The Philadelphia Eagles entered this past weekend having lost two straight games to quality teams (Seattle and Dallas), but even though they were going on the road to face a division rival, surely they could handle lowly Washington, right?
The Eagles (9-6) lost to the Redskins, 27-24, on Saturday and are now out of playoff contention.
Just how shocking was this result?
“Well, like most people, my expectation was that Philly was going to be able to win that game,” Westwood One Sports NFL and college football analyst Derek Rackley said on Tiki and Tierney. “Even playing on the road, I felt like they were a better team at the time. Washington had been searching; they’re trying to find consistency at the quarterback position, and as long as (the Eagles) found a way to get LeSean McCoy involved in the ball game along with Jeremy Maclin, I felt like they were going to have a really good chance of winning that game.”
McCoy and Maclin had solid games, but neither was spectacular. McCoy carried 22 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Maclin had four catches for 62 yards.
Those two, however, were not the problem.
“Early on, it just seemed that things were not working for (the Eagles),” Rackley said. “I mean, they just continued to get penalized, and it was penalty after penalty and it was like, ‘I don’t know if they’re going to have enough to be able to survive all these penalties.’”
The Eagles committed 13 penalties for 102 yards. They also had two turnovers – both by Mark Sanchez (one interception, one fumble).
“There’s just no way in the National Football League you can expect to turn over the football and have 13 penalties when you’re playing on the road and give yourself a chance to win,” Rackely said. “Even when they did make a big play, it seemed like there was a holding penalty, which ended up backing them up behind the chains. And then you get a guy like Mark Sanchez behind the chains, he starts pressing a little bit and then he starts making throws that honestly he shouldn’t be. That’s just not the type of quarterback that Mark Sanchez is.”
Sanchez finished 37-of-50 for 374 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned two turnovers.
Robert Griffin III, meanwhile, didn’t have great stats – 16-of-23 for 220 yards and an interception – but he did get the win. Still, even though Jay Gruden praised RG3 after the game, the compliments seemed a little backhanded.
What do we make of the relationship between these two?
“I’ve said this before: I really (think) Jay Gruden has done a really nice job of handling this situation,” Rackley said. “This is (a situation) that a head coach never wants to walk into where he’s got a quarterback that was drafted extremely high, that was not playing very well, that the organization likely wants to see in the game – but he, deep down in his heart, feels like he’s got a better chance to win with somebody else. He’s challenged RG3, but he hasn’t just completely thrown him under the bus, in my opinion. I think he’s done a pretty good job.
“At the end of the day, they’re a four-win team,” Rackley continued. “They’re a four-win team that has got a lot of questions going into the offseason, and I just really felt like these last couple of weeks, RG3 was playing to make his case to continue to be the starting quarterback for the Redskins – and I think he made a step in that direction.”