The Washington Football Team played a tale of two halves Sunday at home against the Eagles. The first quarter of the game couldn’t have gone much worse for Ron Rivera and company. However, his team, unlike many Washington teams of the past, didn’t roll over and give up.
Washington, led by a tenacious effort up front on defense, kept constant pressure on Carson Wentz, sacking him eight times, and forced two interceptions and recovering a fumble late to seal an amazing comeback win.
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game followed by some observations.
Ryan Kerrigan: The veteran had a great start to his season Sunday, recording 2 sacks, and recovering a fumble. What made those two sacks so very special however, was that one tied the franchise record and the second one made him the franchise leader with 92 career sacks.
Congratulations to @RyanKerrigan91 pic.twitter.com/mv9aJYFcn6— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 13, 2020
Chase Young: The rookie turned out to be all that was promised in his first NFL game, recording 1.5 sacks, forcing a fumble and showing the relentless motor, athleticism and skill-set that made him the second overall draft pick. If Sunday was any indication of how his first season in DC is going to turn out, I think we are all in for a big treat.
Matt Ioannidis: Ioannidis continues to get overshadowed by his interior defensive line teammates, yet the Greek Freak continues to show he’s the team’s best interior presence. On the afternoon, Matt had four combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for a loss. He led the team with four quarterback hits.
Fabian Moreau/Jimmy Moreland: The corner due held the Eagles’ receivers in check for most of the game, and each recorded an interception and a pass defended. Moreland was second on the team with six combined tackles.
Wes Martin: The sight of Wes Martin getting bull-rushed into the backfield - looking like he was on roller skates haunted my dreams last evening. He was beaten like a drum early and often in the game, and it wasn’t until they started giving him help, and calling some plays to mask his deficiencies, that the beating slowed down.
Kevin Pierre-Louis: Pierre-Louis looked out of place in coverage Sunday, especially when asked to cover tight ends. Although the receptions to both Ertz and Goedert were not all on him (11 rec, 119 yards and 2 TD’s), he was torched numerous times by both players - one specifically by Goedert that resulted in a 34 yard touchdown.
Troy Apke: Although the first year starters’ stat line may not look too bad (he tied for the team lead in tackles with 8), he was not exceptionally good early on in the contest. He had two missed tackles, a 15 yard personal foul penalty, and made no plays when the ball was in the air. He was caught out of position numerous times early in the game.
Ron Rivera raved about the young safety during camp, but his play, in my opinion, did not carry over into the first regular season game. For now, we’ll chalk this up to some rust, and hope for better play moving forward.
- Logan Thomas is far from “The Guy” at tight end, but the 29 year old did manage four receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.
- Peyton Barber found the end zone twice on the day, although he averaged just 1.7 yards per rush on a team high 17 attempts.
- Morgan Moses and Geron Christian performed better than I thought they would. Christian had some rough plays but seemed to settle down a bit later in the game. Moses limited the penalties that have plagued him the past two years, and played decently at right tackle.
- You could see the Eagles game plan was to take away Terry McLaurin and let the other receivers try and beat them. McLaurin was relatively quiet on the day, catching five passes for 61 yards. We really need someone to step up opposite him on the outside.
- Payne was a royal pain for the Eagles offensive line. He wasn’t a stat sheet stuffer, but he certainly made his presence felt.
- Montez Sweat had a nice game opposite Chase Young. He had a sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits.
- Jon Bostic had a nice game, although he did struggle a bit in coverage. He had eight tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and three quarterback hits.
- Ronald Darby had an up and down game. He gave up an inexcusable 55 yard pass to rookie Jalen Reagor on a third and long, but made a nice pass breakup on a deep pass that he could have intercepted later in the game. He chipped in with four tackles.
- Rookie Kamren Curl made some nice plays on defense as a sub-package defender.