Pierre Garcon and Patrick Chung exchange words during the Eagles' 33-27 victory Monday night. (USA Today Images)
Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis didn't know what to expect from his defense Monday night.
And apparently, neither did the Washington Redskins.
The Eagles in the first half of Monday night's 33-27 victory held the Redskins to three first downs and 75 yards. Quarterback Robert Griffin III was 5 for 11 for 53 yards and recorded a paltry passer rating of 22.2. Running back Alfred Morris rushed for 26 yards on seven carries. Wideouts Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon had three combined receptions for 33 yards.
“It’s just [that] we didn’t know what they were going to show on defense, and they surprised us," Garcon said. "They had a lot of looks that we weren’t expecting and we just didn’t get the hang of it until the second half, but that’s football.
"We’ve just got to make plays. We couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t catch the ball, we couldn’t get our play calls in. It wasn’t Robert. It was the whole team. It was the whole offense. Good thing this game is behind us -- we can learn from it, move on and look forward to next week."
The Redskins in the first 30 minutes ran only 21 plays and had the ball for only 9:40.
"We really didn't feel like we got a good sweat in until the second half," RG3 said.
After LeSean McCoy's TD put the Eagles up 33-7 early in the third, the Redskins started chucking it.
"I've been telling people and Coach knows this, players know this -- we can sit there and drop back with the best of them -- that's just not our game," RG3 said. "But whenever it's called upon to do that, we're able to do it, and that's what we did in the second half, and it generated a spark for us."
Washington in the final two quarters piled up 307 yards and 22 first downs (the Eagles had only five). The Redskins scored three touchdowns in the final 15:11 to make it close. Granted, if Jason Avant had held on to the ball and Patrick Chung had come down with that duck in the end zone, then it wouldn't have been. But they didn't, it was.
"First half was awesome. I'm not necessarily excited about that second half," cornerback Brandon Boykin said. "We've got to play four full quarters. We made a lot of mistakes, especially on defense, that second half."
The Eagles were caught in the prevent vs. prevent-a-win defense dilemma.
"It's playing with a big lead," Chung said. "You gotta protect against the touchdown, but at the same time, you can't just give them things."
Plus, the Eagles weren't facing Gus Frerotte. This was RG3. He completed 25 of 38 passes in the second half for 276 yards.
"They counted on him more," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "He had to drop back more and make reads and get rid of the ball. I felt like we had good pressure on him. He made a couple throws -- that's going to happen in this league. He's a great player.
"It left a bad taste in my mouth that we didn't close it out better. ... But hey, it's easy to take with a W."