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Redskins Start Slow, Fall to Eagles 20-13

Posted Oct 16, 2011

Coming off their bye, the Redskins found themselves in a 20-0 first-half deficit to the Philadelphia Eagles. John Beck took over for a struggling Rex Grossman in the second half.

Team Quarter Play Score
Eagles 1 Celek 7-yard pass from Vick (Henery Kick) Eagles 7-0
Eagles 2 McCoy 1-yard run (Henery Kick) Eagles 14-0
Eagles 2 Henery 28--yard field goal Eagles 17-0
Eagles 2 Henery 24-yard field goal Eagles 20-0
Redskins 2 Gano 50-yard field goal Eagles 20-3
Redskins 3 Gano 26-yard field goal Eagles 20-6
Redskins 4 Beck 3-yard run (Gano kick) Eagles 20-13

Redskins.com’s Gary Fitzgerald takes a closer look at Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField:


The Redskins entered Sunday coming off a bye and facing a golden opportunity to emerge as legitimate NFC East contenders and deal a season-ending setback to the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, they were dealt a nightmare scenario by the so-called “Dream Team.”

The Redskins fell into an early hole to the Eagles, trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter. They spent the rest of the afternoon trying desperately to catch up. A quarterback change and a late rally fell short and the Redskins lost 20-13 at FedExField.

Yes, you read that right – let the quarterback drama ensue in Washington. Rex Grossman completed just 9-of-22 passes for 143 yards and threw four interceptions. He was replaced at the beginning of the fourth quarter by backup John Beck.

It was hoped Beck would provide a spark, and he did lead the offense on its only touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles managed to hold on to the ball for the final 2:44. Beck finished with 7-of-15 pass completions for 117 yards.

It didn’t help the Redskins’ cause that Trent Williams suffered a high ankle sprain, Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a knee ligament injury and Chris Cooley had a fractured index finger.

A team that had entered the bye with great optimism now faces plenty of questions despite a 3-2 record. Adversity has reared its ugly head.


Trailing 20-6, the Redskins were handed a great opportunity to mount a comeback against the Eagles midway through the third quarter. The defense had just knocked Eagles quarterback Michael Vick out of the game and his replacement Vince Young quickly threw a poor pass that was intercepted by cornerback DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins had the ball at the Eagles’ 29-yard line. One play later, Rex Grossman threw a short pass to tight end Fred Davis that was picked off by safety Kurt Coleman. The Eagles stole back momentum and Vick trotted back onto the field. Suddenly there was a sense that the Redskins’ offense simply did not have what it takes to come back against the Eagles.


Early in the first quarter, Redskins linebackers Brian Orakpo and Rocky McIntosh had Michael Vick in their sights. The snap from center sailed past Vick and running back LeSean McCoy – the play appeared to be a direct snap to McCoy – and Vick raced back to scoop up the ball at the Eagles’ 1-yard line. On came Orakpo and McIntosh and all Vick could do was throw the ball away. A flag came in and the first thought was it would be intentional grounding on Vick. Instead, Orakpo and McIntosh were flagged for roughing the passer. (It appeared Orakpo’s helmet collided with Vick’s helmet.) Instead of a third down from the 1-yard line, the Eagles had a first down at the 31. It proved to be a key early play because Vick proceeded to guide the Eagles on 11-play, 82-yard touchdown drive.


Running back LeSean McCoy lived up to Mike Shanahan’s billing as one of the top running backs in the NFL. Eleven of McCoy’s carries went for 1 yard or less, but McCoy still found a way to gash the Redskins’ normally solid run defense for 126 yards on a career-high 126 yards – a 4.5 yards-per-carry average – and one touchdown. For the Redskins, the top candidate for “Player of the Game” has to be tight end Fred Davis, who was the go-to guy on offense with six catches for 95 yards.


Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe turned in his finest game since joining the Redskins. He tallied eight tackles and a sack of Michael Vick. Early in the third quarter, shortly after the Eagles connected on a 59-yard pass play to the Redskins’ 21-yard line, Atogwe intercepted a pass that had been tipped high into the air by nose tackle Barry Cofield.


-- Two of Rex Grossman’s four interceptions were especially costly because they sabotaged Redskins’ scoring opportunities. The first came on the Redskins’ first drive, in which Grossman’s deep throw to Fred Davis was picked off by a leaping Kurt Coleman at the Eagles’ 4-yard line. On the second, Grossman suggested there may have been some miscommunication between he and Davis on the pass route, allowing Coleman to step up in front of the throw for the pick at the Eagles’ 5-yard line.

-- Rex Grossman’s final interception, coming late in the third quarter, was a scramble and he thought Jabar Gaffney was going to run a come-back route. Instead the defender – Kurt Coleman again – came back for the ball. Was that Grossman’s last pass as the Redskins’ starting quarterback? Time will tell.

