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Post-game: Redskins beat Eagles 23-20

If you know a cardiologist who doesn’t reside in the Washington D.C area, you should strongly suggest they relocate as there is almost certainly an increase in Redskins fans experiencing heart palpitations today.

All that chest pain was ultimately worth it for Redskins fans though as they watched their team engineer a come from behind last minute 23-20 victory over division rival Philadelphia, and it was the kind of game that has the potential to totally energize the entire season.

This was a game that saw the Redskins go into half time with a huge shut-out lead over the Eagles, only to watch the Eagles snatch the lead back from them requiring 4th quarter heroics. As you can imagine, there were a lot of stories involved, and it brings us to this week’s edition of What worked. What didn’t. What sucked.

What worked

  • In a game that saw the Eagles new Kicker miss a Field Goal and an Extra Point, the Redskins 3rd game veteran Dustin Hopkins remains perfect, drilling three field goals and two extra points in swirly conditions at FedEx Field. He also consistently boots kickoffs out of the endzone, going a perfect 6 from 6 today.
  • The switch at receiver was made pre-game with Andre Roberts a healthy scratch, and the move appears to have paid immediate dividends as Jamison Crowder started in his place and led the team in receptions and yards as he went 7-65. With the news that DeSean Jackson is hopefully going to be available next week as well, this Redskins offense is certainly looking more potent with the speed they have at Wide Receiver.
  • Speaking of Wide Receivers, Pierre Garcon had himself one hell of a fourth quarter today. On the Redskins final drive to win the game, they moved the ball 90 yards on 15 plays, resulting in a fantastic touchdown reception in traffic.
  • That game-winning pass obviously came from Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had himself a nice and solid game. Cousins ended the day with 31/46 for 290 yards and 1 touchdown pass and 1 rushing touchdown. There were some passes thrown today that were not great, but Cousins did enough to guide his team to victory today. Crucially, Cousins didn’t turn the ball over at all, and the only fumble he had today came on the goal line, which he scooped up and rushed in for a touchdown himself.
  • After only getting a total of 4 sacks in the first 3 games of 2014, the Redskins pass rush came out noticeably more ferocious today, and saw their season sack tally rise from 4 to 9 after a 5 sack showing against Sam Bradford. Chris Baker had two early sacks himself in the first quarter, and then late in the game with the result in the balance, Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan, both of whom had admittedly struggled during the game, came up huge and added sacks themselves as well.
  • Although the first rush of the day was a beautiful 42 yard carry by Chris Thompson, the Redskins Running Backs really struggled to get any meaningful yards for a majority of the game. Matt Jones ended the day on 7 touches for just 11 yards, and Alfred Morris was similarly being stymied. However, when the game was in the balance Morris came up huge, busting out a couple of big carries for crucial first downs, including this 16 yard run with the Redskins starting the drive from their own 10 yard line.
  • Even though the final score makes it appear as though this was a fairly evenly matched game, the Redskins were, for all intents and purposes, the clearly superior team today. The Redskins Defense held the Eagles to a measly 14 first downs today, compared to the Redskins 25 first downs. More impressive was the Time of Possession differential, with the Redskins thoroughly dominating the clock, holding the ball for 41:08 compared to the Eagles 18:52. The Redskins led the league in Time of Possession differential going in to today’s game, and it appears they will continue to lead the league after today as well.

What didn’t

  • The fact that the Redskins ended up winning the game will definitely mask some of the issues that plagued the Redskins today, but there certainly were issues that will need to be resolved if this team is to beat quality opponents like they are scheduled to face in the coming weeks. Chief amongst the issues stemming from today was the apparent inability for the Redskins vaunted ground game to net any sort of results. For a majority of the day, Alfred Morris, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson were stuffed time and time again by an Eagles Defensive Line that is good but not great.
  • Going in to half time with a 13-0 lead made it all the more frustrating to see the Redskins come out from half time looking lackadaisical and complacent, and all of a sudden the Redskins were trailing on the scoreboard mid-way through the 4th quarter. This team lacks a killer instinct that champion teams have, and it’s something that will need to be resolved sooner rather than later if the Redskins are serious about wanting to contend for the NFC East.
  • The Redskins Offensive Line had their issues today, and although Kirk Cousins had good pocket protection for most of the day (he was only sacked once), there were a couple of penalties on the Offensive Line that put the Redskins into long-yardage situation and ended drives.
  • Speaking of penalty flags, whilst there were certainly some bad calls that went against the Redskins today, the fact remains that this team has continued to give up far too many penalties in 2015. Today they gave up 10 penalties for a combined 110 yards, which is over a full 1/3rd of the Eagles total 320 yards of offense today.

What sucked

  • When Riley Cooper and Miles Austin burn you deep for touchdowns, it is clear to all and sundry that you might not be at full health. That became very apparent for Redskins fans as they watched Chris Culliver grind through the game clearly unhealthy, and it nearly cost the Redskins the game. Whilst Culliver is undeniably the best Corner on this team, that only applies when he is 100% fit. Playing him was a liability today.
  • Late in the game Jordan Reed left the field injured, and it appears that he’s being evaluated for a concussion. He’s been a huge part of the Redskins offense so far in 2015, and if this team is going to have any chance at upsetting the Atlanta Falcons in week 5, Reed will need to be healthy. Stay tuned.
  • Trailing in the 4th quarter with the ball at the 35 yard line, Jay Gruden opted to punt on 4th and 11. Although the Redskins obviously went on to win the game, the punt went in to the endzone and the result was a net-yards gained of 15 yards. A really strange and frustrating play call given the situation the game was in. A 4th down attempt into the endzone has the possibility of drawing an OPI flag, and Dustin Hopkins certainly appears to have the required range where a 52 yard field goal attempt isn’t out of the realm of possibility. This play call was perhaps the most frustrating one for fans in 2015.
  • The referees were bad today. Period. There were multiple calls against the Redskins that, upon closer inspection, were simply not there. Trenton Robinson was victim to a phantom unnecessary roughness penalty on the Eagles first touchdown drive that was an especially horrible call.

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