Did you take the over on this one? Did anyone not?
Even those of us who were expecting points weren't prepared for the 25-spot the Eagles put up in the first half on the Redskins at FedEx Field. As is usually the case with Week 1 games, the loss drops the Redskins to 0-1. The Eagles open the Chip Kelly era 1-0.
The Redskins offense took advantage of a lacking Eagles defensive unit by being really unprepared to play an NFL game. Alfred Morris fumbled on the Redskins first play from scrimmage. Robert Griffin III threw an interception on his first official passing attempt following his knee surgery (he unofficially completed his first throw, but the play was called back by an illegal shift, the first sign that the Redskins needed a refresher on the rules of football). The Redskins took a safety on their fifth play from scrimmage, when a routine pitch from Griffin to Morris fell in the endzone as if intended for Taylor Jacobs.
Griffin finished 30/49 for 329 yards, all three numbers were career highs. Morris finished with 45 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. That's a decent fantasy performance, but Morris did not play much in the fourth quarter, as Roy Helu Jr played most of the comeback effort. Leonard Hankerson was the best Redskins reciever with five catches for 80 yards, and RG3's first two TD's of the year. He had a drop.
Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss both had pedestrian days. Josh Morgan and Fred Davis struggled. Jordan Reed chipped in five catches for 38 yards in a debut that we'll take.
DeAngelo Hall (1 penalty – 15 yards) scored a touchdown before Griffin ever took the field. On a second down play in the red zone, Eagles QB Michael Vick attempted a lateral to LeSean McCoy. The attempted pass/lateral was deflected by (you guessed it) Ryan Kerrigan and fell harmlessly to the turf. The ball stayed in play, where it was picked up uncontested and taken to the house by Hall with all the urgency displayed by the Redskins offense tonight. The score gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead that they would not relinqulish for at least two game minutes.
It wasn't a complete lost effort for the Redskins. Griffin, who was pressured a lot in this game, settled down and started to lead the offense down the field. Roy Helu looked really good in the second half. Trent Williams (1 penalty – 5 yards) threw a guy to the ground violently, which is always entertaining when it's not Hall that is doing it. Hankerson shows all the signs of a year three emergence for an offense that really needs it.
Defensively, the Redskins didn't play poorly, which is not something you typically get to say about a team that gave up 33 points. They had two short fields following Redskin turnovers. That's 10 of the points right there. The Eagles dominated time of possession in the first half, but couldn't get anything going in the second half, All of the Eagles big plays came courtesy of QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy…which makes the Eagles offense not that new at all. Although: the Eagles attempted 49 rushes in this game. This was three more rushes than the single-game high under Andy Reid (46), which means that Chip Kelly accomplished more on the ground in three hours than Andy Reid did in 14 years.
The Eagles passing game produced a couple of big plays, but for the most part, the Redskins kept the Eagles receivers under wraps. Even with the dominance on the ground, Vick threw for just 8.0 yards per attempt, which is under Griffin's season average from last season. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, EJ Biggers, and David Amerson had good games vs the pass. Amerson played a potential TD run by McCoy incredibly well while taking on a block, forcing McCoy out at the two yard line. An average RB scores on that play and McCoy is much better than average.
Perry Riley deserves special mention for the game he had (after a couple of rough drives at the start of the game). Riley looks to be on the verge of a breakout season and looks to be the Skins best LB. London Fletcher did the best he could to keep the Redskins in position, but he's going to have a tough time tackling the best open field runners in the NFL. Fletcher doesn't have great athleticism anymore. Brian Orakpo struggled with Vick's elusiveness in his first game back, but looks healthy. Ryan Kerrigan looked great again. Barry Cofield was disruptive. Stephen Bowen had a couple nice hustle plays and split a double team to take a big play away from McCoy in the first half, but did not realize he was being optioned on the Michael Vick TD run, which created a walk in touchdown.
The Redskins LB's played very well against the read option, but the DL didn't, and one thing that stands out about the Eagles OL is their size & athletcism: when they get on a block, the defenders don't get off them.
Redskins safeties Baccari Rambo & EJ Biggers (!) struggled to tackle in the open field, both against LeSean McCoy (excusable) and his teammates (not so much). Rambo got replaced by Reed Doughty in the fourth quarter, which fixed the tackling issues. That's not an adjustment the Redskins can make against a team that's more of a threat to throw the football downfield.
Hey, speaking of which, the Redskins take on the Packers on a short week at Labeau Field next Sunday. This will be a good test for the pass defense, which seems improved over last season — for now. Ryan Kerrigan is being tested right now for concussion-like symptoms, but given his eventual recovery, the Redskins emerged from this game without injury. Small victories. They'll hope to take another one of those small victories against the Packers next week.
If the Redskins can rebound to 1-1, beating one of the NFC's best teams on the road, no one will remember this game. If they fall to 0-2, this one tonight will be the game that got away from them; the more preventable loss.