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Eagles 28, Redskins 13: Five observations from the Birds' win

Scoring early and balancing the offensive attack made a difference.

The Eagles' Rasul Douglas yells after stopping Washington wide receiver Josh Doctson in the first quarter.
The Eagles' Rasul Douglas yells after stopping Washington wide receiver Josh Doctson in the first quarter.Read moreTIM TAI

The Eagles beat the Redskins, 28-13, to even their record at 6-6 entering the home stretch of the 2018 regular season.

What did we learn from Monday night’s game?

Early score

The Eagles finally ended their long first-quarter scoring drought, putting together an impressive 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. It was the first time they’ve scored in the first quarter in six games. The Eagles have scored just 28 points in the first quarter the entire season. That’s the fewest in the league.

>> MIKE SIELSKI: Finally, Mark Sanchez helps the Eagles win a big game

Balancing act

The Eagles had a good run-pass balance against the Redskins, running the ball 17 times in the first half and 22 times in the first three quarters. Their 17 first-half rushing attempts were their most of the season. Darren Sproles, playing for the first time since Week 1, had a 14-yard touchdown run. Josh Adams had another impressive performance.

>> OFFENSE: Carson Wentz survives a few wobbles to air the ball out

Tate is Golden

Yeah, you rush-to-judgment folks who were so quick to trash the Eagles’ acquisition of wide receiver Golden Tate, might want to rethink your position. It took a little while for him to get integrated into the offense, but he had his best game as an Eagle, catching seven passes on seven targets for 85 yards. He had a six-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter to give the Eagles an early lead, and made a shoe-string catch on a two-point conversion early in the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles a two-score lead.

>> DAVID MURPHY: The Eagles offense appears to have found its groove, but will it matter?

Defense rises to occasion

Yeah, I know. There was that embarrassing 90-yard open-road touchdown run they gave up to Adrian Peterson in the second quarter. But aside from that, they did a good job against the Redskins. It certainly helped that the Redskins, who already were missing their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, lost backup Colt McCoy in the first half with a broken leg, and had to go with Mark Sanchez. But, hey, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The Eagles, who had a 46.9 opponent third-down success rate in the last five games, held the Redskins to one third-down conversion in their first nine opportunities.

>> BOB FORD: With one big exception, the Eagles defense stopped the run and the Redskins

Jernigan’s ailing back

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who missed the Eagles’ first 10 games after needing offseason back surgery, left Monday night’s game early with back spasms. The Eagles didn’t need him to beat the Redskins. But having him next to Fletcher Cox down the stretch is kind of important for a team that really can’t afford to lose another game. Maybe it’s nothing, but having back spasms after you just had surgery to repair your back doesn’t seem like a good thing.

>> INJURIES: Tim Jernigan exits early, Colt McCoy fractures leg