The Washington Redskins kicked off the regular season by getting kicked around by the Philadelphia Eagles. What did we wind up learning?
Obviously, a 30-17 home loss to the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles is not the way you want to kick off a season. Unfortunately, sluggish starts for this club have become the norm. It marks the fifth consecutive year that this team lost its first game.
While the team’s offense can certainly take a big part of the blame for the 13-point setback, it wasn’t a great outing for Greg Manusky’s defensive unit. Yes, quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn’t overly sharp (23-of-40) and the running game managed a mere 64 yards on 17 carries. The sixth-year quarterback was sacked four times and fumbles twice, one of those lost balls resulting in a 20-yard return for a score by Eagles’ defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
All told, Cousins had three of the team’s four turnovers, including a costly interception deep in Philadelphia territory that cost Jay Gruden’s club a chance to put points on the board. The ‘Skins were limited to 264 total yards and managed to convert only three of 11 third-down conversion attempts.
But the boss was also a bit disappointed with the other side of the ball as well. In particular the overall play of the front seven and the team’s inability to get the Philadelphia offense off the field. “That’s something we have to get better on,” said Gruden to Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post. “We have to get better with our four-man rushes when we rush four. We have to get better with our blitzes when we blitz. We have to tackle the quarterback when we have him in the grasp.”
Yes, four turnovers will help another team’s time of possession. The Eagles had the ball for 34:16. And while Doug Pederson’s team did give up a pair of quarterback traps, quarterback Carson Wentz also escaped his share. And Philadelphia was an effective 8-of-14 on third down.
“We missed four sacks at least, so that wasn’t good,” added the head coach. “We had a couple others, I think there was a couple instances, especially on third down. We rushed four and didn’t get much pressure, which hurt us a little bit.”
All told, it wasn’t a happy day for Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins offense. But it really wasn’t a great three-plus hours for the team’s men in the trenches. That must improve this week against old friend Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday.
Russell S. Baxter is the Washington Redskins lead writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Redskins news and features? Like our Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_redskins on Twitter.