For the second time in as many games, Carson Wentz had the football in his hand during crunch time.
And in Sunday’s 27-20 Eagles loss, Wentz’ teammates were unable to help the rookie in an ugly division loss that was not as close as the score might indicate..
Wentz led the Eagles on a drive downfield, fighting against pressure to extend plays and move the football to midfield before twosacks at the two-minute warning put Philly under the gun with a fourth and 24, trailing by seven points. Instead of going for the miracle, Doug Pederson elected to punt.
After two tackles at the line of scrimmage, a 57-yard Matt Jones sprint clinched the game and earned Washington their fourth straight win.
The Eagles once again were flagged — a lot. And arguably that may have cost them victories in this game and in last week’s loss in Detroit. Philly was called for committing 13 penalties for 114 yards in the setback. In back-to-back games since the bye week, the Birds have had 27penalties called on them.
Another football sin was committed by the offensive line, missing Lane Johnson who began his 10-game suspension this week,HalapoulivaatiVaitai made his first career start at right tackle and the Washington defense feasted on a makeshift O-line, sacking Wentz five times and pressuring him on nearly every drop back.
Here are three takeaways from the Week 6 defeat:
The Eagles’ defense came out hot, but eventually found itself unable to keep the ‘Skins from moving the chains as they eventually struck on two long scoring drives to jump ahead 14-0.
Malcolm Jenkins helped change the narrative later in the second, taking an interception 64-yards to the house to tie the game at the 3:55 mark.
In a critical spot late in the first half on the ensuing drive, the Eagles failed to hold the Redskins, mired in Philly’s red zone, from scoring a touchdown. A key Fletcher Cox roughing the passer penalty gave Washington a new set of downs, and D.C. was able to score six points on a toss play to Matt Jones, putting them up 21-14 as the halftime buzzer sounded.
The Eagles D gave up 493 yards of offense, including 230yards on the groundand 263to Kirk Cousins, who threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Washington victory.
Where’s the offense?
This question could be asked literally in the middle of Sunday’s game, as the Eagles went nearly 20minutes and 38 straight playswithout running an offensive play (aside from a kneel) due to their two nonoffensive touchdowns and the potent Washington defense.
After four overly impressive performances from Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense, the phase was silenced by the Washington defense — a group that rank among the worst in all of football. In the first half, Wentz was just 3-of-8 for 28 yards, with the running game providing only 29 yards.
A big 54-yard bomb from Wentz to Jordan Matthews finally woke Philly’s offense up, leading to a Caleb Sturgis field goal and a 24-17 deficit early in the fourth quarter. Another three points came a few minutes later, answering a Washington field goal with one of their own, 27-20 the score with just over five minutes to go. Had the Eagles scored touchdowns on both drives, the game would have played out a lot differently. Questions will certainly linger this week about what exactly is going on when the Eagles have the ball.
If there’s one thing Philly’s football team has become synonymous with, it’s special teams play. After a relatively quiet unit over the season’s first four weeks, the kickoff return unit — led surprisingly by rookie Wendell Smallwood — put the Eagles on the board for the first time and reversed some unfriendly momentum. Smallwood scored his first NFL touchdown on an 86-yard scamper midway through the second quarter.
If the Eagles intend to be competitive as the difficult part of their schedule approaches (with the unbeaten Vikings coming to town next week) special teams contributions will be an important part, should they be successful.