Examining how the Redskins did in their win at the Eagles.
Week 14: Redskins improved to 7-5-1 with a 27-22 win at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 11, 2016)
Passing Game: C+
Kirk Cousins was mixed for a second consecutive game, going 14-of-21 for 234 yards, two touchdowns and a pick-six. He was sacked twice and registered a Raw QBR of 74.4.
Part of the problem was the Redskins not having the ball all that much. They had 46 offensive plays to the Eagles’ 76 and lost the time-of-possession battle by 13:16. Kirk had just nine pass attempts in the first half, during which the Skins had just 21 offensive plays.
But Kirk was guilty of his share of mistakes. Among ‘em:
- Redskins’ eighth offensive drive…Kirk underthrew an out-route pass on an early-fourth-quarter second-and-six 29-yard shotgun pick-six to Leodis McKelvin to cut the Redskins’ lead to 21-19 (the Eagles failed on their ensuing two-point attempt)
- Redskins’ second offensive drive…resulted in Dustin Hopkins’ late-first-quarter missed 38-yard field-goal attempt…Kirk overthrew an open Vernon Davis in the end zone on a second-and-eight-at-the-20 shotgun incompletion…the next play: Kirk threw to Jamison Crowder, who was well short of the first down marker, on a third-and-eight shotgun incompletion
- Redskins’ first offensive drive…resulted in a first-quarter three-and-out…Kirk threw high on a third-and-two shotgun incompletion intended for Crowder, who also didn’t hold onto the ball
However, Kirk also quarterbacked an offense that scored 20 second-half points.
- Redskins’ 10th offensive drive…resulted in Chris Thompson’s fourth-quarter 25-yard under-center-pitch touchdown run that gave the Skins a 27-22 lead with 1:53 left…Kirk had a second-and-10 33-yard shotgun pump-fake completion to Crowder, who made a terrific twisting catch that was overturned into a catch via instant replay…four plays later: Kirk fired a fourth-and-one six-yard shotgun completion to Pierre Garcon
- Redskins’ sixth offensive drive…what was a mere two-play drive in the third quarter…Kirk fired a second-and-nine 80-yard shotgun touchdown bomb to DeSean Jackson
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…Kirk threw a beautiful ball on a late-third-quarter second-and-goal 15-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Garcon, who beat Maryland product Nolan Carroll II on a hitch-and-go
- Redskins’ second offensive drive…resulted in Hopkins’ late-first-quarter missed 38-yard field-goal attempt…Kirk had a first-and-10 16-yard under-center play-action completion to Garcon on the first play of the drive…three plays later: Kirk fired a laser on a second-and-nine 15-yard shotgun completion to Garcon
- Redskins’ third offensive drive…resulted in Rob Kelley’s second-quarter 22-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run…Kirk had a first-and-10 11-yard under-center play-action completion to Kelley…two plays later: Kirk had a second-and-nine 10-yard shotgun completion to Jordan Reed
DeSean had his best game of the season, finishing with three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown on four targets. The Redskins’ third offensive drive, which resulted in Kelley’s second-quarter 22-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run, began with a first-and-10 Fletcher Cox sack of Kirk for a one-yard loss, as he was looking to take an under-center play-action shot downfield but then pulled back and seemed upset with DeSean after the play. Then came the rest of the game.
- Redskins’ sixth offensive drive…what was a mere two-play drive in the third quarter…DeSean displayed amazing ball-tracking skills in adjusting to a Kirk second-and-nine shotgun deep ball for an 80-yard touchdown reception…DeSean essentially went from eyeing the ball over his left shoulder to catching it over his right shoulder in beating McKelvin…DeSean now has 21 career touchdown receptions of at least 50 yards since entering the NFL in 2008; no one else has more than 14 such touchdown receptions in that span
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Garcon’s late-third-quarter 15-yard touchdown reception…DeSean did a spectacular job of getting both feet in bounds on a Kirk second-and-10 21-yard shotgun completion that was challenged by the Eagles but upheld via instant replay
- Redskins’ second offensive drive…resulted in Hopkins’ late-first-quarter missed 38-yard field-goal attempt…DeSean drew a second-and-eight 24-yard pass-interference penalty on Malcolm Jenkins
Reed to his credit returned from a one-game absence caused by a left AC-joint separation suffered in the Week 12 loss at Dallas on Thanksgiving, but he had just one reception for 10 yards on one target in playing on just 21 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps.
