It wasn’t easy, and the first half especially was far from aesthetically appealing, but the Eagles opened with a 32-27 win over the Washington Redskins, making coach Doug Pederson 4-0 in opening-day games. The Eagles spotted the Redskins the first 17 points and were down by 20-7 at halftime. Then in the second half the Eagles went on a 25-0 run before Washington scored with six seconds left to make the final score more respectable. With the win, Pederson is 34-20 (.630), including playoffs. According to the Eagles, that marks the highest winning percentage among head coaches in franchise history.
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Pederson is never hesitant to take a chance, and his instincts often pay off in a big way. Last season The Eagles were successful on 14 of 23 fourth-down attempts (60.9 percent).
In the second quarter of Sunday’s win, Pederson, with his team trailing, 10-0, elected to go for it on fourth and 2 from the Washington 29-yard line. Carson Wentz threw an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson.
Despite that unsuccessful attempt, Pederson made a call in the third quarter that likely turned the game around. The Eagles trailed 20-7 at halftime but got the ball first in the second half. On that first series they found themselves with a fourth and 1 from their own 34-yard line. A miss there, and the Redskins would be in a position to really pile on. Carson Wentz went 2 yards on a sneak, the Eagles got the first down, and they never looked back. They scored on that drive — 12 plays and 75 yards — when Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for a 5-yard touchdown. That first down and, consequently, that drive changed everything.
When asked after the game whether there was any hesitation in going for that first down, Pederson didn’t hesitate to answer.
“None,” he said. “It was about a half a yard, so there was no hesitation. I was going for it there.”
He went for it and the game turned around at that point, with the Eagles surviving an early scare.
Thanks for the question. Brandon Brooks, as Doug Pederson stated after the game, wasn’t injured. He tore his Achilles in the Eagles 20-14 playoff loss on Jan. 13 and has made a remarkable comeback, and the Eagles were just being careful when taking him out. When asked whether it was the team’s intention to put Brooks on a pitch count, Pederson quickly responded: “It was part of the plan.”