10 observations from Eagles-Redskins

10 observations from Eagles-Redskins

November 17, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Najee Goode celebrates after sacking Robert Griffin III in the first half of the Eagles' 24-16 win over the Redskins. (AP)

BOX SCORE

Well, that was quite an ending, eh? What is it about the Redskins? Two big halftime leads for the Eagles, two near collapses in the second half.

Nonetheless, a win is a win, no matter how scary, and the Eagles -- winners of four games last year -- now find themselves 6-5, in first place in the NFC East and winners of five of their last seven games after their 24-16 win over the Redskins on Sunday at the Linc (see Instant Replay).

Their first home win since Juan Castillo was fired! Amazing!

1. What else does Nick Foles have to do to shut up all his doubters and detractors once and for all? He hadn’t won in a hostile environment? He throws seven touchdowns in Oakland. He hasn’t beaten a winning team on the road? He throws three TDs in Green Bay. He hasn’t beaten a division team or won at home? He throws for 298 yards and runs for 40 more with a touchdown in a 24-16 win over the Redskins on Sunday. If Foles had been a first-round pick out of USC, everybody would love him. But he’s a third-round pick out of Arizona, so people just refuse to buy in. Well, believe it: The kid can play.

2. A few notes on Foles: Late in the second quarter, he threw his 188th consecutive pass without an interception. That gave him the second-longest streak in franchise history without an INT, ahead of Dononvan McNabb’s 187-attempt streak in 2006. Foles’ streak reached 199 by the end of the game and is now second-longest in Eagles history, behind Michael Vick’s streak of 224 straight passes without an interception to open the 2010 season. Foles has the best interception percentage in NFL history, and he now has just two interceptions in his last 385 pass attempts. Incredible.

3. Same deal as the first Eagles-Redskins game, right? Not being able to put the 'Skins away. Chip Kelly got greedy going for it on that fourth down early in the fourth quarter instead of just punting deep and making a team that hadn’t scored all day drive the length of the field. He gave a dead team momentum near midfield, and the Redskins picked up their first touchdown on their ensuing possession. When you give a dead team momentum, they generally take advantage of it. Chip’s been very good during this stretch, but that was not a smart decision. He also got a little too conservative in the second half against a lame Redskins secondary. Gotta keep taking shots down the field, and they stopped. Almost cost them.

4. What a mammoth punt with 3½ minutes left by Donnie Jones. His 70-yarder down to the Redskins’ 4-yard line. It was the longest Eagles punt since an 80-yarder by Randall Cunningham in 1994 (see story). That was clutch.

5. I wasn’t crazy about Jason Peters playing Sunday. He’s clearly banged up, clearly not playing at his usual all-pro level, clearly not the Jason Peters we’re used to seeing, and you have a capable backup in Allen Barbre who played very well in Green Bay. Give Peters the week off and a bye week, let Barbre play against the 'Skins, and see where you are. Peters did not play well Sunday, and when the Eagles needed yards behind him, they weren’t there. I would have preferred Barbre.

6. Brandon Boykin is such a playmaker. This kid just comes up huge in big moments. That’s four interceptions this year for a guy who doesn’t even start and on Sunday didn’t even play very much, since the Redskins play so little three-wide. I understand Bill Davis’ reasoning for not wanting him to play outside corner, but I just think he needs to be on the field. A lot.

7. Connor Barwin has been a really underrated addition to this team. Barwin has been pretty solid all year, but he probably had his best game Sunday. Just a smart, physical guy who’s around the ball. When was the last time the Eagles didn’t have a linebacker who drove us all crazy? Ever?

8. The Eagles’ red-zone defense is pretty remarkable. They give up a ton of yards, but they are tough to score on. If you’re going to take ownership of one area of the field, may as well be where the end zone is.

9. I don’t understand the Redskins’ offense, and I don’t understand how they’re using Robert Griffin III. They just seem to run the ball all the time until the game is out of hand, then they start chucking it all the time. He just doesn’t look right, and part of it is probably the knee, but he missed open guys, and he didn’t even look that fast running. He was 10 for 44 rushing, which is OK but nothing special, and he took a ton of hits. He’s an incredible athlete, but in that offense, I just don’t see him ever winning anything.

10. Yes, that was scary, but think for a moment where the Eagles are now compared to a year ago. Last November, they went 0-4, losing by an average of 16 points per game. They were an embarrassment. They couldn’t even compete. This November, they're 3-0, winning by an average of 22 points per game. They’ve won five of their last seven, they’re in first place in the NFC East, their defense has allowed an average of 17.1 points in its last seven games, and the offense is rolling. Kelly deserves a ton of credit for coming in here and changing a losing culture virtually overnight, getting youngsters and veterans alike to buy into his unusual methods and turning one of the NFL’s worst teams into a tough, smart, disciplined, competitive bunch. Football is fun again in Philadelphia.