Fuller. Moreau. Holsey. Moses. Smith. Scherff. Thompson. Williams. You name the injury, and the Washington Redskins faced it tonight.
The team got off to a reasonable opening drive, pushing down the field with balanced play calling, picking up chunks of yardage via plays from the likes of Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder, and putting three points on the board, thanks to recent acquisition Nick Rose (who came to the Redskins because kicker Dustin Hopkins went on injured reserve, in case you haven’t noticed a theme here). On the next drive, the Eagles tallied three painful penalties in a row and Carson Wentz threw an interception to Quinton Dunbar, and things were looking up for the burgundy and gold. However, even with that positive start, the team was trying to overcome an already thin offensive line and even thinner defense, and they simply didn’t have enough to do that on tonight’s prime-time stage.
For the remainder of the first half, Washington tried to find some rhythm and consistency. They failed to convert Dunbar’s turnover into points, but Dunbar continued to step up, and the usual faces of defensive pressure also made their presence known, doing everything they could to keep Wentz uncomfortable. Ryan Kerrigan, with the help of Junior Galette and Preston Smith, got to Wentz and were followed shortly afterwards by the combination of Mason Foster and Zach Brown for another sack. They would limit the Eagles to just three points on that series.
Cousins attempted to build on the defensive mojo, spreading the ball around to his weapons, leading the offense down the field to score a touchdown in response to the Eagles’ field goal, getting Josh Doctson, Davis, Jordan Reed, and Chris Thompson involved. Around that time, the Redskins had out gained the Eagles 178 yards to 32. But roughly six minutes later, that stat had changed to 192-185. The Redskins failed to pick up a single third down in the first half, and the offense couldn’t do much else before heading to the locker room. The defense, in spite of some good moments, like another sack by Kerrigan, began to collapse. The team gave up a 64 yard passing touchdown from Wentz to Mack Hollins, and the team struggled keep up with the steadily increasing pace from Philadelphia. Somewhat representative of what the rest of the unit was experiencing, safety D.J. Swearinger showed signs of having, arguably, his worst game of the season, getting pushed down on the touchdown play that essentially ended the half and put the Eagles up 17-10.
When Washington came back out of the tunnel following the half time break, they failed to have an answer for the momentum shift that took place in the waning minutes of the second quarter. Even though they lost their Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters to what appeared to be a severe leg injury, the Eagles drove down the field, ending their drive with another impressive touchdown pass by Wentz. On that play, Mason Foster missed the chance to take down Philadelphia’s quarterback and prevent the touchdown by mere inches and seconds.
Following more than an hour of waiting, the Redskins’ offense took the field for a chance to get back in the game. Tight end Jordan Reed, who’s had an uncharacteristically quiet season so far, even in the face of injuries, picked up the team’s first third down of the night, but the punt that followed shortly afterward would make his efforts a moot point. On the ensuing drives, Cousins showed a determination to keep his team in the game, trying to make plays by putting his body on the line and keeping all of his weapons involved. However, he made big mistakes, like keeping the ball entirely too long and taking unnecessary sacks. On that same drive, Reed, too, showed grit to remain competitive, fighting to get into the end zone and bring the game within striking distance.
Unfortunately, as the game wound down, Carson “Harry Houdini” Wentz found his way out of a seemingly impossible-to-escape pile for a 17 yard pickup, taking his team down the field again for his fourth touchdown pass to a fourth different receiver. Though Washington didn’t officially give up at that point, the number of players earning “questionable to return” status appeared to mount, and Cousins found himself behind a fairly makeshift line as he and Reed paired up for their second touchdown connection of the night.
Washington will have to find superhero healing powers this week, as they quickly turn around to face another NFC East rival, the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys next Sunday. The bumps and bruises they took tonight don’t bode especially well for a team that’s already had its bye week, and, considering Philadelphia’s sweep of the Redskins, the four remaining divisional games will carry extra weight if the burgundy and gold want a chance to keep their post-season playoff hopes alive.
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