The Eagles stumbled out of the gate, but put together a solid win against the Washington Redskins to open the NFL season.
How did the offense, defense and special teams perform? Paul Domowitch offers his grades, and then you can award your own.
It took a while, but the Eagles’ new and improved ground game finally kicked it into high gear in the second half. Darren Sproles and Miles Sanders were the keys to a momentum-shifting 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half, as the pair, along with Jordan Howard, averaged 5.3 yards per carry in the second half.
Carson Wentz is going to have a lot of fun throwing the ball to DeSean Jackson this season. On Sunday, he connected with him on a pair of third-and-10 plays for 51- and 53-yard touchdowns. The 32-year-old Jackson had eight catches for 154 yards as Wentz completed 71.8 percent of his attempts and had a 121.0 passer rating. The Eagles’ line did an excellent job protecting him the entire afternoon.
The Eagles, who were inconsistent against the run last season, weren’t inconsistent Sunday. They held the Redskins to 28 yards on 13 carries and didn’t allow a single rushing first down. Eight of Washington’s 13 runs gained 3 yards or less.
The Eagles’ pass rush needs to be better, much better, than it was Sunday. The defense had trouble putting heat on Case Keenum, who had enough time to throw for 380 yards and three TDs. The Eagles gave up a 48-yard touchdown catch-and-run to tight end Vernon Davis, and rookie wideout Terry McLaurin burned cornerback Rasul Douglas for a 69-yard second-quarter TD that gave the ‘Skins a 17-0 lead.
Darren Sproles had a big day returning punts as well as running the football. He had 17-, 14- and 12-yard returns. The 17-yard return in the third quarter set up the second of DeSean Jackson’s long touchdown catches. The Eagles held Redskins kick returner Steven Sims Jr. to a 15.3-yard average on three returns.
Last year’s slow-start problem, when they scored a league-low 41 first-quarter points, has leaked into this season. The Eagles averaged less than 3 yards per play on their first three possessions as the Redskins jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Even though they came back and won Sunday, they need to find a way to get out to faster starts.