Eagles’ win was as ugly as the gap between J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Washington’s Terry McLaurin
The battle of drafted rookie receivers was extremely one-sided.
LANDOVER, Md. — Practice squad survivor Greg Ward might have been the best wide receiver at FedEx Field in the fourth quarter Sunday, but before that, the honor surely belonged to Washington’s Terry McLaurin.
McLaurin, a third-round pick from Ohio State, caught three passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in the first half, five for 130 overall. It was his third game this season with 100-plus receiving yards and a touchdown, something no other Washington rookie has ever done. He has 51 catches for 833 yards and seven touchdowns, overall.
McLaurin’s yardage total Sunday was an exact match for that of Eagles second-round wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside -- that is, for Arcega-Whiteside’s season total, on eight catches.
Arcega-Whiteside was one of only three healthy Eagles wide receivers. But of that group, only Ward (seven catches, 61 yards, on nine targets, including the game-winning touchdown) caught a pass.
Arcega-Whiteside was targeted twice and made no catches.
At the end of the Eagles’ first drive, Carson Wentz tried to hit him in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the Washington 7, but Arcega-Whiteside couldn’t figure out how to work through traffic and the pass fell incomplete. Had he not stopped running when he saw he was walled off, he might have drawn a pass-interference penalty.
McLaurin set social media ablaze by arranging for his former Ohio State coach, Urban Meyer, to sit in Washington owner Daniel Snyder’s box. Washington is not expected to stick with interim head coach Bill Callahan after the season.
“He wanted to come support me at the game,” McLaurin said. “It has nothing to do with his coaching status at all.”
McLaurin ran away from an Avonte Maddox tackle for the game’s first touchdown, a 75-yarder that should have been 15, but that is the sort of thing the Eagles defense has been letting happen. He said his former college quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, “did a great job of putting the ball in front of me.” After that, he said, he was “just wanting to make a guy miss and use my God-given ability to run away from the guy.”
Haskins said McLaurin “motivates me because he knows what it takes. He really does a great job with bringing great leadership to the receiving room.”
Haskins said that even though there are plenty of veterans on the receiving corps, McLaurin, Washington’s leading receiver, is “someone they rely on.”
Eagles were lineup-challenged
As expected, the Eagles took the field against Washington missing even more key starters than they were missing the week before.
Lane Johnson was inactive with a high ankle sprain, suffered against the Giants, Nelson Agholor was out for the third time in four weeks with a knee problem, Derek Barnett missed his second week in a row with an ankle injury, and Jordan Howard missed his fifth game with a shoulder injury.
If there was any good injury news, it was that corner Ronald Darby, who suffered a hip flexor injury in practice Friday, played Sunday, and as far as we know, the Eagles didn’t lose anyone else during the game.
Healthy inactives were Sua Opeta, Nate Sudfeld, and Shareef Miller. Alshon Jeffery is on injured reserve; former Redskin Rob Davis came up from the practice squad and made his Eagles debut, as one of three healthy wide receivers. Davis played but was not targeted.
Washington right guard Brandon Scherff was inactive, which should have helped the Eagles’ pass rush but did not. The Eagles were the first Washington opponent since Week 6 not to record a sack.
Also missing was Washington’s best corner, Quinton Dunbar. The Redskins placed their best pass rusher, Ryan Kerrigan, on injured reserve late last week.