TURNOVERS, PENALTIES, MISTAKES LEAD TO EAGLES FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON
Eagles lose a big part of their offense - tight end Dallas Goedert - for significant time due to a shoulder injury suffered during a missed facemask penalty.
Well it finally happened. The Philadelphia Eagles lost a football game. They Birds (8-1) lost in the manner most good teams lose games.
Turnovers, penalties and mistakes ruled the day for the Eagles as the home team dropped a 32-21 verdict to the Washington Commanders.
The score was really 26-21. The Eagles were forced to run a gimmick-filled play with eleven seconds leftin the game from their own ten-yard line with the score 26-21..
Jalen Hurts threw a five yard pass to Quez Watkins, who lateraled to DeVonta Smith, who fumbled…the ball somehow ended up in the hands of Washington backup defensive end Casey Toohill, who walked one yard into the end zone with zeros on the clock…it’s a play he will recount from a rocking chair when he is 87-years old.
It just wasn’t the Eagles night.
The Eagles lost all three fumbles they were charged with committing.
Yes, the fumble by tight end Dallas Goetert with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter should have never been ruled a fumble because it was caused by a brutal facemask by Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis that wasn’t called. But Goedert lost the ball.
Also. it was revealed Tuesday, Goedert will miss extended time due to a shoulder injury he suffered during Monday night's game. NFL Network Insiders Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per sources.
Goedert's shoulder injury is not expected to end his season, per Garafolo and Pelissero.
The Birds scored one touchdown over the last three quarters and committed seven penalties for 75 yards.
The Commanders converted over 57 percent of their third downs.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said the obvious.
“I think for us offensively I don’t think we executed good enough,” said Hurts, who was 17 of 26 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. “We turned the ball over. We weren’t efficient. Nothing was enough. There’s a lot of reflection being held right now. I think it’s an opportunity to grow. That’s the message.”
The Washington Commanders actually had two drives to start the game.
After the Eagles defense forced a three-and-out, Eagles safety Reed Blankenship was called for roughing the punter, Tress Way.
On the first play after the 15-yard penalty was accessed, Josh Sweat strip-sacked Washinton quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The Eagles recovered the fumble on the Commanders’ 18-yard line.
Three plays later it was 7-0 Eagles on a one-yard run by Jalen Hurts.
The Commanders wanted to attack the Eagles weakness, defending the run.
Rookie Brian Robinson, Jr. was handed the ball to do just that.
On the Commanders first three drives (technically) six carries for 26 yards (4,3 Yards per carry)
Antonio Gibson chipped in for four carries for 10 yards and Heinicke chipped in with one carry for five yards.
All those running plays were enough to set up a big completions from Heinicke to Terry McLauin for 26 yards and Jahan Dotson for 14 yards setting up a one-yard run by Gibson that tied the score at 7-7.
Washington’s drive went 13 plays, 75 yards. The Eagles defense struggled for the rest of the evening.
The Birds responded with a methodical 16-play, 78-yard drive of their own…nine plays ending with a six-yard - Tim Tebow style - touchdown pass from Hurts to tight end Dallas Goedert to take a 14-7 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
THE COMMANDERS TOOK CONTROL OF THE GAME IN THE SECOND QUARTER
Washington scored 13 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 20-14 lead at intermission.
The Commanders tacked on three more points in the third…which ended up the winning field goal. Washington kicker, powerfully built Joey Slye, drilled field goals of 44-, 58-, 32-, and 55 yards on the day.
With 14:54 left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles scored on a 12-play, 80-yard drive ending on a 11-yard pass from Hurts to Smith that made the score 23-21.
Two more Eagles drives in the quarter ended in disaster. First was the Goedert fumble, then with 5:58 left in the game, Quez Watkins lost a fumble at the Commanders 15-yard line, after making a brilliant 50-yard catch that was recovered by Washington safety Darrick Forest.
“Honestly we just didn’t play our brand of football,” Watkins said at his locker after the game. “We didn’t play detailed and we didn’t protect the football and that’s what we normally do.”
Brandon Graham finished off the Eagles when he committed an unnecessary roughness penalty with 1:45 left in the fourth on Heinicke with after the Eagles appeared to have stopped their drive and giving Hurts one more chance to pull the game out. The penalty effectively ended the game.
“Sometimes in the season you need that,” Graham said at his locker. “I felt like this was a crucial part of the season. We were on the rise…and then bam! We get hit and it lets you know, we can be beat. And that’s exactly what happened.
“We put it in the refs hands and on top of that we weren’t running our ‘A’ game. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes I think we were feeling outselves…they were just a little more hungry today, and that’s OK. Now we’ve just got to bring it back. What are we going to do next week. I’m more excited on how we respond.”
Robinson finished with 86 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown to lead the Commanders.
His 11-yard score was the definition of heart.
“I know I had a good push for it,” Robinson said. “At that point, I just had to be a football player and know where I was at on the field and try to make a play.”
Washington's veteran center Tyler Larson, who played light years better than Wes Schweitzer played in game three when the Commanders gave up nine sacks of then quarterback Carson Wentz.
Monday night Heinicke was sacked three times, but managed to connect on passes when he had to connecting on 12 of 21 third down conversions.
The Commanders went right after the Birds major weakness…stopping the run.
Washington ran 49 times for 152 yards and two scores. The 3.1 yards per carry wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
Larson was asked if his coaches used the Houston Texans playbook that worked well last week when Dameon Pierce gashed the Eagles for 139 yards on 27 carries.
“We just came in with the game plan that we wanted to run the ball,” the eight-year veteran out of Utah State said at his locker after the game. “We wanted to be aggressive. That’s what we did.”
The Commanders third drive was strong and seemed to reset Washington’s offense. Larson agreed.
“It was huge,” the 6-foot-5, 325 pounder said. “Sometimes you get hit with adversity in the game and it’s how you respond. And that’s what we did.”
The Eagles got hit Monday night. Eagles’ fans can’t wait to see how their team responds next in Indianapolis. *
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