Oh, boy. Mama never told me there’d be days like this. I wasn’t counting on a win, but I just knew the Eagles would show me something. The Skins have a bad defense. The Eagles had lost 5 straight games and were due for a good showing. Plus, the Eagles almost always do well in division games. I just knew the offense would come alive or the team would show a lot of energy and make some big plays.
I did not expect a 31-6 beatdown.
Watching the game live was pretty darn miserable. Re-watching it wasn’t a whole lot better. I did feel better about the defense after watching the 1st half. WAS scored 17 points, but 10 came off turnovers where the Skins got the ball inside our 15-yd line. They only gained 129 yards in the 1st half. They were 1 of 4 on 3rd downs. If not for the turnovers…
The 4th Qtr is when things got out of hand. The Skins gained 143 yards and just completely dominated. RG3′s running was really effective. WAS mixed in some good option plays.
The offense was the group that disappointed me, once again. 6 points against one of the worst 5 defenses in the league? Even with a rookie QB and re-shuffled OL I thought we had enough weapons to score points against that defense. Didn’t happen. I didn’t think the gameplan was anything special. Foles had a bad game. His receivers didn’t help him. The running game wasn’t consistently effective. Penalties really hurt several drives. And field position didn’t help. Only 2 drives started outside the 35-yard line. But other than that…
Usually when you play a young QB the rest of the team will pick up their level of play. Didn’t happen. Brent Celek bobbled an early pass that was then picked off and run back inside the 10. That was a metaphor for the whole game. When Foles can’t rely on the reliable guys…what chance do you have?
There really are a couple of key things to discuss in regard to Reid. First was the decision to run the ball late in the half. There was :36 left and the Eagles were pinned deep. Shady got a hand-off and went to the left. He was hit and fumbled, giving the Skins the ball in FG range. I don’t mind taking that chance. Shady is a big play runner. If he can make someone miss, he can go for 40 yards. At that point, you might be able to “steal” a FG and cut the score to 14-6. Shady did fumble early this year, but hasn’t fumbled much in his career. To the coaches, this felt low risk, with the possibility of a big reward. Clearly it didn’t work out that way, but I do think they were making a reasonable, logical decision.
Late in the game Reid had Shady run and he suffered a concussion on the play. This was stupid. Beyond stupid, really. I’m sure Shady let Reid know that he wanted to be in the game. This is where Reid needed to be smart. He needed to protect Shady from himself (and the Skins). Down 25 points? That is 4 possessions. As ZooWithRoy said on Twitter, “We’d all have felt pretty stupid if Shady had run for a 26-point TD to win the game”. When you trail by that kind of a margin, you put in the backups. We do have young RBs in Dion Lewis and Bryce Brown. Use them. For the love of god, use them.
I didn’t like Marty’s gameplan. Instead of running, he fed the ball to Shady with passes. This was reasonable, but still put pressure on Foles, the OL, and Shady. Why not run? And we kept running to the edges. In the past, we’ve had some luck vs 3-4 teams with quick hitters up the middle. I was disappointed that we didn’t do more of that. Bryce Brown didn’t get a carry in the 2nd half. He ran well in the 1st. Why not use him? Starting WRs finished the game with 2 catches. The rookie QB had a lot to do with this, but sure seems like the playcalling was to blame as well.
Jimmy Bama broke down an interesting 3rd/5 play. Shady, DJax, and Mac were on the sideline. The Eagles went empty with an odd collection of players. Many people thought this was insanity. It was odd, but the Eagles did that in hopes of getting a particular matchup. We don’t know what that was or if it worked, but there is logic to using odd personnel combinations. The hope is that the defense will be confused and have certain personnel on the field that offer a favorable matchup. Doing this for a drive would be stupid. Doing this for a play is fine.
The defensive gameplan worked fine early. Things fell apart in the 2nd half. This was more about execution than design.
* Team was 7 of 19 on 3rd downs. Good progress from last week (1-10).
* 0-1 in the RZ.
* The Eagles had success with the screen game. Andy Reid is great with designing screen passes, but the last two years have delivered mixed results. Teams have focused on screens and made them very difficult to run. Either Reid or Marty Mornhinweg came up with some twists and they worked. That was fun to see.
* The Skins used CB blitzes effectively. Vick struggled with them, but those were slot blitzes. On Sunday WAS was sending outside CBs. This worked vs the run as well as on pass plays.
FOLES - 21-46-204. 2 INTs. 3 fumbles, none lost. Sacked 4 times. Nick did not have the game that any of us hoped for. He looked like a rookie quarterback. For every good play, there was a bad one and a shaky one. Rough day. The lowlight for me was his first quarter interception when he tried to get the ball to DeSean Jackson. Foles forced that ball into coverage. He also had terrible mechanics on the play. Foles was falling away and that led to the ball being high and off target. It was an easy pick for the safety. Foles had a chance to hit Jackson for a touchdown later in the game. Jackson ran a go route and got behind the defense. Foles put the ball too close to the sideline and Jackson wasn’t able to catch it inbounds.
