In the first half of Sunday's showdown between the Washington Football Team and the Eagles, Washington looked exactly like the team everyone expected: inconsistent, uneven, and unable to capitalize on short bursts of momentum. In the second half, they flipped the script and staged a 17-point comeback to complete a 27-17 win against Philadelphia. In analyzing Washington’s Week 1 win against the Eagles, we’ll take a look at the key takeaways and factors that led to this surprising outcome.
1. Dwayne Haskins completely outplayed Carson Wentz
Even though Haskins didn’t put up Hall of Fame type numbers, he played well enough to lead Washington up and down the field with ease. Haskins completed 17 passes out for 31 attempts for 178 yards and one TD Pass. He was also able to find relative success on the ground, rushing for 17 yards on seven attempts. For Washington fans, this was especially encouraging to see after watching a shaky rookie campaign from Haskins last season. For Wentz, this wasn’t his best game. Wentz threw the ball a whopping 42 times and was only able to complete 24 of his attempts. Wentz did have 272 yards and 2 TD passes, but he also had 2 interceptions. Wentz was constantly pressured by Washington’s terrifying defensive line, and we could see the effects on several passing plays today.
2. Philadelphia’s Offense was no match for Washington’s Defense
According to the great Bill Parcells, the game is won in the trenches. It all started with Washington’s D-Line. Washington totaled 8 Sacks today, with 2 from Ryan Kerrigan, 1.5 from Chase Young, and 1.5 from Matt Ioannidis. When Wentz was under pressure today, it wasn’t a good sign for Philly. Wentz threw 2 interceptions today, both of which occurred when he was under pressure. Having a dominant D-line gave Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio more flexibility with his play-calling today. Del Rio could play more zone coverage because Washington would still be able to get pressure on Wentz. Washington’s D-Line also set the secondary up for success. If it wasn’t for the constant pressure Wentz was receiving throughout the entire game, it’s highly unlikely Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Morland would both be entering Week 2 with interceptions. It was a statement win for the Football Team, but it may have been an even bigger statement from the defense.
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3. Washington’s Rushing Attack was way too diverse for Philadelphia’s Defense
When you look at the box score of this game, you don’t know where the bulk of Washington’s Offense came from. Well, the rushing attack was great for Washington in a lot of ways. Despite cutting Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice before the season, Peyton Barber and Antonio Gibson picked up the slack. Barber was the workhorse on the ground, rushing for 29 yards and 2 TD’s on 17 attempts. Gibson pitched in 36 yards on 9 attempts, including a 23-yard run. The numbers won’t shock anyone, but it’s more surprising that the Eagles couldn’t stop it. You’d think a D-Line with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, and Malik Jackson would be able to disrupt plays in the backfield, but it wasn’t the case in this game.
The good news for the Eagles is they will have a chance to rebound in week 2, as they'll host the 1-0 Los Angeles Rams in their home opener in Week 2, looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2015. Washington will travel to Arizona for their first road game of the year next week in their attempt to remain undefeated.