Running Game: B
Kelley did the best he could with what was very up-and-down run blocking, finishing with 16 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. More than half of the yardage came on two runs: a second-quarter 22-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run and a third-quarter first-and-10 10-yard under-center-toss run. He otherwise had 14 carries for 31 yards. But I thought he ran hard and physical, as has consistently been the case when he has played this season.
- Redskins’ third offensive drive…happened in the second quarter…Kelley had a third-and-one five-yard I-formation-handoff run…the next play: Kelley had a beautiful first-and-10 22-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run on which he made multiple cuts and got a great downfield block by Crowder on Carroll
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in Garcon’s late-third-quarter 15-yard touchdown reception… the first play of the drive was a Kelley first-and-10 shotgun-handoff run for no gain, but the result should have been a loss of perhaps as many as seven yards, as Kelley dodged avoided both Beau Allen and Brandon Graham in the backfield…Kelley had a first-and-10 10-yard under-center-toss run that included an excellent block by the returning Trent Williams on Carroll
Thompson had three carries for 38 yards and a huge touchdown, as he capped the Redskins’ 10th offensive drive with a fourth-quarter 25-yard under-center-pitch touchdown run that gave the Redskins a 27-22 lead (their ensuing two-point try failed) and came thanks to a big block by Williams on Jalen Mills. Thompson also had a second-and-11 10-yard shotgun-handoff run on the Redskins’ third offensive drive, which resulted in Kelley’s second-quarter 22-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run.
That drive that resulted in Kelley’s touchdown run also included a Kirk a third-and-one two-yard shotgun read-option run.
This easily was the most Jekyll-and-Hyde performance of the season for the Redskins’ defense, which followed an embarrassing first half by manning up in the second half.
The Redskins’ defense in the first half gave up 13 points and 214 total net yards, allowed the Eagles to go 6-for-9 on third downs, allowed Carson Wentz to go 18-of-24 for 177 yards and had no sacks.
The Redskins’ defense in the second half gave up just three points (I’m not counting the McKelvin early-fourth-quarter 29-yard pick-six) and 169 total net yards, allowed the Eagles to go just 3-for-9 on third downs, allowed Wentz to go 14-of-22 for 137 yards and had four sacks, including three in the fourth quarter.
Among the highlights for the defense:
- Eagles’ ninth offensive drive…Wentz passed the Eagles from their own 25 to the Redskins’ 14 in just 1:27 of game time late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins clinging to a 27-22 lead…then came perhaps a season-saving play: a Ryan Kerrigan second-and-10 sack-strip that was recovered by Trent Murphy and iced the game
- Eagles’ second offensive drive…Deshazor Everett did a terrific job of beating Zach Ertz to the ball on a first-quarter third-and-goal-at-the-3 end-zone interception
- Eagles’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in a late-third-quarter and early-fourth-quarter three-and-out off the Skins having taken a 21-13 lead…Ricky Jean Francois tackled Ryan Matthews for a two-yard loss on a third-and-three shotgun-handoff run on the second play of the fourth quarter
- Eagles’ fifth offensive drive…was their first of the second half…resulted in a third-quarter punt…Ziggy Hood tackled Ryan Matthews for a three-yard loss on a first-and-10 under-center-handoff run…two plays later: Chris Baker and Preston Smith split a third-and-five sack of Wentz off a great team rush for a nine-yard loss
- Eagles’ third offensive drive…resulted in Caleb Sturgis’ second-quarter 36-yard field goal…Murphy tackled Wendell Smallwood for a one-yard loss on a second-and-one under-center-handoff run on the final play of the first quarter…six plays later: Smith and Will Compton combined to tackle Brent Celek for a two-yard loss on a Wentz second-and-10 shotgun completion
- Opening drive of the game…resulted in Sturgis’ first-quarter 45-yard field goal…Kerrigan provided heavy pressure and hit Wentz on his third-and-three under-center play-action-toss incompletion intended for Celek
But the Redskins’ defense looked bad way too often in this game.