-- What happened to the Redskins' ground game? Running back Ryan Torain started and did not appear to have the same burst as he did two weeks ago in St. Louis. Torain posted just 22 yards on 10 carries. The Redskins had to get away from the run in the second half when they were trailing by more than two scores, so Torain's opportunities were limited.

-- Left tackle Trent Williams got off to a rough start. On the Redskins’ first offensive series of the game, he was flagged for holding. Then, after Rex Grossman threw an interception, Williams was involved in a tussle with an Eagles player on the field and was flagged again for unnecessary roughness. The play gave the Eagles a first down at their 18-yard line instead of the 3. Williams’ day ended in the athletic trainer’s room due to a high ankle sprain.

-- Eagles used some trickery on their first score and took advantage of Brian Orakpo’s aggressiveness. Tight end Brent Celek chipped Orakpo on a pass rush and then released him. Michael Vick tossed a short pass to Celek who was wide open. Pass routes by Eagles’ receivers helped clear the middle of the field and Celek raced into the end zone untouched.

-- The Eagles’ league-best run game is enhanced due to Michael Vick’s scrambling skills, so take that into account when judging the Redskins’ run defense on Sunday. Overall, the Redskins allowed 192 rushing yards on 38 carries, a 5.1-yard average. LeSean McCoy led the way with his 126 yards and Vick added 54 yards, including a 25-yarder to set up an Eagles field goal in the second quarter.

-- The Redskins’ defense allowed 6-of-16 third-down conversions, their worst output in five games this season. It’s one of the reasons the Eagles dominated time of possession by a 38:08-to-21:52 margin in the game.


-- The move to John Beck at quarterback did not appear to give the Redskins an immediate spark. Still, Beck guided the offense on an 11-play, 8-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter. He connected with wide receiver Donte Stallworth for a 15-yard gain on a 4th-and-9 play and also tossed a 32-yarder to wide receiver Terrence Austin. Beck capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, the second of his career.

-- Fred Davis was clearly a big part of the Redskins’ game plan, as coaches hoped to match him up against the Eagles’ inexperienced linebackers. Davis was targeted 11 times in the game, tops in the game. He caught Rex Grossman’s first pass of the game for a 12-yard grab. He also grabbed 17-yard and 18-yard catches late in the second quarter to help set up the Redskins’ first score, a Graham Gano field goal.

-- Jabar Gaffney beat double coverage to pull in a 45-yard grab midway through the third quarter. The big play set up another field goal by Graham Gano.

-- DeAngelo Hall and Oshiomogho Atogwe logged interceptions in the game. Hall’s was an easy one. Vince Young, replacing an injured Michael Vick for two plays, badly under-threw a pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Hall grabbed it for his first interception since Week 8 of the 2010 season.

-- Graham Gano kicked a career-long 50-yard field goal to close out the first half. It tied a career-long for the third-year kicker. Gano also had a 28-yarder in the third quarter and would have a shot at a 51-yarder had the Redskins not committed a delay of game infraction, pushing the team out of field goal range.


This one isn’t pretty. In the last two Redskins-Eagles games at FedExField, the combined first half score is 65-17. Clearly the Redskins need to get off to a faster start against Michael Vick and the Eagles.


The Redskins had entered Sunday's game relatively injury free. Not anymore, though. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a knee ligament injury that could sideline him for the season. He was carted off the field and taken into the locker room for further evaluation. Lichtensteiger was replaced by first-year lineman Erik Cook in the lineup. Then Trent Williams was sideined with a high ankle sprain and replaced by veteran Sean Locklear. Finally, Chris Cooley left the game with a fractured index finger that will require surgery.


“I knew we would get the Eagles’ best shot, but I was also expecting us to give them our best shot and we didn’t do that.” – London Fletcher


Chris Cooley and DeAngelo Hall were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but they were able to play. Running back Tim Hightower was available even though he was questionable with a shoulder injury, but coaches opted not to play him. Anthony Armstrong continued to rest a hamstring injury and Phillip Buchanon – returning from a 4-game NFL suspension – was sidelined with a neck injury. Also inactive for the Redskins: Mike Sellers, Markus White, Willie Smith, Leonard Hankerson and Darrion Scott.


First things first: who starts at quarterback? Rex Grossman or John Beck? Mike Shanahan said that he would likely name a starter on Wednesday. Up next on the schedule, the Redskins travel to Charlotte, N.C., for a game against the NFC South's Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET. It’s the Redskins’ first regular season visit to Carolina since 2009, when they lost to the Panthers 20-17.


The Redskins can't let this loss to Philadelphia derail a promising season. Unfortunately, given the uncertainty at quarterback now, that's a possiblility. It'll be up to the leaders on both sides of the ball to rally this team around the quarterback, whether it's Rex Grossman or John Beck.



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