The Redskins’ defense, including two often-lost rookies in the secondary, might as well have been 11 men stranded on 11 separate islands, unable to communicate or function as a unit as the Eagles often ran off plays so quickly that the scoreboard could barely keep up with the correct yard line. Option runs helped LeSean McCoy to 184 yards on 31 carries while Michael Vick completed 15 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
“We didn’t do a great job of tackling. Go back to the drawing board and do better. A couple of missed assignments by young guys hurt us,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. Something else hurt, too. For much of the first half, the Redskins defense was so clueless that Eagles receivers were running free everywhere you looked. Minor mistakes didn’t account for the Eagles’ early domination. It’s going to take a big blackboard to get the answers.
By the time the Redskins increased their blitz pressure, took more chances and gave quarterback Robert Griffin III a chance to rally his previously disorganized offense, Washington was in too deep a hole to escape. In evaluating this game, remember that comeback attempts, especially on your home field, are often overly flattering to the loser.
The final score was a testament to the tenacity of RGIII, who led three second-half scoring drives, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson with 1:14 remaining for Washington’s final score. But there was illusion as well as gumption in those save-our-dignity scores.
Griffin showed that his right knee had healed from surgery and that he could scramble, move well in the pocket and, after early inaccuracy, find his passing touch. But every NFL season is filled with games when the trailing team piles up stats like RGIII’s 30-for-49 for 329 yards with two scores and two interceptions. But the loser never has a clean shot at a late victory.
As the Eagles built their lead, Griffin threw two interceptions, one into triple coverage, and tossed a poor pitchout to Alfred Morris that led to a fumble in the Washington end zone and an easy safety for the Eagles.
The Redskins closed what had once been a 21-3 deficit in first downs. But if the Redskins had not gotten a somewhat lucky score early in the game — on a deflected attempt at an Eagles pass into the flat that resulted in an uncontested 75-yard fumble return by DeAngelo Hall for a Washington touchdown — the Eagles might have built a 29-0 or even 33-0 lead.