- Opening drive of the game…resulted in Sturgis’ first-quarter 45-yard field goal…Duke Ihenacho was slow in getting out to the flat on a Wentz first-and-10 13-yard under-center completion to Ertz on the game’s first offensive play and then again on a Wentz first-and-10 nine-yard shotgun completion to Ertz… Kerrigan couldn’t run Wentz down on a second-and-one three-yard under-center play-action-boot scramble
- Eagles’ second offensive drive…resulted in Everett’s first-quarter end-zone interception…Quinton Dunbar committed an obvious first-and-10 44-yard pass-interference penalty on the first snap of the drive…the next play: Mason Foster was late in getting to the flat and then had a missed tackle on a Wentz first-and-10 13-yard under-center completion to Ertz…three plays later: Wentz fired a third-and-five 10-yard shotgun completion to Jordan Matthews…the next play: Jordan Matthews caught the ball in the end zone but just didn’t get both feet in bounds on a Wentz first-and-goal-at-the-8 shotgun incompletion
- Eagles’ third offensive drive…resulted in Sturgis’ second-quarter 36-yard field goal…Ryan Matthews had a third-and-two two-yard shotgun-handoff run on the first play of the second quarter…the next play: Ihenacho appeared to get lost in coverage on a Wentz first-and-10 29-yard under-center play-action completion to a wide-open Ertz…two plays later: Wentz had a second-and-seven nine-yard shotgun completion to Celek
- Eagles’ fourth offensive drive…happened in the second quarter…Wentz had a second-and-seven 14-yard under-center play-action completion to Jordan Matthews…two plays later: Baker dove but failed to sack Wentz on a free rush on a second-and-nine under-center play-action-boot incompletion intended for Jordan Matthews and defended well by Norman…the next play: a Wentz third-and-nine 16-yard shotgun completion to Trey Burton…the play after that: Burton was wide open near the end zone on a Wentz first-and-10 under-center play-action off-schedule incompletion…two plays later: Bashaud Breeland got beat on a Wentz third-and-three 16-yard shotgun completion to Paul Turner…the play after that: Ihenacho had a missed tackle on a LaRon Landry-like shoulder tackle on a Sproles first-and-10 eight-yard shotgun-handoff run…two plays later: a Wentz third-and-one I-formation play-action seven-yard completion to an uncovered Burton…the next play: a Wentz first-and-goal four-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Darren Sproles on a play on which Smith was guilty of a missed assignment
- Eagles’ sixth offensive drive…resulted in the Eagles’ third-quarter botched field-goal attempt thanks to a bad snap by Celek, who was serving as the Eagles’ long snapper due to Jon Dorenbos having gotten hurt…Wentz had a fourth-and-two eight-yard shotgun completion to Ertz, who Foster was nowhere near in coverage
- Eagles’ eighth offensive drive…resulted in Sturgis’ fourth-quarter 41-yard field goal that gave the Eagles a 22-21 lead…Wentz had a third-and-seven 14-yard shotgun completion to an open Ertz…a third-and-14 13-yard shotgun completion to Burton…and on the next play a fourth-and-one two-yard quarterback-sneak run
Special Teams: D+
Hopkins missed his only field-goal attempt, hitting the left upright on a late-first-quarter 38-yard attempt. He now is 28-for-35 on field goals this season. Six of the seven misses have come over the last seven games.
Tress Way had a good game, averaging 47.0 yards and 45.3 net yards on three punts.
Crowder had punt returns of eight and five yards.
The Redskins also had three special-teams penalties.
- Matt Ioannidis committed a late-second-quarter seven-yard holding penalty on a Thompson kickoff return, giving the Redskins the ball at their own 7, though Kirk proceeded to simply take a knee to end the first half
- Everett mistimed a hit, and the result was a vicious blow on Sproles that gave him a concussion and resulted in a 15-yard interference-with-opportunity-to-catch penalty in the fourth quarter, sparking a scuffle…FOX Sports’s Mike Pereira called the hit “a football play”…the ensuing Eagles drive resulted in Sturgis’ fourth-quarter 41-yard field goal that gave the Eagles a 22-21 lead
- Everett also committed a 15-yard illegal-blindside-block penalty on an early-fourth-quarter Crowder punt return…the ensuing Redskins drive started at their 16 and resulted in Kirk’s early-fourth-quarter 29-yard pick-six to McKelvin
Mack Brown suffered a concussion in the third quarter.
