A win over the Redskins keeps the season alive
The Eagles had everything to play for on Monday night. After sputtering through the season, the Eagles had to leave it all on the field against the Redskins to keep their playoff hopes alive. They came out firing, knowing this was a must-win game. The Eagles might have come out on top, but that doesn’t mean that the Super Bowl champs are back. Here are a few things to love and hate after the MNF win over the Redskins.
Thing to hate #1: The offensive playcalling early
I really can’t figure out what is going on in Doug Pederson’s head sometimes and I know I’m not the only one. Obviously, they started fast and drove down the field (which we will talk about in the love portion), but the next drive was a different story. The Eagles opened their second drive with a solid 6-yard run by Josh Adams. From there, Wentz missed Dallas Goedert on second down. Then for 3rd & 4, they called a run play. Wentz took the snap in the shotgun and handed the ball to Sproles who was met at the line of scrimmage by Mason Foster. That would have been fine if they didn’t do the exact same thing later in the game at a more crucial time.
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 4, 2018
The Redskins stopped the Eagles on three straight plays on the goal line. Pederson decided to go for it on fourth down, but this time, took Zach Ertz off the field. Obviously, that meant the run was coming. This time the handoff went to Adams, who was tackled for a two-yard loss. First of all, why they didn’t hand the ball to Adams on first down from the two I will never understand. Why they then had Adams run outside on second down I won’t understand either.
The playcalling got better as the game went on, but at this point of the season where the playoff chances are hanging by a thread, the team simply doesn’t have time for it to get better as the game progresses. Pederson needs to be on from kickoff.
Thing to hate #2: The defensive playcalling…yikes
To me, this doesn’t seem like rocket science. The two quarterbacks for the Redskins are Colt McCoy and Mark Sanchez. GO AFTER THEM. Jim Schwartz’s defensive scheme is all about relying on his front four to bring pressure. It’s been clear through 12 games, however, that that scheme isn’t necessarily working. Why didn’t they try to stuff the box AT ALL? Sanchez hadn’t played in a game since the 2016-17 NFL season when he was the third string QB for the Cowboys behind Dak Prescott and Tony Romo. He played in one game that year…at Lincoln Financial Field in the regular season finale. Sanchez played all but the first three series of the game, going 9 for 17 for 85 yards and two interceptions.
The Sanchize made his return for the Redskins’ third series. After Adrian Peterson had that ridiculous run, somehow, the defense allowed Sanchez to get into a little bit of a rhythm. What’s worse about that is not only is it the Sanchize, but the Redskins offensive line was completely obliterated as well. Why our pro bowl caliber defensive line wasn’t getting pressure was beyond me.
Again, this changed a little bit in the second half. The line started to get pressure which made Sanchez act like the good ol’ Sanchez we all know and love.
Thing to hate #3: Carson Wentz’s missed wide open throws
When the Eagles drafted Wentz back in 2016, one of the biggest concerns about him was his accuracy. This is why, at times, the Eagles seem to avoid taking shots down the field, because of Wentz’s accuracy issues. We saw that a few times on Sunday as he overthrew wide open receivers who were going in for touchdowns if the throw was accurate. The Eagles win much more convincingly if Wentz makes some of those throws.
Thing to hate #4: The NFL has the worst officiating of any sport known to man
Let’s just get something straight here. The NFL refs absolutely suck. In most games, it’s both ways. They’re just terrible. I really don’t even know what they’re looking at half of the time or what they’re seeing but good grief it’s painful.
Thing to LOVE #1: The offense starting fast
Since the Birds won, let’s spend some time on the things to love. First, the offense came out fast and went right down the field. That is something they’ve been missing so far this season. The Eagles are averaging 2.3 points in the first quarter this season. That is dead last in the NFL. Last season, they averaged 6.4 which was second behind the Rams’ seven-point average.
Finally, the Eagles came out of the locker room swinging and were able to put seven points on the board right away. They got multiple playmakers involved on the drive, spread the ball around a little bit, and kept the defense on their heels.
