Rapid Reaction: Redskins 31, Eagles 6
November, 18, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' fairly easy victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at FedEx Field.
What it means: The Redskins move within two games of the division-leading Giants, and at 4-6, they are not, technically, out of the race for this year's playoffs. Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, seven 4-6 teams have recovered to make the playoffs. No 3-7 team has done so, however, so while the Eagles are not officially eliminated, their sixth loss in a row renders any remaining hope they may have had pretty much historically impossible.
Meet Mr. Griffin: Washington's rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, was 14-for-15 for 200 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 85 yards on 11 carries. Griffin is a spectacular player, there is no doubt, and he likely won you your fantasy football game this week if you started him. But his performance against the Eagles' defense was par for the recent course. Over the past four games, since the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replaced him with Todd Bowles, opposing quarterbacks are 76-for-97 for 901 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Eagles' defense.
Big plays: Griffin completed touchdown passes of 6, 17, 49 and 61 yards in the game. The 49-yarder to Aldrick Robinson was an embarrasing breakdown in coverage between Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Nate Allen, who left Robinson incredibly alone in the end zone. The 61-yarder was a heave into double coverage on which Santana Moss made a great, tough catch and fought his way into the end zone against overmatched Eagles safety Kurt Coleman. Griffin was smart and skilled enough to spot major weaknesses in the Eagles' secondary, and he took advantage of them.
Shady injured: The worst part of the day for the Eagles may actually have come in the final two minutes, when star running back LeSean McCoy went down with an injury and had to be carted off the field. Because the injury happened so late in the game, there was no word on its severity before the game ended. Obviously, we will update you as news comes in on this.
The "other" rookie: Third-round pick Nick Foles made his first career start at quarterback for the Eagles, who were playing without injured starter Michael Vick. Foles looked like a shaky third-round rookie, throwing two first-quarter interceptions and struggling for rhythm and consistency against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. It sounds as though Vick will be out for a while, so Foles is likely to get another start next week against Carolina, and at this point it would seem sensible for the Eagles to get him some experience and find out what he can do before they make a decision about where to go at quarterback in the offseason.
Under the (Meri)weather: Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, who missed the first nine games of this season with a left knee injury, left the game in the third quarter with a right knee injury and did not return. Meriweather played well while in the game and had one of the two Foles interceptions in the first quarter. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who's been struggling with a foot injury since the season opener, played sparingly.
Patchwork line: Right guard Jake Scott became the ninth different offensive lineman to start a game for the Eagles this year, and he was not great. He was called for two false start penalties and a holding penalty (declined) as the Eagles' offensive line as a whole struggled with penalties all day. The line was a major problem for Vick, and it appears it will be one for Foles as well.
What's next: The Redskins have a quick turnaround, as they will head to Dallas on Wednesday and play the Cowboys on Thursday in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium. A victory in that game would move the Redskins into second place in the NFC East. The Eagles, if you can believe this, host next week's "Monday Night Football" game against the Carolina Panthers in a battle between the last-place teams in the NFC East and the NFC South.