Eagles Analysis: Ten lessons learned from Week 4 vs. Redskins


The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Washington Redskins yesterday 24-20. I did not enjoy typing that statement. The Eagles now sit at last place in the NFC East with a 1-3 record. Can we go back to week 3 of the preseason, please? Anyway, here are my main takeaways from the game:

1) The Eagles can’t close out games 

This is a huge problem with Chip Kelly. Huge. I don’t get why people don’t talk about it more. I have mentioned it numerous times and it was one of my main takeaways from last week too. This team cannot close out games. This team is built to play fast and aggressive and when they are winning they slow it down and get too passive. It frustrates me hugely. I don’t care how stupid it looks if you are throwing deep and running no huddle with 10 minutes left, you have to continue to attack. The Eagles were destroying the Redskins defense in the second half with deep throws until they tried to run the clock down and failed to do so.

2) You can’t blame the defense 

This game was not lost by the defense. They played well throughout the game and they must have been absolutely knackered by that final drive. Also, credit where credit is due, the Redskins final drive was incredible. Some of the throws and catches were insane. I have no idea how Pierre Garcon held on to that touchdown. Thurmond’s coverage was almost perfect, it was a brilliant throw too. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. Considering the Eagles defense had some key injuries too, they played well. Brandon Graham‘s strip was a huge play and it should have won the Eagles the game.

3) Sam Bradford played well 

I don’t really know what to think of Bradford’s performance to an extent. The pass blocking wasn’t great but he had an awful first half. I thought he was supposed to get the ball out quickly but sometimes he held on to the ball so long. But in the second half he played a great game when he gained confidence and started throwing the ball downfield. That throw to Matthews down the seam was beautiful, he threw him open which is something he needs to do more. However, that throw to Sproles on third down was a really bad throw and cost the Eagles. As I said earlier, I just wish he kept throwing the ball downfield after the Eagles had the lead. If you look at just the second half, he really did play well. He wasn’t the season the Eagles lost.

4) The offensive line is not good 

Yes, the Eagles offensive line is not healthy right now. However, if players are playing then I expect them to be fine or they should take themselves out the game. Lane Johnson was flat out awful at the end of the game, if he was hurt then he should have left the field because he wasn’t good all game. Jason Peters said he was okay then left early, that helps nobody. Let’s be honest, Peters getting hurt is no surprise at this point, it happens weekly. The pass protection as a whole was okay except for the final drive but the run blocking wasn’t great throughout the game. The running backs made plays but there is still too many plays getting blown up behind the line of scrimmage.

5) The pass rush was up and down 

The pass rush just didn’t look good today. It has to be better, the cornerbacks are much better than last year but they aren’t perfect and a good pass rush is needed to help them out. Kirk Cousins is a shaky quarterback when he is being pressured but the Eagles just didn’t do that. I don’t think they have terrible pass rushers and sometimes they did get pressure but it was very inconsistent. Especially on first down. If the Eagles pass rush doesn’t improve, good quarterbacks will have success against this defense time and time again.

6) The wide receivers made plays 

Finally! Miles Austin, Nelson Agholor and Riley Cooper made three huge plays, as we all predicted right? How fast does Nelson Agholor look by the way? We need to give that guy the ball more, he is electric. But, I am starting to worry that Jordan Matthews is slightly overrated. We can’t rely on him to be the number one receiver and we need Agholor to get very good very quickly.

7) I hate the running back by committee approach 

I’ve felt this way for a while now. I just don’t like it. I hate it infact. Running backs can’t get into a rhythm and it seems to be counter productive right now. Ryan Mathews looks good right now, I get that. But we didn’t pay DeMarco Murray all that money to run the ball 8 times. Give him the ball early and keep feeding him throughout the game. Murray needs to get into a rhythm and Chip Kelly isn’t letting him do that right now. When you are ahead and in the fourth quarter, that’s when you unleash Ryan Mathews against a tired defense. If Murray sucks, then the next week you feed Mathews. I just don’t think any running back can get into a rhythm right now and it’s a big issue.

8) Kicking is a big problem 

Poor Caleb Sturgis. If the Eagles tried out eight kickers and he was the best one last week, how bad were the others? With the extra point being moved back, the Eagles should probably start going for two points more often. Despite not playing well, the Eagles could easily be 3-1 if their kickers hadn’t missed easy field goals. This problem isn’t going away either, kicking will be a problem for the Eagles all season I imagine. Not good.

9) Injuries 

Injuries are no excuse for playing badly but the Eagles are missing some key players. The defensive line is really banged up but luckily they have good depth there. The offensive line depth on the other hand is not great and I’m worried about that position group. Hopefully the injuries to Byron Maxwell and Lane Johnson aren’t serious. I’m excited about Mychal Kendricks returning because he’s a huge upgrade on DeMeco.

10) The season isn’t over 

The Eagles season is hanging by a thread right now. If they lose next week, its over. They basically have to win at least 3 of their final 4 division games too. However, don’t underestimate how bad the NFC East is. Kirk Cousins is still an extremely unpredictable quarterback, the Giants aren’t good and the Cowboys are without Dez Byrant and Tony Romo. Let’s just hope the Eagles can get it together, that’s all we can do right now.

Next: Eagles blow a late lead once again, lose to Redskins

More from Inside the Iggles