The quarterback went from brilliant to awful in a blink. The offensive line fell apart, physically and metaphorically, and couldn’t protect the quarterback. The receivers dropped passes. The defense couldn’t force a turnover. A 17-point lead vanished. To say that the Eagles did a lot wrong in their 27-17 loss to Washington on Sunday is to say that these last six months have been a bit challenging for the country. Let’s get to the good (of which there wasn’t much) and the bad (it’s a good thing there are no word count-limits on the internet).
Carson Wentz was sacked eight times and fumbled twice, but as terribly as the Eagles' offensive line performed, at least the line’s composition — mostly rookies and backups — is a somewhat-viable excuse for its ugliness. Wentz threw two interceptions, the first of which, late in the first half, was the turning point in the game, and he followed that poor throw with five more in a row when the Eagles still had a chance to widen their lead.
Worse, he took often held the ball too long in the pocket. He was primarily responsible for four of those sacks, at a minimum, including one that turned what would have been an easy field-goal attempt into a 53-yarder that Jake Elliott left short. Wentz is now in his fifth season. He has to be better that he was on Sunday.
That Washington defensive line, loaded with first-round draft picks, was as good as advertised, and not just against Wentz and the Eagles' passing game. On 17 rushing attempts, the Eagles managed just 57 yards. Washington doesn’t have much on offense, but that line and that pass rush will keep it in many games this season.
The more Greg Ward plays, the more he demonstrates why his rise last season into a reliable receiver and punt-returner was likely no fluke. He generally does things the right way. In the first half Sunday, he had two third-down receptions that went for first downs. Then, after deciding not to catch a punt near the 10-yard line and allowing Washington to down the ball at the Eagles' 4, he didn’t make the same mistake the next time. He fielded a punt at the Eagles' 10 and returned it eight yards, saving his team a decent bit of field position.
Fox added simulated crowd noise to its telecast of Sunday’s game. But the effect was odd, mostly because the sounds often didn’t align with the action on the field. There were occasions when the Eagles made a good defensive play, for example, yet the fake crowd reaction made it seem as if something had happened during the action — a thrown penalty flag, say — that caused Washington fans to roar in approval. Just weird.