He started off okay, going 10-16-106. He got sloppy as the game went along. There were rushed decisions. There were poor mechanics. There were some bad throws. You could read his body language and see that the game getting out of hand affected Nick. This is okay because it was his first start, but it is definitely something to watch. In the future, he must deal with problems better. Good QBs have thick skin and a short memory. If you screw up, move on to the next play. If the team gets down, don’t obsess on it. Just focus on getting a 1st down. Keep getting 1st downs and you’ll score points. That’s how comebacks start.
Foles did have some good moments. The best play came on third-and-17 when Foles stepped up in the pocket and hit Damaris Johnson over the middle for a gain of 21 yards. That pass required accuracy and zip. Foles put great touch on a pass to Brent Celek down the seam. That netted 22 yards and set up a field goal. There was an early third down pass where Foles seemed to audible at the line. He threw a quick screen to Cooper that went for 15 yards and moved the chains. Good read and adjustment by Foles.
SHADY - 15-45. Had a bad fumble late in the 1st half that gave WAS 3 easy points. Shady didn’t have much room to work with, but I also didn’t like some of his reads. Seemed to be overly-focused on big plays. With a rookie QB, should have focused on getting 4 yards and keeping the chains moving. Shady did have a big game as a receiver, going 6-67. Had gains of 20 and 25 yards on screen passes. Pass blocking was up and down. Was beaten by Kerrigan for a strip-sack.
B BROWN - 5-35. Had one great run early in the game. Showed the vision to find space to the left. Had the speed and quickness to get wide. Ran through a big hit while working his way out there, showing strength and balance. Gained 14 yards on that play. Brown has big time potential. Had a bad block attempt on WR screen. Failed to get a hand on CB and the guy tackled DJax for a loss.
HAVILI - Caught an early pass on 3rd/short in the left flat and got upfield for 9 yds and moved the chains. Didn’t block much from the I-formation.
CELEK - Made a huge mistake on the opening drive. Had a ball hit him in the hands. Bobbled it and it was picked off by a DB. That gave the Skins the ball inside the 10-yd line. Barf. Was 5-42 as a receiver. Best catch came on a seam route. Got 22 yards on that play. Had another drop later in the game. Up and down as a blocker.
HARBOR - Bad game. 1 catch for -1 yard. Had 6 passes come his way. Dropped one. Had another that he got his hands on and then took a big hit. Ball went to the ground. I thought it was a fumble, but was ruled incomplete and not challenged. Had a sloppy block on the opening play that forced Nick to throw quickly. DB blitzed and Clay didn’t seem to notice him early enough. Did block the guy, but didn’t have good leverage on the play and couldn’t sustain the block.
MACLIN - Shut out. 0-0-0. Had 3 passes come his way. Not good throws. I have not had a chance to study the All-22 tape to see how much of this is on Mac and how much is Foles/playcalls.
D JACKSON - 2-5. Caught 8-yd pass, -3-yd pass. Had 9 passes thrown his way. Should have had a 40-yd TD, but Foles put the ball too wide.
COOPER - Good game. 5-61. Got 15 yds on WR screen. Also got 23 yards on a pass play. Showed good RAC skills. Fun to see a big WR out there making plays. Had one “catch” taken away by replay. Good ruling. Ball clearly hit the ground.
D JOHNSON - 1-21. Catch came on 3rd/17. Got open over the middle.
DUNLAP - Moved back to LT. Much better than last week’s debacle at RT. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a good game, but was manageable. Had a holding call on run play to his side. FOX replay showed there was one moment when Dunlap had both feet off the ground. Tough for a LT to be a good run blocker with both feet in the air. Was involved in one odd play. WAS ran a stunt at him. DL grabbed his jersey and pulled to keep King from getting a hand on player attacking the outside. Should have been defensive holding, but that is a rare call. Both Dunlap and Mathis were furious after the play.
MATHIS - Good job in pass pro. Able to engage and sustain blocks. Had some good blocks in space. There was an early screen when Deangelo Hall was right there to be crushed, but he went low and took himself out of the play. I was really hoping Evan would get the chance to light him up.
REYNOLDS - Pleasant surprise. Had one clearly bad play. Got moved back on run and that led to TFL. Other than that, had an okay day. Getting faster in transition from snap to block. Has plays where he’s very good with his hands. Still needs work.
SCOTT - Went from unemployed to starting in a matter of days. Had a problem with false starts. Take them away and he had an okay day. Was able to get out wide and block well in space. Played for Mudd in Indy and that familiarity with the system was obvious. Was a bit rusty, but also looked good at times. Handled a stunt early in the game with ease. Those have been giving us fits all year.
KELLY - First start at RT. Showed promise, but has a lot of improving to do. Kept Kerrigan under control, but not by much. Rode Kerrigan wide, play after play. That was effective, but isn’t ideal. You prefer the OT to engage and block the rusher near the LOS instead of letting the guy run deep and get behind the QB.
* RG3…14-15-200 with 4 TDs, 0 INTs. Perfect rating. Ugh.
