After an underwhelming preseason, the Washington Redskins ran out of the tunnel at FedEx Field today with something to prove. With 1:59 left in the game, could the “betting on myself” quarterback and his recently sluggish offense push down the field to score a touchdown and beat their divisional opponent in the season opener?
Unfortunately, though maybe as expected and with the aide of a questionable fumble-turned-Eagles-touchdown call, the answer is no. They wouldn’t be able to do anything when they got the ball back for the remaining minute after that controversial touchdown, either.
The first half was painfully sloppy on many fronts (and for both teams). In the first quarter alone, Kirk Cousins led the offense on three failed drives, two of which ended in punts. The third ended in a fumble when Cousins lost the ball as he was sacked by Fletcher Cox. The absence of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, who both found new teams in the off season, was felt repeatedly as Cousins looked out of sync with his somewhat new receiving corps. Josh Doctson was mysteriously and frustratingly absent from the spotlight and the field. Cousins and Terrelle Pryor Sr., a big bodied receiver with high expectations from fans, struggled to connect. Pryor had multiple drops, including at least one that should have been a touchdown. Fortunately, returning Redskins Ryan Grant and Chris Thompson stepped up with a handful of bright flashes that the team may be able to build upon in future weeks.
In spite of the offensive woes, the defense attempted to keep the team in the game. Standout linebacker Ryan Kerrigan scored the Redskins’ first points of the game with an early interception of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Kerrigan’s third interception of his career in today’s game was also his third interception to be returned for a touchdown. Others on defense stepped up in certain moments, too, including Josh Norman with a pass breakup that nearly became an interception in the first quarter, Bashaud Breeland with multiple heads up plays and pressure on the Eagles’ receiving corps, and Zach Brown and Mason Foster with impressive tackling numbers and noticeable presences along the defensive front. Even with the good things going for them, the defense wasn’t quite as stalwart as coaches may expect, though; the allowed Wentz to put up more than 300 yards and let the Eagles post 30 points on the scoreboard.
The team has just a week to fix some of these issues before heading to the West Coast to face the Los Angeles Rams and a familiar face: the Rams’s head coach and the Redskins’ former offensive coordinator, Sean McVay.
How would you grade the Redskins’ performance against the Eagles?
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By the numbers: Cousins (23/40, 240 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles, 4 sacks), Rob Kelley (10 carries, 30 yards), Thompson (3 carries, 4 yards, 4 receptions, 52 yards), Pryor (6 receptions, 66 yards), Grant (4 receptions, 61 yards), Brown (12 tackles), Foster (8 tackles), Kerrigan (1 INT, 3 tackles, .5 sacks), Preston Smith (4 tackles, 1 sack), Dustin Hopkins (1/1 FG, 2/2 XP),