The Washington Redskins began the 2019 campaign with a 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Here are five takeaways from the Week 1 defeat.
1. Tale of Two Halves
The Redskins looked to be on their way to a blowout victory through 20 minutes of game action Sunday. Quarterback Case Keenum had just hooked up with rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin for a 70-yard touchdown -- the longest of Keenum's career and the first-ever for McLaurin -- to give the Redskins a 17-0 lead. And although Philadelphia responded with a score of their own later in the second quarter, Washington capped an impressive opening half with a 48-yard field goal. Entering intermission, the Redskins held a 20-7 advantage.
But in the second half, the Redskins offense completely stalled. There were several penalties that put the unit in unfavorable down-and-distance situations, which led to back-to-back-back three-and-outs. Defensively, the Redskins gave up big plays and could not get off the field on third down.
"I'm tired. I'm tired right now," Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said after the game. "When you don't have that surge up front, that's just fact there... You have to put guys away. You have to shut the door."
The Eagles capitalized on these miscues by scoring 25 straight points to turn a double-digit deficit into 12-point lead in the game's final minutes.
2. Terry McLaurin's Debut Is One To Remember
On Sunday, third-round rookie Terry McLaurin transferred his success from training camp and the preseason into his NFL debut Sunday. On a play-action pass, Keenum launched a lofting ball towards the middle of the field, allowing McLaurin to accelerate past Eagles safety Rasul Douglas for an easy catch and run that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown. McLaurin paced all Redskins pass-catchers with five receptions for 125 yards on seven targets.
3. Miscommunications Lead To Two Deep Touchdowns
He wanted his return to Philadelphia to be special, but Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson couldn't have imagined a better homecoming. Jackson, the NFL's active leader in yards per reception, gashed the Redskins secondary for eight receptions totaling 154 yards and two touchdowns. After beating Josh Norman early in the second quarter for a 51-yard score, Jackson broke loose again against Montae Nicholson, who provided over-the-top coverage behind Jimmy Moreland but rotated over too late to prevent the score.
4. Penalties Plague Redskins Offense
After taking a dominating 17-0 lead early in the second quarter, the turn of the tide became evident due to key penalties on both sides of the ball for Washington. The Redskins committed 12 penalties totaling 96 yards, their third-most in a game since the 2013 season. On the contrary, Philadelphia committed only six penalties for 54 yards. With the infractions often occurring on manageable down-and-distances, it put the offense in uncomfortable situations where it could not convert.
5. Davis Puts Redskins On Top; Holcomb Flashes Speed, Instincts in Debut
The Redskins couldn't have envisioned a better start to their 2019 season. On a bootleg to his right, Case Keenum found a crossing Davis for a 48-yard touchdown. Davis put forth a spectacular individual effort on the play. As he approached the sideline seemingly out of space, the 14th-year tight end turned upfield and then hurdled a defender. With his legs flailing in the air, Davis regained control and took off towards the end zone for a Redskins touchdown.
Holcomb, who inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan described as a special talent, finished second on the team with eight tackles (seven solo) and two tackles for a loss. Holcomb started alongside NFL veteran Jon Bostic and second-year man Shaun Dion-Hamilton in a rotation that worked well against the Eagles. (The trio combined for 13 tackles and three tackles for loss.)
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (knee) and Caleb Brantley (ankle) both exited Sunday's game and did not return. After the leaving the field in the first quarter, Allen was seen running back onto the sideline from the tunnel after departing the field of play later in the game, a positive sign moving forward for the Redskins defense. After the game, head coach Jay Gruden said Allen suffered a knee sprain and is week-to-week.