After the Redskins had made a mockery of Philadelphia's defense today by gaining 487 yards and scoring 37 points, Eagles Coach Dick Vermeil fumed and his players openly questioned themselves.
"Their offense gained more yards on us than any other team has in a very long time," Vermeil said angrily of his defense, which was the best in the NFC two years ago and the best in the NFL last year.
"We tried to build this program on the basis of maintaining our standing as the No. 1 defense in the league and upgrading our offense through the draft. That was a really sound approach, I thought. But we certainly didn't look like the No. 1 defense today."
Linebacker John Bunting: "We've got to change things now or it's going to be a long season. Our techniques, across the board, aren't what they should be. Perhaps we're taking things for granted. If we don't stop, we'll find ourselves the No. 28 defense."
The Philadelphia defense stumbled badly on important plays throughout the game. But those most frequently replayed in the Eagle locker room afterward were two touchdown receptions by Redskin Charlie Brown, playing his first regular-season game as a pro, and two catches by Art Monk which led to the tying and winning field goals.
Brown and Monk beat Eagle veteran Herman Edwards all afternoon, including Brown's 78-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that began the Washington comeback. Edwards went for an interception, but missed, on Monk's 27-yard catch that set up Mark Moseley's game-winning field goal in overtime. Still, Edwards refused to fault himself.
"Everybody's ranting and raving about the coverage," Edwards said. "They (Mond and Brown) just made some good catches. If I had knocked it down (the final pass to Monk), people would say I was a hero. In that situation, you have to go for the ball. They were coming up with grabs all day and so I made the decision to go after it. It's a decision a defensive back has to make every week.
"There's no need for finger pointing. We just have to get back to basics this week and improve. Today's performance is something I am already putting out of my mind."
Roynell Young, the other cornerback, said he thought Edwards defended well on the 10-yard pass across the middle to Monk that set up the game-tying field goal. "Herm had him covered," Young said. "But they ran a delayed pick (the tight end ran interference within his pass pattern), which was ideal play calling."
Still, Young said he was shocked that the Eagles defense could allow so many points, especially at home.
Ken Clarke, Philadelphia's nose tackle, was surprised, too. "Anytime we give up that many points, there's got to be something wrong," Clarke said. "We've got to go back and start again from Base 1."
The problem may have ended with the secondary, but it began with the pass rush. Washington quarterback Joe Theismann was sacked only once today, and had plenty of time to throw, even when the Eagles rushed a linebacker, as they did often.
"We never got the pressure we needed," said Eagles linebacker Al Chesley of Washington, D.C. "Sometimes we put one man on each of their receivers and rushed the rest. But we still didn't get good pressure in crucial situations." Chesley said nobody came even close to blocking Moseley's 48-yard field goal which tied the game at the end of regulation.
"The Redskins had the stick in their hands today," said Chesley, "and they beat us a lot."