Ten observations from the Eagles' shutout win over Washington
The Eagles won by picking the Redskins defense apart using a short passing game that provided big dividends
LANDOVER, Md. -- The Eagles beat Washington 24-0 to end the season with a 9-7.
Here are 10 quick takes:
Foles takes control
Nick Foles took what the defense gave him and picked apart the Redskins defense. The short passes were there to take advantage of all game and Foles did just that. Often checking down to receivers, Foles tied an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions. The Redskins were primarily playing zone defense and the Eagles were finding plenty of open gaps and in turn, Foles was hitting his targets, rarely forcing the ball. Before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a chest injury, Foles completed 28 of 33 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns an one interception. He completed passes to eight different receivers.
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Sudfeld gets into the act
After Foles' injury, Nate Sudfeld threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Nelson Agholor that traveled about 10 yards in the air and the Eagles receiver did the rest. It was a nice job by Sudfeld not to panic while facing some heat from the Redskins pass rush in throwing his first career TD pass.
Jeffery showing great versatility
The versatility of Alshon Jeffery was on display a number of times throughout the game, especially in the first half. While the 6-foot-3 218-pound Jeffery is outstanding in the red zone, a player able to win jump balls, he showed plenty of other skills.
In a first-quarter drive that led to the Eagles' first field goal, Jeffery caught a 16-yard third down pass that resulted in a first down on the Redskins' 21-yard-line. Jeffery, a former standout high school basketball player, showed his agility by somehow getting both feet inbounds along the sideline. (BTW, on that play Darren Sproles did a great job in pass protection, giving Nick Foles the needed time).
On his two-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone, Jeffery had to fight off Josh Norman, not only to hold onto the ball, but to keep possession while going to the ground. That showed great strength by Jeffery.
A defining drive
On the Eagles 19-play, 87-yard drive that ended with Jeffery’s 2-yard TD reception late in the second quarter, the Eagles showed great balance in play calling. There were eight runs, 10 passes (and one sack). The drive took 11 minutes and 49 seconds. The longest play in the drive was a 14-yard reception by Jeffery over the middle. In the first half the Redskins defense played fairly well, limiting the big play, but the Eagles took what they were given and didn’t need to go for the home run, especially with the defense playing well.
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A second defining drive
More of the same occurred in the third quarter when Foles 6-yard scoring pass to Agholor capped a 13-play 68 yard drive that took 7:23. In that drive the Eagles passed eight times and ran five.
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Completing to backs
The Eagles continually had success throwing to their running backs either on swing passes out of the backfield or screens. Seeing that the Redskins were not diligent in picking up the backs coming out of the backfield, Foles get using them effectively as receivers. Eight of Foles’ 19 first half completions went to running backs.
Not helping his quarterback
Redskins receiver Josh Doctson didn’t help quarterback Josh Johnson when he threw an interception on the Redskins first play from scrimmage. Johnson was forced out of the pocket and considering he was on the run, made a decent throw down field. The ball hung up and Doctson didn’t adjust and go to the wall. He allowed Eagles corner Rasul Douglas to beat him to the ball on a play that set the tone for the Eagles defense.
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While Johnson isn’t a very accomplished quarterback and there is a reason why he was out of football until being signed by the Redskins on Dec. 5, he has good scrambling ability. Early in the second quarter the Redskins were moving with the ball on their own 44-yard line. Johnson had an open lane on a scramble, but a text-book open-field tackle by Malcolm Jenkins limited the gain to six yards. Had Johnson gotten by Jenkins, there was a lot of open territory. On the next play, even though he wasn’t credited with a tackle, defensive end Brandon Graham strung the play out on another Johnson run. Douglas came in to make the tackle for a loss of five. After that the Eagles took control by going on their scoring drive that elapsed nearly 12 minutes.
The game was over with the Eagles leading 24-0 in the fourth quarter, but it showed the tremendous athleticism of Fletcher Cox as Johnson rolled on the right and tried to cut in, but Cox made the tackle at the spot, inhaling the Redskins quarterback. A player with Johnson’s quickness couldn’t elude Cox in the open field.
Best fourth quarter chant
“Let’s go Bears,"from the many Eagles fans at the game.
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