When the Philadelphia Eagles played the Washington Commanders in Week 4, Philly did what they had to do to eke out a 34-31 overtime win. The game was a much, MUCH closer affair than anyone wanted or expected.
Since then, the Commanders have plummeted back to Earth while the Eagles have bounced back much higher from where they were in that first game. Things are looking good and the vibes are very positive going into the Birds' second and final matchup with their longtime rivals in Week 8.
The Week 4 Eagles/Commanders matchup was loaded with peculiar moments, none of which will occur in Week 8.
There were a few plays in the Week 4 game that were very peculiar, plays that just don’t normally occur all that often in NFL games. Unfortunately, they were the plays that helped the Commanders stay in that game.
Bad luck? Freak occurences? You be the judge. Hang out with us for a few as we travel the not-so-distant past. Don't expect any of this to happen on Sunday.
Brian Robinson's fumble turns into Terry McLaurin's touchdown,
Yeah. That actually happened.
Near the beginning of the second quarter, Brian Robinson fumbled on his way into the end zone and Terry McLaurin was on the receiving end of some tremendous fumble luck. Yes, fumble luck is a thing, whether you want to believe it or not.
The football as you know is oblong. When it’s fumbled, it bounces in some bizarre ways. Skill sets aside, McLaurin had just as good of a chance to come away with that ball as anyone else, and that's exactly what happened here.
Terrell Edmunds couldn’t come down with a touchdown-saving interception.
The touchdown that he didn’t save was the fumble recovery that we were just talking about. There are two reasons this won’t happen again.
One is that a professional football player couldn’t possibly drop a ‘gimme’ like that twice. The other reason is that Terrell Edmunds is gone. New safety Kevin Byard is an upgrade at the position, but the bar was set pretty low.
Bad luck here or freak occurrence?
Penalties, penalties, penalties
The Eagles are coming off a game where they had zero penalties. Yeah, that’s definitely flukey and the refs DEFINITELY missed the facemask call on James Bradberry (which was immediately rectified by the universe), but the clean/disciplined play was tremendous. Philly has to be commended.
On the flip side, that isn't what happened in Philly's Week 4 game. The Eagles tallied 11 penalties for 80 yards. There were phantom defensive holding calls, a bizarre offsides call on Landon Dickerson, and a ticky-tack pass interference call on Darius 'Big Play' Slay.
The best way to think about post-snap penalties is that they’ll even themselves out, more or less. It's hard to beat anyone when you rack up 11 penalties, so Philly was lucky to pull this one out. Still, if we're being honest, we expect more discipline this time around. Don't expect the Birds to let Washington hang around.
Sam Howell did his best Jalen Hurts impression.
Sam Howell racked up six carries for 40 yards in Week 4. Does anyone think he's doing that again? Yep, that's what we thought. Aside from that game, he’s averaging 2.5 carries and just over 13 rushing yards per contest. We're wagering he won't pull off another Jalen Hurts impression.
This is part where the Eagles' lack of sacks in that game came into the fold. Yes, Howell was sacked five times, but three of those came from linebacker Nicholas Morrow. We’re looking for sacks that come from the Eagles’ dominant defensive line exposing the Commanders' pathetic offensive line this time around.
Howell was able to get away from pressures and scramble on plays that he normally doesn’t scramble on. The exceptional usage of his ability as a runner was flukey. Sean Desai has earned our trust, so we expect he'll be able to make adjustments to neutralize that aspect of the Commanders' offensive attack.
You obviously can’t take all of the weird stuff out of a football game. The fact that those things happen is one of the reasons that football is the greatest sport in the world. It’s just that THESE specific things aren’t going to happen again, and it’ll lead to a much more dominant win than the stress ulcer-inducing contest that we all witnessed in Week 4's game.