Talk about a tale of two halves. Almost everything went right for the Washington Redskins in the first half of their 2019 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Everything was working on both offense and defense as Case Keenum, Derrius Guice and Terry McLaurin made their debuts with the club. The team scored their first opening-drive touchdown since 2004 and before the first half was done, the Eagles were being booed off the field facing 17-0 and 20-7 deficits. Washington amassed an astounding 278 yards through two quarters.
The break was good to Doug Pederson and the Eagles though, as they stormed back behind a defense that started to befuddle Jay Gruden's offense and a big-play offense that became unrelenting. When it was all said and done, Washington would fall by the final score of 32-27.
It was over when . . .
Carson Wentz connected with DeSean Jackson for a second deep-strike score in the third quarter. Washington had enjoyed a big first-half lead, but the defense started to wilt once Jonathan Allen went down with injury and the offensive line started committing bad penalties and failing to handle Jim Schwartz's DL stunts. Once Philadelphia took a 21-20 lead, they never looked back.
There was plenty to be excited about early on for the Washington Redskins, and though the come-from-ahead loss is certainly frustrating, there was plenty to build on.
In the week leading up the game, the feel-good story being passed around the national media was how Keenum keeps winning starting jobs everywhere he goes. The missing piece is he keeps being dismissed by the teams he went to. Regardless, the starts have been good and on Sunday, boy did he start well. Keenum was able to find a myriad of receiving options to all parts of the field, including a huge bomb down the middle to rookie Terry McLaurin.
Keenum showed exactly why head coach Jay Gruden went with him instead of the future franchise QB Dwayne Haskins. He finished the game
Davis checked into the starting lineup with Jordan Reed's concussion, and got the club off to a great start. After catching a pass from Keenum on the right sideline, Davis hurdled an
3 catches for 104 yards in the first half. McLaurin was kept under wraps for the majority of the preseason, but fans finally got to see him unleashed. His numbers could've actually been better, as he got behind the Eagles' secondary for what would've been another 70+ yard score, but Keenum overthrew him down the middle of the field. It's not just the speed, though. McLaurin showed his much-improved hands snaring a sideline pass over a defender in impressive fashion.
Holcomb was a fifth-round pick out of North Carolina and probably wasn't expected to contribute much on defense, but injuries changed the course of the offseason and Holcomb comtinued to impress. On Sunday, he was the team's best tackler, with 8 combined tackles on defense, including two TFLs. Holcomb also chipped in with a special teams takedown.
Key stat: 154
That's how many yards wide receiver DeSean Jackson was able to gain on eight catches against the Washington secondary. The former Redskin had no match on the field, able to do whatever he wanted at every level of the field.
- It certainly didn't feel like the same old Redskins to start the season. Getting the opening possession, Washington was able to string together multiple first downs using a combination of runs with Guice and passes to Paul Richardson, Jeremy Sprinkle and Guice as well. Soon after, Vernon Davis turned back the hands of time when he caught a pass along the sideline and hurdled Eagles defenders. The tackling was sloppy and Davis escaped for a 48-yard touchdown.
- Injury updates: DE Jonathan Allen left the game in the first half with a knee injury and didn't return. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a hand injury making a tackle near the goal line. DL Caleb Brantley left the game with an ankle injury in the second half.
- Washington's defense is supposed to be their strong part this season, but they had no answers for former Eagle, former Redskin, former Buc, once-again Eagle wideout DeSean Jackson. Jackson beat them across the middle, to the sideline and most importantly down the field. Josh Norman, Montae Nicholson, it didn't matter. Everyone got embarrassed in the secondary.