Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eagles skirt Redskins in contentious NFC East battle

Philadelphia, PA -- Nick Foles overcame a makeshift offensive line, took his share of hits and still managed to throw three touchdown passes to carry the Philadelphia Eagles to a 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins.

Foles passed for 325 yards on 28-of-42 efficiency despite the Eagles failing to establish a running attack behind mostly reserve offensive linemen.

LeSean McCoy carried 20 times for just 22 yards for Philadelphia (3-0), which has come from behind in all three of its wins this season. Jeremy Maclin made eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown, and rookie Jordan Matthews made the first two touchdown grabs of his career.

Philadelphia is the first team in NFL history to win its first three games in a season after trailing by 10-plus points at one time in each contest.  In addition, the Birds opened up a year with three straight wins for the first time since kicking off the 2004 campaign at 7-0.

Kirk Cousins got the start for Washington, which lost starting quarterback Robert Griffin III last week to a dislocated ankle. Cousins played well in reserve, leading the Redskins to a convincing win over Jacksonville.

The Michigan State product was sharp in this one as well, throwing for a career-best 427 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Pierre Garcon had 138 yards and a score on 11 catches, and former Eagle Desean Jackson made an 81-yard touchdown grab among his five receptions.

Jackson's TD was the 10th of his career from 60-plus yards. Only 15 players in NFL history have more.

The final score overshadowed an ugly brawl early in the fourth quarter following an illegal hit on Foles. Defensive lineman Chris Baker crushed an unaware Foles following what appeared to be an interception, leading to the scrum. Baker was ejected, along with Eagles Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.

Jackson caught Cousins' second pass of the game for six yards and immediately heard boos from the Philadelphia crowd. Cousins looked his way again for a 13-yard gain later in the drive and after Jackson was tackled by two Eagles defenders, he drew a 15-yard penalty on Philadelphia after shoving cornerback Bradley Fletcher. The 11-play, 82-yard drive ended in a 4-yard touchdown reception from Darrel Young.

Chris Polk quickly tied the score, taking the ensuing kickoff back 102 yards for the first Eagles kick return TD since Quintin Demps in 2008.

Washington again carved up Philly's defense on its next trip, scoring when Cousins found Garcon on a quick slant from four yards out.

Foles and the Eagles offense finally ran their first play from scrimmage at the 2:01 mark of the first quarter. During the series, McCoy took a blow to the head from David Amerson and went to the locker room to get himself checked out. Reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week Darren Sproles replaced him and lost a fumble inside the Redskins 20.

Midway through the second, Foles completed a 21-yard pass near the left sideline to Riley Cooper on 3rd-and-11. Washington challenged the call, which was upheld, and Foles found a wide open Matthews in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown four plays later to pull Philadelphia within 17-14.

Washington's Kai Forbath hit field goals from 49 and 44 yards in the second quarter, but the Eagles scored a late touchdown to take a lead into halftime.

The Foles-Matthews duo was back at it on the final drive of the half. Philadelphia started with just over a minute left and all three timeouts and executed to perfection. Matthews caught three passes on the 8-play drive, the last of which was an 11-yard TD grab in heavy traffic.

Washington ran 11 or 12 plays on all four of its first half drives, scoring on all four, but the Eagles owned a 21-20 edge at the break.

Cody Parkey kicked field goals on Philly's first two drives of the second half to give the Eagles a 27-20 lead. It vanished late in the third, when Cousins went up top to Jackson for a game-tying 81-yard score.

Jackson's TD was the 10th of his career from 60-plus yards. Only 15 players in NFL history have more.

Already without starting left guard Evan Mathis, right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce, the Eagles offensive line took a near fatal blow with Peters' ejection. Every reserve lineman that dressed was on the field for the fourth quarter, and Washington's defensive line took advantage.

Foles faced immediate pressure on dropbacks and McCoy found no running lanes.
With 10:07 left to play, Foles overthrew Brent Celek and appeared to be intercepted by Bashaud Breeland. Baker blind-sided Foles during the run back, causing him to writhe in pain on the ground for a few minutes before shaking off the blow. Philadelphia's nearby players jumped to Foles' defense, and an extended dust-up ensued.

The ball was ruled incomplete and Philadelphia retained possession. Foles then found Jeff Maehl for 15 yards and benefited from a pass interference call before finding Maclin for a 27-yard TD to put the Eagles in front with 7:34 left.

Cousins' first pass of the next series was picked off by a diving Malcolm Jenkins, who intercepted Andrew Luck in Week 2 at a similar point in the game. The turnover set up Parkey's 51-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game.

Roy Helu's 55-yard pitch-and-catch from Cousins put the Redskins back in scoring position, and Helu capped the drive with a 1-yard TD plunge to cut the lead to 37-34 with 4:16 remaining.

Washington got it back with 2:25 on the clock following a three-and-out Cousins' fourth-down
pass for Garcon fell incomplete, and the Eagles took over and ran out the remaining time.

Notes: Kelce left the game in the third quarter with an abdominal injury ... Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks missed the game with a calf injury ... The Eagles have won six straight regular-season home games, while Washington has lost eight straight on the road ... Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall also left in the third quarter with an Achilles injury ... Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather made his season debut after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit in the preseason ... Washington running back Alfred Morris had 77 yards on the ground.
Post a Comment