In Week 2, the Lions climbed all over the Commanders with a 22-0 halftime lead. Week 3 looked, in many ways, like a replay of that disaster, with the Eagles jumping out to a 24-0 halftime lead at FedEx Field.
The story of the first half was mainly the dominance of the Eagles defensive front, which sacked Carson Wentz 4 times in the 1st quarter, and 6 times in the first half. Aside from a few successful runs, not much went right for the Commanders offense. While Washington had 12 rushes for 66 yards, Wentz had just 3 completions to go with his 6 sacks and lost fumble.
Washington’s receivers were shut down – Samuel led all Commanders receivers with 2 catches for 21 yards in the first half.
At the half, Philly had 17 first downs to Washington’s 5, and the Tress Way had punted 6 times. The Eagles put up 322 yards in the first half; Washington had 50, with -16 in the passing game.
For most of the first half, the Washington defense held up well, allowing 3 points on 3 drives. All 24 points were scored in the 2nd quarter. The Eagles first touchdown came when they got a short field after recovering the Carson Wentz fumble at Washington’s 14 yard line. But the Eagles scored touchdowns on 3 or the final 4 drives to take the game to halftime. The defense’s only stop of the 2nd quarter came when Shaka Toney tackled Jalen Hurts short of the line to gain on 4th & 1 at the Washington 8 yard line.
At halftime, Eagles’ receiver Devonta Smith had 156 yards and a TD. TDs were also scored by A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert.
The Washington defense was shorthanded this week. After losing DT Phidarian Mathis for the season after just 3 defensive snaps against the Jags, this week, the team was missing defensive linemen Daniel Wise, James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill, as well as cornerback William Jackson. Ben St-Juste played well in relief of Jackson. St Juste had several PBUs and looked like the Commanders best defender. Fuller gave up a lot despite playing decent cover. Rachad Wildgoose was flagged for two pass interference penalties, and both of them hurt, resulting in 1st downs.
The Eagles did not add to their point total in the second half. Their drives ended with 4 punts and a free kick following the safety, plus the final drive of the game that ended with a couple of Jalen Hurts kneeldowns.
Despite Washington’s 3 drives of 15 plays, 13 plays, 12 plays, the only points scored were the defensive safety and a late-game Antonio Gibson TD. Washington’s 3rd possession of the second half ended with a shovel pass to Logan Thomas on 4th & goal from the 1-yard line that ended with a tackle about 18 inches shy of the score.
As with last week’s loss to the Lions, the final game stats don’t really tell the story of how one-sided the game was. Washington finished with 20 first downs to Philly’s 21. Washington was 6-17 on 3rd down while Philly was 5-15. Washington ran 74 offensive plays to 68 for the Eagles, and the Commanders out-rushed the Eagles 87 yards to 72 (and had the better yards per carry at 4.0 vs 2.4).
Incredibly, Terry McLaurin posted 102 receiving yards, with virtually all of his production coming after halftime, and he added another 40+ yard pass play. He will undoubtedly be among the top 15 or 20 receivers in the NFL this week, having finished Week 2 ranked 24th in total yards.
For Philadelphia, Devonta Smith was the clear leader on Sunday, with 8 receptions for 169 yards and a TD; like McLaurin, he also added a 45 yard reception. A.J. Brown had 5 catches, 85 yards and a TD, with a long of 38 yards. TE Grant Calcaterra joined the party with a 40-yard reception on his only target of the season so far. Philly’s offensive big plays and Washington’s defensive propensity to give up big plays were both on display at FedEx Field in a game that Commanders fans will be keen to forget.
The major statistical differences, aside from the score, were time of possession (32:54 for Philly), total yards (400 to 240), passing yards (328 to 153) and sacks (9 for 58 yards vs. 3 for 12 yards).
Obviously, Jalen Hurts had another great day, throwing for 340 yards and 3 TDs with no turnovers.
In the end, it was a blowout that dropped Washington to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the division, while the Eagles remain one of the 3 undefeated teams in the league at 3-0, and 1-0 in the NFC East.
For Commanders fans, the hope will be that the team can rebound against a Cowboys team that will be without Dak Prescott next week, and then pick up some energy with the hoped-for return of DE Chase Young and the introduction of RB Brian Robinson – both of whom are currently on Reserve lists — to the NFL when the Week 5 game against the Titans comes around. The team certainly needs something to go right after back-to-back losses.