The Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) opened up their season with a 30-17 victory over the division rival Washington Redskins (0-1) on Sunday afternoon at FedExField. The Eagles can officially say that they broke the streak of losing their last five games against the Redskins. The game was filled with turnovers, penalties, and good defense on both sides.
After stopping the Redskins on their first drive, the Eagles offense got to work. Quarterback Carson Wentz made a miraculous play that can best be described only by showing the play itself.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 10, 2017
After that score, the sloppy play began on both sides. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox sacked Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, and in the process forced a fumble that was recovered by Philadelphia’s Jordan Hicks. Hicks always seems to find his way around the football, and today was no different. On the ensuing drive by the Eagles, a backwards pass by Wentz went off of the hands of receiver Nelson Agholor and was recovered by Redskins linebacker Mason Foster.
The Eagles resumed the scoring early in the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown pass to running back LeGarrette Blount. However, kicker Caleb Sturgis missed the extra point, leaving the Eagles with only a 13-0 lead. Washington’s offense wasn’t able to get much going in the first half, but their defense made a key play that kept them in the game. Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan intercepted a Carson Wentz pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, leaving the score 13-7 Eagles. Washington was able to put together one good drive late in the first half that ended with a 29-yard touchdown catch and run by running back Chris Thompson. Philadelphia was able to retake the lead with a 50-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis that made it 16-14 going into halftime.
The second half began with a Philadelphia drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal, making the score 19-14 Eagles. Washington responded with one of their best drives of the game, a 16 play, 66 yard drive that lasted 8:32 and ended with a 33-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins. The score stood at 19-17 for the remainder of the third quarter thanks to the Eagles pass rush forcing an errant pass by Kirk Cousins that was intercepted by cornerback Jalen Mills.
Both offenses weren’t able to get anything going in the fourth quarter until Philadelphia extended their lead to 22-17 with a 37-yard field goal. The Redskins began a drive with under two minutes left in the game and needing to score a touchdown to take the lead. On the second play of the drive, the Eagles pass rush got to Cousins and forced a controversial fumble that was recovered by Fletcher Cox and returned 20 yards for the touchdown that increased Philadelphia’s lead to 30-17 and ultimately sealed the game. The play was put under review because it looked like Cousins might have been in the throwing motion, meaning that it would be an incomplete pass and not a fumble. However, after the official review, it was confirmed as a fumble.
Key stats and other storylines
- Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz opened up his second season by completing 26 of 39 passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was under pressure all day long, but he did a good job of escaping for the most part, limiting himself to getting sacked only two times. His quarterback rating for the game was 96.8.
- On the opposing side of the field, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t have a good game. Cousins completed 23 of his 40 passes for 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His quarterback rating was 72.9 for the game. One of the main reasons for Cousins’ bad play was that he was being pressured on almost every play. He was hit around all day, sacked four times, and he fumbled twice.
- The Philadelphia pass rush is everything that was advertised. As mentioned above, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins was finding himself on the ground a lot throughout the game. Defensive end Brandon Graham led the charge with two sacks and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox added a sack and a forced fumble as well.
- The run game was ineffective for both sides. The Eagles managed 58 yards on 24 attempts, a 2.4 average; while Washington managed 64 yards on 17 attempts for a 3.8 average yards per attempt. One of the Eagles offseason acquisitions, running back LeGarrette Blount, totaled 46 yards on 14 attempts to go with his one yard touchdown catch.
- Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor had probably the best game of his career, totaling 86 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Alshon Jeffery, one of the Eagles free agent signings this past offseason, totaled three catches for 38 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz continued to make his mark as one of the team’s top offensive weapons by hauling in eight catches for 93 yards.
- The Eagles were penalized eight times for 76 yards, something that head coach Doug Pederson will be sure to go over with his team. If the Eagles play undisciplined like they did today, things won’t go well in next week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Injuries, injuries, injuries. On the Eagles’ side, cornerback Ronald Darby suffered a dislocated right ankle, and will be having an MRI on Monday for ligament and tendon damage, via Ian Rapoport. Left tackle Jason Peters left the game early due to a groin injury, but it didn’t look serious. The Redskins suffered no serious injuries during the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles continue their season in Kansas City next week against Andy Reid’s Chiefs (1-0). You can watch that game at 1 p.m. on FOX.
Mandatory photo credit: Hunter Martin/philadelphiaeagles.com
A student at Shippensburg University studying Communications Journalism, Matt is a diehard Philly sports fan who is trying to pursue his dream of covering a Philly sports team.