- After an offseason that had its share of drama and a buildup to the 2019 season that had “experts” suggesting the Redskins didn’t deserve to be on the same field as their more heralded NFC East brethren, the Redskins came out firing on all cylinders against the Philadelphia Eagles. Leading 17-0 in the second quarter, I am sure I was joined by throngs of Redskins fans in allowing myself to believe that maybe...just maybe...this Redskins team was not what everyone has been telling us they are. Let’s live there for a few more minutes, shall we?
- When Vernon Davis took his first catch of the season to the house, leaping over would-be tacklers and outrunning defenders to the end zone, it was EXACTLY the kind of start that a road team needs in a game where they are nine or ten point underdogs. Vernon’s emotion after the play, apparently related to a recent family loss, infected his teammates and caused an explosion of momentum that saw the home team fans booing their Eagles. Jay Gruden couldn’t call a bad play, and Case Keenum was laser accurate. The offense, despite us being told it would run through Derrius Guice, was running through Keenum’s arm. It was effective. It was successful. It resulted in multiple touchdowns and a 17-point lead. It was more than the Philadelphia defense could handle. Oh yeah...and did you see:
- Terry McLaurin!!! I stuck my neck out there with some of you, suggesting that the Redskins have finally nailed a rookie wide receiver selection, landing an elite talent that can produce at an elite level (it’s one thing to just say you thought Terry was going to be good, but an entirely different thing to say we have a legit stud). Our last best hope was Josh Doctson, a talented athlete that failed to have even one 100-yard game as a Redskin. In his first game in burgundy and gold, McLaurin hauled in five catches for 125 yards that included a 69-yard touchdown. He was targeted seven times, which was second to only Chris Thompson. Keenum missed McLaurin on a second deep pass that would have been good for another 70 yards or so, leading me to feel very good about the player we have in #17 this year. All in all, eight different receivers had at least one catch in the game, which is a very positive result for this offense.
- The bad news pretty much picks up there. Despite a solid showing on the scoreboard, the offensive line hurt itself terribly with penalties. I wish Morgan Moses hadn’t blamed the refs after the game. That is our job as fans. When he does it, it sounds terrible and highlights what wasn’t a great day for him. Our rushing game (the one that was supposed to run through Guice), generated 28 yards—Guice had 18 of them. I am not sure what I was expecting with no Trent Williams, but I was expecting...more. A team with a 17-point lead should be able to be far more assertive on the ground than the Redskins were able to be against the Eagles. Philly does have a very good defensive line, but 18 yards for a guy with the talent of Derrius Guice? Well, now we know one possible reason for the lack of production out of #29 as we hear that today he had an MRI of his OTHER knee and will potentially seek stem cell therapy treatment to avoid surgery. Am I the only one not even remotely surprised by this news? That is not saying anything about the running back I want so badly to root for on Sundays. It just feels like we are at the point where this kind of news just emanates steadily from Redskins Park. It’s not like you can blame Dan Snyder or Bruce Allen for such terrible news, but some part of me wants to... very badly.
- The second half was an embarrassment. How you let one of the most well-known deep-ball threats in the league get behind you for two bombs is beyond me. DeSean Jackson did exactly what DeSean Jackson does, and it strikes me as crazy that the Redskins defense would not try and take that away...especially after the first one. In the backyard games I used to play in, that guy got tackled before he could catch that second bomb and you took the pass interference penalty (if he called it). And how were we completely unable to make Carson Wentz even a tiny bit uncomfortable in the pocket? The one sack our defense was credited with was barely a sack—Wentz was scrambling and made it back to the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, he had more than enough time to find open receivers and was able to keep the Redskins defense on the field for about 35 minutes of game time, including a nine-minute touchdown drive to put the game away in the fourth quarter. We’ve seen that before...which only makes it that much more discouraging and demoralizing. The inability to get a drive going in crunch time (three punts from the middle of the third quarter into the fourth) undid the amazing work the Redskins put in during the first half.
- A real worst-case scenario for the Skins begins to unfold this week, as the Dallas Cowboys—who rolled the New York Giants yesterday—come to town with a healthy and hungry Ezekiel Elliott. The Bears and Patriots will both be in town over the next three weeks. I wish all of you making your way to FedEx Field this week the best. That place is going to be overrun with Cowboys fans (that you CAN blame on Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen). With Guice likely to miss time, the team will turn to a guy that some (Morgan Moses for example) feel the team disrespected by not dressing in Philly. Looks like Adrian Peterson gets to try and save the day again. Jonathan Allen is battling a knee sprain, which, you know, seemed to be a major factor in the play of our defense yesterday (seriously, how big was the dropoff in play on our defensive line without Allen?!?!?). It didn’t take long to put us all back into a bunker mentality did it? One week and I can barely distinguish between the way I felt in week 17 last year and the way I feel today. We are still early enough in the season where a big win over a divisional rival could turn our fortunes. The Redskins get that chance at home this week, which is all we can really ask for...well, that and a game against the Miami Dolphins STAT!
A few bright spots aren’t enough to draw focus away from the Redskins collapse in Philadelphia in week one of the NFL season.