The Redskins’ offense played this game without:
- Spencer Long (inactive due to a concussion suffered in the Week 13 loss at Arizona)
- Shawn Lauvao (inactive due to a groin injury that plagued him during the Week 13 loss at Arizona)
- Matt Jones (inactive for a sixth straight game and a healthy inactive for a fifth straight game)
- Rashad Ross (inactive for a fourth straight game)
- Nate Sudfeld (inactive for a 13th straight game)
- Josh Doctson (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 21 due to a left Achilles injury that dated back to the spring and had limited him to having played in just the first two games of the season)
- Silas Redd (suspended indefinitely without pay for multiple violations of the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse)
Will Compton suffered a PCL sprain in the third quarter.
Sua Cravens suffered a right brachialis strain in the first quarter.
The Redskins’ defense played this game without:
- Will Blackmon (inactive due to a concussion suffered in the Week 13 loss at Arizona)
- Anthony Lanier (inactive for a second straight game due to a lower-leg contusion suffered in the Week 12 loss at Dallas on Thanksgiving)
- DeAngelo Hall (placed on injured reserve on Sept. 27 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the Week 3 win at the Giants)
- Kedric Golston (placed on injured reserve on Sept. 19 due to a hamstring injury suffered on the Redskins’ first defensive play of the game in the Week 2 loss to Dallas)
- Junior Gallette (placed on the non-football-injury list on July 28 due to a torn right Achilles tendon; it was a torn left Achilles tendon that cost him all of the 2015 season)
- Steven Daniels (on injured reserve due to a torn labrum suffered during training camp)
The Redskins now have won five consecutive games over the Eagles for the first time since a six-game winning streak against them from 1981-84.
There was a lot of talk after this game about whether Thompson should have purposely fallen down prior to scoring on his fourth-quarter 25-yard under-center-pitch touchdown run with 1:53 left. Thompson should have gone down on purpose, as the Eagles had just one timeout left. The play would have been multiple Kirk knees and then a chip-shot Hopkins field goal for the win. Thompson going down on purpose would have been the wrong strategy had the Eagles had more than one timeout left. What’s especially interesting is that the Redskins actually told Kirk to tell Thompson to go down on purpose should he bust loose for a first down, but Kirk did not relay the message.
The Redskins won the coin toss and deferred, much to the dismay of many. There also has been a lot of talk about the Redskins needing to stop deferring off coin-toss victories, as the defense time and again has put the Skins in holes early in games this season. I disagree. Deferring is the optimal strategy. If you’re at home, the opposition begins the game with the ball and the crowd in theory at among its loudest levels. If you’re on the road, you avoid having the ball with the crowd in theory at among its loudest levels, and then you begin the second half with the ball and the crowd still filing back from halftime activities (bathroom, concessions, etc.). The defense has to get stops at some point. By the way, 82.5 percent of opening kickoffs were deferred during the 2015 regular season, up from 65.6 percent in 2014.
The Eagles, incredibly, used three long snappers in this game. Dorenbos played on just four special-teams snaps before leaving the game due to a wrist injury. He actually tied the Eagles’ record for consecutive games played in this game but underwent wrist surgery on Sunday night and now is done for the season. The Eagles had a third-quarter botched field-goal attempt thanks to a bad snap by Celek.
Playing-time observations: Kendall Fuller did not play on a single defensive snap…Foster, with the injuries to Compton and Cravens, played on a season-high 97 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps…DeSean played on a season-high 88 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps.
Williams had those big blocks on Thompson’s fourth-quarter 25-yard under-center-pitch touchdown run and Kelley’s third-quarter first-and-10 10-yard under-center-toss run and seemed to do quite well in his return from a four-game suspension without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Arie Kouandjio started at left guard for Lauvao and was solid.
Kory Lichtensteiger did not play off being activated on Saturday (Dec. 10) from injured reserve, which he had been on since Sept. 27 due to a calf injury suffered in the Week 3 win at the Giants.
The corresponding roster move to activating Lichtensteiger was waiving Maryland product A.J. Francis.
The Redskins waived Dashaun Phillips on Dec. 5 but signed him back to their practice squad on Dec. 7.