; Sam Bradford reaches back and unleashes a beautiful ball deep, finding Nelson Agholor who makes a tremendous one-handed grab. Then, after breathing life into an anemic offense, Chip Kelly calls an utterly moronic end around to the Agholor, who drops the toss from Ryan Mathews. Washington recovers, and the Eagles self destruction continues.

The Eagles’ defense holds tough again, forcing the Washington punt. Darren Sproles receives the kick and he finds daylight, streaking past defenders on his way to a big return. Sproles has been the Eagles savior; if not for him, it’s possible the Eagles would still be winless.

The Eagles move the ball towards the Washington goal line and Sam Bradford makes an absolutely gorgeous throw to Zach Ertz who hauls it in for the would-be touchdown. But again, right on cue, the Eagles shoot themselves in the foot as Agholor is called for illegal motion. From there the Eagles go backwards before newly acquired kicker, Caleb Sturgis, misses from 33. That’s the half, as the Eagles are off to another dreadful start. 13-0 Washington.

Third Quarter

The Eagles open the second half with the football, and finally make a splash; Bradford makes a series of solid throws, even extending the drive with his legs on a 3rd down. Then, after missing Jordan Matthews downfield, Bradford steps up and finds Cooper for a 62 yard touchdown. Great job by Bradford to deliver an accurate ball, leading Cooper into the end zone. Despite another miss by Sturgis, the Eagles now only trail by a touchdown, 13-6.

The Eagles hold tough yet again on defense, forcing the punt. Washington continues their poor special teams play, tackling Sproles after he fields the fair catch. The refs walk the Eagles up 15 yards and Sam Bradford gets back to work, putting in his most impressive drive in midnight and white. Bradford threads the needle to Jordan Matthews who high points the ball and absorbs a big hit on the play. The referees incorrectly throw the flag for a personal foul penalty, and a few plays later Bradford finds Brent Celek for the touchdown. This one was particularly impressive, as Bradford escaped the rush, extending the play before throwing on the run for the score. Two good drives in a row for Bradford and the Eagles offense. 13-13.

Washington takes over and immediately goes downfield for a gain of 40-plus with Walter Thurmond trailing in coverage. Then, on 3rd and long, Cousins throws up a ball that Jamison Crowder somehow holds onto despite getting popped by several Eagles defenders. The defense holds in the end, however, as they hold Washington to a field goal. 16-13, bad guys.

Fourth Quarter

Not much going for the Eagles who go 3 and out, however, Washington takes over and, after moving the ball, coughs it up. Brandon Graham makes an excellent play, rallying to the ball and yanking it out after Jordan Reed was already in the grasp of DeMeco Ryans. Jordan Hicks (of course) recovers, and the Eagles regain possession at their own 42. Big play and great awareness by Brandon Graham.

The Eagles take over and Sam Bradford throws a good ball to Nelson Agholor up the far sideline. It may have gone for a big gain if cornerback Brashaud Breeland didn’t make an excellent play, diving at the last second and getting his hand on the football. It is all for not, however, as after a questionable personal foul call, Bradford unloads an absolutely gorgeous pass for Miles Austin in the end zone. Just as well all predicted, Miles Austin and Riley Cooper both have long touchdowns. Unbelievable. Eagles lead 20-16.

Eagles /


Washington takes over and move the ball a bit with the help of a personal foul call on Eric Rowe, who got a bit too physical with a WR out of bounds. The Redskins drive ultimately falters as Jordan Hicks makes a nice play in coverage. No the result of the game, the injuries have absolutely piled up for the Eagles on this one, as Fletcher Cox heads into the tunnel with an apparent right ankle injury.

The Eagles take over at the 20 after the Washington punt lands in the end zone. After a late hit on Bradford that marches the offense 15 yards upfield, the Eagles find some room on several successful runs before Darren Sproles commits a costly drop. The ball was thrown behind him, but he was able to get his hands on it. That’s a play that must be made. Eagles punt.

Fletcher Cox is back and the defense continues to play well, forcing the 3 and out with Brandon Graham nearly pulling down Cousins for a safety. The Eagles get the ball back at midfield and go 3 and out on the heels of a pass interference non-call; The defensive back hit Jordan Matthews in the back before the ball arrived. Bad miss by the referees who have been decidedly awful throughout the day.

Washington takes over and methodically plows down the field. The Eagles defense looks gassed at this point; players look lethargic and are struggling to catch their breath. Washington drives deeper and deeper into Eagles territory with time ticking away, Pierre Garcon makes an absurd catch putting the offense in prime red zone position. On 2nd and goal Garcon comes through once again, holding onto the ball while getting demolished in the end zone. With only 26 seconds left, the Eagles have very little chance of mounting a comeback.

The Eagles receive and after taking a pair of sacks, try the infamous backyard football last-ditch effort. Nelson Agholor gets the ball and poetically throws a lateral that is intercepted. The Eagles fall to 1-3.

Final Thoughts:

Deflating loss. The Eagles were in great position to tie for the division lead today with a Dallas loss. Now, the Eagles will have sole possession of last place in the NFC East (with 2 division losses to boot), albeit it’s possible that they’re still only 1 game out by the end of the day.

Either way, this game exemplified the importance of playing a full 4 quarters of football, which the Eagles have failed to do on each of their first 4 games. The ground game also had another difficult go of it. Not to mention Caleb Sturgis’s misses..

The silver lining is that Sam Bradford (when he had time) was excellent in the second half. He showed all of the confidence that he lacked in the last few weeks, and uncorked a number of deep passes. If Bradford can continue the level of play that he demonstrated in the second half, the Eagles aren’t finished yet. Though, from here on out nearly every game is a must win, as it’ll be difficult to win even an easy division with less than 10 wins. Not to mention, the Eagles stretch run consists of the Patriots, Bills, and Cardinals.

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