In their 8-0 frolic through the NFL, the Eagles’ 2022 roster was on full and bright display. The big names played big games.
That winning formula crashed Monday night in a disheartening, 32-21 loss to Washington.
- Where was A.J. Brown?
- What happened, Dallas Goedert?
- Where was Darius Slay?
- Why wasn’t Miles Sanders utilized more frequently?
- Where was the run defense?
- Where was the third-down defense?
- Where was the crisp, in-command coaching we saw in the first half of the season?
Successful teams don’t need all of their stars to show up every game, but against the division-rival Commanders, they needed *someone* to step up.
And, they needed to hold onto the football. This was the first game in which the Eagles lost the turnover battle, with an interception and three lost fumbles.
ONE RECEPTION FOR BROWN
Brown had one catch for seven yards on four targets.
- “You don’t want to judge nobody when things are going good,” Brown said. “You want to judge a man when his back is against the wall and how he responds.
- “Like today, I had one catch for seven yards. That’s part of it. I know how I’m going to respond. I’m definitely motivated.
- “I know this team is going to bounce back. That’s part of the game. If you don’t go out and play your best ball, whoever we play, it could be the worst team in the league. They can beat you.”
TURNOVERS STOPPED EAGLES
Dallas Goedert had three catches for 23 yards. His fumble early in the fourth quarter stopped a drive. Replays showed Goedert was grabbed by the face mask but there was no call and Eagles coach Nick Sirianni wasn’t going there with the refs.
The Eagles had clawed back to a 23-21 deficit and had momentum after C.J. Gardner-Johnson intercepted Washington’s Taylor Heinicke at the Eagles’ 7-yard line.
- “We gotta have better ball security there,” said Sirianni, who conducts a master’s class in ball security.
- “We take a lot of pride in how we protect the football. We were obviously loose with it, that’s how they got it out.”
MUTED RUNNING GAME
Miles Sanders ran the ball one time in the first half for six yards. The Eagles ran only four times in the first half while passing 15 times.
Sanders can’t call his own number, of course. We wonder why the Eagles didn’t run more in the first half. One theory: They only had the ball for six minutes, 11 seconds, in the first half as Washington went on long scoring drives.
When they finally got the ball, they aired it out.
In the second half, Sanders ran 11 times for 48 yards. Ignoring the run is not a winning strategy for the Eagles.
- “Offensively, we had our opportunities and we just did not capitalize on them,” center Jason Kelce said. “A lot of mistakes. They made plays when they needed to. We didn’t.
- “We’ve been great at ball security and taking care of the ball and some turnovers. It seemed like everybody took turns at making mistakes, myself included, so it’s a good opportunity to watch the tape and learn from it.”
SLAY: ‘CORRECT MY MISTAKES’
Darius Slay wasn’t Big Play Anybody on Monday night. The Commanders’ Terry McLaurin had eight catches for 128 yards, including a 41-yarder that set up a field goal that put Washington ahead, 23-14.
- “It’s the NFL,” Slay said. “These are grown men playing a professional game, so anything can possibly happen at any given time. I’m glad it happened right now instead of the one we really need.
- “I’m going to go out there and correct my mistakes, look at film, see what I did wrong and and see what kind of adjustments I need to be making.”
In the last two games, the Texans and Commanders moved the ball on the ground against defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s unit. Washington ran 49 times for 152 yards.
Washington converted 12-of-21 third-down plays, keeping the ball out of the Eagles’ hands.
“That’s what teams are going to do,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “They are going to run until we stop it.
“We’ve got to fix our issues. It ain’t about nobody else but us. People can run all they want to run but we have to do our part, too.”
Hurts has played like a league MVP — until Monday night. He played a solid game, not a spectacular one.
Hurts was 17-of-25 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. His interception was into double coverage trying to connect with Brown.
Fumbles by Goedert and Quez Watkins — after a 50-yard reception — stopped the league’s third-ranked offense.
- “I think there have been games in the past where you’d hear us say maybe leaving money on the table,” Hurts said. “Opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of.
- “I look at this game and I say we were repeat offenders of that. And today it got us.”
This wasn’t the 24th birthday DeVonta Smith wanted. The wide receiver had a strong game with six catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. But there was no one wearing midnight green in much of a party mood afterward.