* 5 off 11 on 3rd downs. Not good.
* Did have a good sequence when stopping WAS on 3rd/short and then 4th/short.
* 2 of 4 in the RZ
COLE - Too quiet. No sacks or solo tackles. Got pressure on some plays, but it was too little and too rare.
BABIN - Good game. Credited with 2 tackles and a sack. The sack, interestingly, came when he was at right end. For one series early in the third quarter, he and Cole switched sides. There were a couple of plays when Babin just destroyed right tackle Tyler Polumbus by basically running over him. Babin used a spin move to the inside on one rush and came close to another sack. Did have hands to the face penalty on long TD pass.
LANDRI - Did some good things. Only credited with 1 tackle, but was disruptive a few times. Was effective out in space when chasing after RG3. Took good angles.
JENKINS - Had a couple of tackles. Got his hands on RG3 a couple of times, but wasn’t able to make the tackle.
TAPP - Hustled his way to 3 tackles, including a TFL. Called for penalty when he hit RG3 late, high on scramble. Good hustle to chase the ball, but should have seen that RG3 was going down. Didn’t get much in the way of pressure on pass plays.
GRAHAM - More quiet than in recent games. No tackles or sacks. Came close to getting a sack, but couldn’t get hold of RG3.
COX - Good game. Played more snaps than the other DTs. Was able to overpower the RG a few times. Fletch led the team with 8 tackles. Also had a sack. Got penetration a few times. Mostly used strength to be blockers. Blew up 3rd/short and then 4th/short on consecutive plays.
THORNTON - Only played 11 snaps. As Patt comes back, the reps have to come from someone. Cedric has been inconsistent vs the run. Struggles with double teams at times. Isn’t lack of effort. Needs to work on technique and get stronger. Light years better than last year and can get better.
PATT - Best game so far. Had a real spring in his step. Has fresh legs from not playing/practicing for most of the year. Was in on 3 tackles. Got into the backfield on a couple of pass plays. Him vs RG3 isn’t much of a competition, but Patt did his best while on the move.
KENDRICKS - Up and down game. I went ballistic early in the game when Kendricks took a poor angle on a play and let RG3 get wide of him for a nice gain. Dumb. Kendricks needed to play that outside-in and force RG3 to the middle, where help was. Kendricks did some good things in coverage. Was credited with 7 tackles, including an TFL. That came on early 3rd down when he read the play well, showed good discipline and then got into the backfield to make the stop. Kendricks must continue working on shedding blocks.
RYANS - Good game. 7 tackles. Big part of the reason that Alfred Morris only went 20-76 as a runner. Tackled well. Got to the ball. Finished plays when that was needed.
JORDAN - Started sloppy, but then played better, esp vs the run. Had 4 tackles, including TFL. Shot gaps a few times effectively.
ALLEN - Per Reid, Nate made one costly mistake. Didn’t get back deep on play-action pass and left WR wide open for 49-yd TD. Bit on early play-action pass to FB and that led to short TD. Credited with 6 tackles. Did a good job on end around that came his way. Fought through blocker and kept contain. Play gained 6 yards, but could have gotten more.
COLEMAN - Bad game. Was in good position on 3rd Qtr pass, but slipped as he tried to get ready to break it up. Moss was able to grab the ball and score. Got burned for 17-yd TD in the 4th Qtr. Let the guy catch the ball over the middle. Kurt tried to pop him, but it was a bad hit. Then tried to make the tackle, but the player was able to fight through it and score. Credited with 7 tackles, including TFL.
NNAMDI - Had 3 solo tackles. Didn’t have many passes come his way. Was involved in the 49-yd TD. Had the WR initially. Let him go as he started to cross the field. Expected S help. Needed to make sure of that before coming off him. Best play came on early 3rd down when he let his guy catch a short pass and then tackled him a yard short of the chains, forcing a punt. Failed to take a good angle on RG3 scramble in the 2nd half. Let him get to the sideline on that play. Dumb.
DRC - Had a chance for a big play late in the half. RG3 threw quick pass to DRC’s side. DRC jumped it, but only reached forward with one arm. Knocked the ball to the ground. Had a chance to get both hands on the ball. If he picked that, would have been a TD. 3 solo tackles. Had one real bonehead moment. Came across the middle on play where RG3 ran. DRC launched himself at him. Whiffed, but had he hit RG3, would have given them 15 free yards. Also costly financially. Dumb. No idea why he’d do that.
BOYKIN - Quiet game. Didn’t have the ball come his way much. Was burned on the 61-yd TD. Receiver was able to get away from him. Coleman was there to help, but the TD pass was still completed.
MCBRIAR - 5-234. 1 touchback, 1 inside the 20.
HENERY - 2 of 2 on FGs. All 3 KOs were touchbacks.
* Damaris Johnson had good PR of 16 yards. Ran wide and was able to turn up the field.
* Bryce Brown got his first shot at KOR. 3-66 with long of 25 yards. Showed some potential.
* Akeem Jordan stripped Brandon Banks on a PR, but the ball went out of bounds.