Redskins fall to the Eagles 32-27 in the season opener. What can we take away from game 1?
The Redskins entered their game with the division rival Eagles on Sunday as the biggest underdog of the NFL’s first week. The game proved to be a tale of two halves as the Redskins jumped out to a 17-0 lead and appeared to be on the verge of quieting down all of the critics once and for all. After playing a half of football in which they looked as good as they possibly could, the Redskins played a second half that resembled some of the worst football that can be played.
The Redskins jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on an amazing 48 yard catch and run by the ageless Vernon Davis, that saw the veteran tight end hurdle an Eagles defender. The defense then came out and forced a quick stop before the offense drove down the field and added a Dustin Hopkins field goal to make it 10-0 Redskins nearing the end of the first quarter. On the Eagles next drive, the Redskins defense made a crucial fourth down stop to hand the ball over to the offense. Keenum then found rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin for a 70 yard touchdown pass to bring the boo-birds out in Philly. DeSean Jackson got the Eagles on the board with a 51 yard touchdown catch. The Redskins followed this up with another Hopkins field goal to take a 20-7 lead into the half.
The Redskins dominated the first half in almost every conceivable manner. The dominance ended, however, when the team left the locker room. In the third quarter, the Eagles held the ball for almost twelve minutes, scored two touchdowns, converted a two point conversion and scored another touchdown five seconds into the fourth quarter making the score 29-20 Eagles. The Eagles spent the fourth quarter killing the clock and tacked on a field goal for good measure. The Redskins scored late on a Case Keenum to Trey Quinn pass to make the score 32-27 with six seconds left. The Redskins’ attempt at an onside kick was unsuccessful.
- The Redskins made the right choice in starting Case Keenum – Jay Gruden took some heat in granting the veteran journeyman the start over first round draft pick Dwayne Haskins. For one game, at least, he appears to have made the correct decision. Keenum looked good all game, when given the ball and ended the day with 380 passing yards on 30 of 44 passing with three touchdowns and no turnovers. The offensive line was certainly a concern, however, the unit gave Keenum an average of 2.85 seconds to throw, good for seventh best on the weekend (not counting the two games that have yet to be played.)
- The team may have found their number one receiver in Terry McLaurin. Terry McLaurin was missing in action for most of the preseason so it came as a bit of a surprise when he was named as a starter opposite Paul Richardson. The Ohio State product did not disappoint catching five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. The speedster also clocked in with the fifth fastest ball carrier speed on the day reaching 21.23 MPH on the 69 yard touchdown pass. McLaurin continually got separation from his defender and was primed for another long touchdown catch, but was overthrown by Keenum.
- The weakness of the defense is the secondary. The secondary was torched by DeSean Jackson all afternoon for long pass plays. Carson Wentz completed three touchdown passes with a completion probability rate under 30, with one of those having a completion probability rate of 16%. There were issues with communication, missed assignments, and simple lack of speed. The secondary’s weaknesses were magnified by the front seven’s inability to pressure Wentz. Wentz often had ample time to throw and when he did not, he scrambled to create time often resulting in long completions.
- Some things never change – 1. Jay Gruden still does not know how to manage a clock. The coach took a timeout into the locker room at the end of the game. The Redskins scored with 6 seconds left and needed an onside kick and a hail mary to win the game. Had he used that timeout, the team could’ve had up to 15 seconds left. 2. The team continues to be undisciplined under Gruden. After being one of the most penalized teams in the NFL last season at 63 yards penalized per game, the Redskins surrendered 96 yards in penalties on Sunday, with many of them coming in key spots. 3. Halftime is an issue. The Redskins held the ball for roughly nine minutes in the second half against the Eagles. 4. Third and fourth downs are problems for the defense. The Eagles lead the NFL on Sunday by converting on over 64% of third downs and added two fourth down conversions. Five of the Eagles eleven third down conversions were over seven yards.
- The run game needs to improve – Derrius Guice rushed the ball ten times for 18 yards and may have injured his not repaired knee in the process. Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson was inactive. Chris Thompson rushed three times for 11 yards. The balance of the offense was not in the range that coach Gruden typically likes, as the team passed the ball on 78% of its plays. In 2019, the NFL is a passing league, however, none of the 11 teams that passed more than 68% of the time on won.