The good and bad from the 30-17 loss to the Eagles.
- Defense made a few plays. They didn’t make enough and they were terrible on 3rd down like last year but Ryan Kerrigan’s interception was off a tipped pass by Stacy McGee, first-down pressure on a key 4th quarter drive forced an intentional grounding loss of 16 yards, and Kendall Fuller disrupted a first-half lateral that ended up in a fumble recovery for the Skins.
- Chris Thompson. Great run after a very good Cousins throw against the blitz for a touchdown. Kirk had a chance for a similar play in the 4th quarter but overthrew Crowder on a back-breaking interception.
- Zach Brown as a run-stopper. He’s an athlete who will make plays all season long in the run game. He led the team with 12 tackles; 2 for loss. He nearly had a few sacks as well but Wentz ducked him. He’s not very good in coverage however…appears to be liability there. Perhaps he’s a 1st-2nd down linebacker….3rd down pass rusher.
- 4 turnovers. It’s hard to win an NFL game with 4 turnovers. Kirk’s pick was the worst of them but the Crowder fumbled punt return put them in a 13-0 hole early.
- Offensive line. It was manhandled all day long. The Skins were made one-dimensional because of their lack of a rushing attack and they couldn’t handle Cox, Graham, and Jernigan in pass pro at any point during the game. Morgan Moses seemed to have the worst day but it wasn’t good across the board.
- Terrelle Pryor. He had a bad day dropping multiple passes including a huge 1st and 10 when they started from their own 1 yard line down 19-17 in the 4th quarter. He also seemed to give up on a few deep shots.
- Kirk Cousins. He started slowly and finished badly with the interception on 3rd and 6 early in the 4th quarter when they were down 19-17 and in the red zone. The throw before it to Reed was off as well. He got into rhythm a little on their last drive of the first half and the first two of the 2nd half but he was under siege for much of the day and inaccurate often as well. I liked the way he made more plays than usual with his legs. He was the teams’ leading rusher. That’s not good but it showed a willingness on his part against a defense that owned the Skins’ offensive line. Those that think Kirk should’ve just throw it away on his interception because they were in FG range are nuts. He knew where to go just like he did against the pressure on the Thompson TD but he threw it badly to Crowder. That should’ve been an easy first and goal.
- 3rd-down D. It was just plain awful again. They allowed 8-14 conversions…several of those 3rd and longs. They got pressure some of the time but not enough much of the time. A 3rd and 21 was nearly converted if Jeffrey had held onto the ball although it was covered pretty well by Breeland. Wentz made some plays against pressure so give him credit too.
- No running game. Kirk was the leading rusher with 30 yards. The toss sweeps early looked good as did a few of the zone runs. But they were one-dimensional offensively from the start.
- The fumble at the end was too close to call for me. Kirk’s arm was clearly moving forward but it wasn’t conclusive on the ball being loose before or during the arm movement. I think it probably was in his hand long enough but it must be conclusive to overturn the call on the field and I’m not sure it was.
- Jay Gruden’s team wasn’t sharp again for his 4th straight season opener. It will be said over and over that their preseason work wasn’t enough during preseason games but it has to be more than that. The Skins didn’t get to the quick passing game quickly enough after it was clear that the Philly defensive front would overwhelm the Skins’ offensive line. When they finally did, they moved the football more effectively. He didn’t seem to realize early that the more effective run plays were sweeps and zone runs. The dive plays seem to consistently cause down and distance problems. The defense lined up offsides twice in the game. Those things are little things that seem preventable and cost teams yards and games if they’re not cleaned up.
- Gruden’s clock mgt was weak again. The timeout he called with 1:26 left in the first half gave the Eagles an additional 30-40 seconds when they got the ball back. The goal there was to score and leave the Eagles with as little time as possible. This is an area where he struggled last year…it potentially cost them 3 pts today.
- I hated the soft coverage at times especially at the end of the first half. Philly called their final timeout and ran a play with 15 seconds on the clock. They got an easy pitch and catch to the sideline to Ertz untouched. That set up the Strugis FG at the end of the half.
- Wentz missed a lot. Carson Wentz finished 26-39 for 302 yards but he missed some potential big plays too. He had a wide-open receiver on the throw that was nearly picked by Norman. The lateral to Agholor that resulted in a fumble was poorly thrown. He had Torrey Smith open deep for a touchdown but overthrew him by a mile.
- Philly’s decision to go for 2 after the fumble recovery/TD was dumb. They made it but a miss would’ve given the Skins a chance to tie with FG/TD (down 28-17) instead of needing two touchdowns.