The Eagles hosted the Washington Commanders for their annual Salute to Service game at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. They failed to win the turnover battle and instead had to play catch-up with the Commanders all game long in Philly.
Eagles Primetime Vs. Commanders
On Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field in the team’s Salute To Service game. However, the script flipped on the Eagles, who fell to the Washington Commanders 32-21 for their first season loss to drop to 8-1. The team responded in the locker room the right way, and in the big picture, how they bounce back from the defeat is the most important piece of all of this. The 60 minutes of football played against the Commanders is worth examining before moving on in this short week.
“We started out hot and then they responded,” wide receiver A.J. Brown said, “and then we started kicking ourselves in the foot. If you don’t play great ball in this league, if you don’t protect the ball, it’s going to be hard to beat anybody. It’s definitely eye-opening. You’ve got to be humble in this league and you have to go out and prove it every week.” A.J. Brown – Philadelphia Eagles
Where It All Went Wrong
Things started so well for quarterback Jalen Hurts and the offense. A Josh Sweat strip-sack and recovery at the Washington 18-yard line by defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu set up Hurts, and he and the offense took advantage in three plays; a Hurts 12-yard run, a Boston Scott 5-yard gain to the 1-yard line, and then a Hurts quarterback sneak for his sixth rushing touchdown of the year gave the Eagles a quick 7-0 lead.
On the offense’s second possession, the Eagles went nine plays and 78 yards and scored on a Hurts pass to tight end Dallas Goedert; a fake quarterback draw out of the shotgun, and instead, Hurts pulled up and popped a pass over the middle to Goedert for the score and a 14-7 advantage.
The Eagles then generated very little offense on their next three possessions. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times, and all three really hurt. A great, amazing throw from Hurts to Brown in the second quarter hit Brown’s hands but then was jarred away in coverage and somehow intercepted at the Washington 14-yard line by defensive back Darrick Forrest.
This turnover led to a Washington touchdown, a fumble by Goedert in the fourth quarter in Eagles territory led to a Washington field goal, and then, on the next possession, a 50-yard Hurts-to-Quez Watkins completion on which Watkins made a great catch at the Washington 23-yard line, got up and then had the ball punched away at the Commanders’ 20-yard line and recovered by Forrest at the 15.
“Honestly, I was just trying to make a play for the team. I know I didn’t get touched (after hitting the ground on the reception) and I knew I had left two (defenders) behind, so I just got up and tried to get some extra yards,” Watkins said. “I didn’t have good ball security. We’re taught to have good ball security and it cost us. That’s our details. I was hoping I was touched before I fumbled but I knew I wasn’t touched before I got up. I take the blame for that one.“ Quez Watkins – Philadelphia Eagles
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Fly Eagles Nation Affiliate Qalo 2
Washington executed a ground-based offense, which kept the Eagles’ offense on the sidelines. They stuck to the running game and mixed in some play-action passing. This gave the offense makeable third downs. In running 51 offensive plays in the first half, the Commanders converted 9 of 12 third downs, ran for 100 yards on 29 carries, and, other than the first possession, gave quarterback Taylor Heinicke time to complete 12 of 21 passes for 145 yards, with six of those completions and 76 of those yards to wide receiver Terry McLaurin (he finished with eight catches for 128 yards on 11 targets) to lead 20-14 at the half.
This is the formula, and the Eagles know it: Run, run, run, and then use play-action passing. Get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly. Try not to turn the ball over; Taylor Heinicke had one interception but otherwise kept it simple on a 17-of-29 night on which he passed for 211 yards.
“That’s what teams are going to do,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “They are going to run until we stop it. We’ve got to fix our issues. It ain’t about nobody else but us. People can run all they want to run but we have to do our part, too.” Brandon Graham – Philadelphia Eagles
“It’s a mentality. We have a great group of guys and I think we’ll be good, so we need to work and get better and that’s going to be the way we respond, the way we react. This makes us even more hungry. When we get back to work on Wednesday, we have to be hungry, even hungrier than we’ve been.” Kyzir White – Philadelphia Eagles
It really wasn’t about what the Eagles did here; it was more about Washington’s kicking game. Placekicker Joey Slye connected on field goals of 44, 58, 32, and 55 yards, and those kicks made a difference. There was one key penalty on the game’s opening drive, a roughing the kicker call, but Sweat’s strip sack negated that. Washington had those field goals, and every little bit helped knock the Eagles off the unbeaten perch.
“Of course I want to win,” said Brown, who was held to one reception for 7 yards on four targets, “but now all this 17-0 stuff is over with. Now we’re going to wake up and, ‘How are you going to respond?’ It’s all good, man. This is a game that we love to play and sometimes you get hit in the mouth and it’s about how are you going to respond? It comes with it.” “I hope get back up and start fighting back and I feel like we will. We’ve got good teammates in this locker room, a lot of vets.” A.J. Brown – Philadelphia Eagles
After examining this game, the Eagles, now 8-1 and still ranking top in their division, will head into week 11 to face off against the 4-5-1 Colts. The performance of this game does not change my opinion that they’ll assuredly head into week 12 solidly at 9-1. This game can be seen at 11 a.m. MST on CBS, with the Eagles a 7.5-point favorite in the game. Still impressive. And that’s…”The Lex Of It”
Ready to bounce back@1kalwaysopen_ | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/vOfFSFyInr — Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) November 15, 2022