These are the kinds of starts we need from the offense. Let’s hope they bring the same heat against Dallas next week.
Thing to love #2: The Mighty Mouse is BACK
Up until Monday, we had only seen Darren Sproles four times in the last two years. After breaking his arm and tearing his ACL in 2017, Sproles wanted to come back for one more season so he could retire on his own terms. After a good week one performance, Sproles was lost due to a hamstring injury. He finally made his return in front of his home fans against the Redskins. The ovation he received when coming out to return the first Washington punt was sensational. Everyone in the stadium was on their feet to welcome the Mighty Mouse back to the field.
When he scored that touchdown it was a pure moment of joy in the stadium. Jason Kelce blocked his man with one arm to clear the way for Sproles to fight into the end zone. And let me tell you, Sproles wasn’t going down until he got in for the score. It was an awesome sight to see and hopefully his dynamic adds another level to our offense to finish the season strong.
Shot 5 – Lot of great things to look at with Darren Sproles' first TD in two seasons. #Eagles ran a 'Sprint Draw' to the left with the key blocks coming from Jason Kelce, Zach Ertz and Jason Peters. Great effort outside by WRs Agholor and Matthews as well #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Kca5nrb0WD
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 5, 2018
Thing to love #3: Finally getting Golden Tate involved
I really don’t know why this was so hard, according to Mike Groh. However, now that it’s clicking, it is oh so wonderful to see. The wheel route up the sideline for the 19-yard gain helped set up his touchdown a few plays later. Tate is a reliable receiver with impeccable YAC ability, which we also saw some of on Monday. This is the reason the Eagles traded for him. Let’s hope he REALLY gets going next week. He IS known as a little bit of a Cowboy killer…
Carson Wentz rain drop ?️ pic.twitter.com/EWmuqKW8O4
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 4, 2018
And of course, who didn’t love his worm?
Thing to love #4: The defensive play of Nathan Gerry and Rasul Douglas
Last week against the Giants, Gerry looked out of place. This week? He was all over the place. Not only was he flying around making tackles, but he also had a fantastic pick of the Sanchize. Gerry looked like he came out of nowhere to snag the ball out of the air. It was a fantastic play that kept the momentum in the Eagles favor.
Nate Gerry with the pick, the luxuries of playing against Mark Sanchez. pic.twitter.com/5pFCDdVnXl
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) December 4, 2018
Douglas blew his coverage in the first drive of the game, letting Josh Doctson get free for a 32 yard gain. After that? He was lights out. He kept tight coverage on Doctson and was making sensational open field tackles for the rest of the game. Douglas led the way for the Eagles with seven tackles.
Thing to love #5: Wentz’s accuracy on the run
Earlier I mentioned that Wentz’s accuracy in certain situations is not great and could absolutely improve. One situation where he is deadly accurate? On the run. We’ve all seen it. When Wentz is making and extending plays with his legs, magical things happen. Not only is he ridiculously athletic, but he is also scary accurate when throwing off balance and while running. You’d think he’d be more accurate while standing in one spot. But hey, that’s what makes him great and why we love him so darn much.
We. want. Dallas.
We have only a short time to enjoy this win because once again, it’s Dallas Sucks week. Not only is it a game against our biggest rival, but this game is also for everything. This is the season folks. I expect everything all out on the field in Jerry World. I’m nervous about the game, but I’m also excited.
The Cowboys have a good defense, but it’s nothing the Eagles can’t handle. It’s nothing our offense can’t rumble over. Now that they are getting all of the weapons involved (Jeffery, Ertz, Agholor, Tate, Adams, Sproles, Clement) they have a good shot. If they can establish the run early, they can really win this thing. The defense needs to put pressure on Dak. If the Birds can get their backs going and force Prescott into some bad decisions, we’ll walk out of Jerry World tied for first place in the division with our playoff hopes still alive.
Featured Image: Malcolm Gill via Flickr
Stats: ESPN.com, TeamRankings.com
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