Mission accomplished. The Eagles played hard in Sunday night’s 20-14 loss to Washington, and still managed to hang on to the sixth pick in the April draft. Let’s hand out the grades:
Jalen Hurts had a pair of 6-yard touchdown runs in the first half and had 4 of the Eagles’ 7 rushing first downs. With Miles Sanders not playing, Boston Scott got his heaviest workload of the season and did a nice job, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries.
Hurts made some nice throws, but only completed 7 of 20 passes for 72 yards and had an early interception. He also underthrew an open Quez Watkins in the end zone in the third quarter. Nate Sudfeld, who replaced Hurts in the fourth quarter, completed just 5 of 12 passes and also had an interception.
Even though they were missing 2 D-line starters, including six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the Eagles held Washington to 3.8 yards per carry.
The Eagles intercepted Alex Smith twice, sacked him 3 times and held him to 5.1 yards per attempt. Darius Slay did an excellent job on Washington’s top wideout, Terry McLaurin. McLaurin, who torched the Eagles last season, had 7 catches, but for only 40 yards. He did have an early 5-yard TD against Grayland Arno
The Eagles gave up a costly 20-yard punt return to Stephen Sims in the second quarter that set up Washington’s go-ahead touchdown right before the half. Greg Ward returned a season-high 4 punts, but averaged just 4.5 yards per return.
Despite all of the no-hat-zone nonsense, the Eagles’ top priority Sunday clearly was to walk away with the sixth pick in the April draft, and they accomplished that, sitting a number of their starters. It will be interesting to see what the league office has to say about Doug Pederson’s decision to sit down Jalen Hurts in the fourth quarter of a 3-point game and insert Nate Sudfeld. Jim Schwartz’s undermanned defense deserves a ton of credit for the way they played, holding Washington to 248 yards and forcing 2 turnovers.