If you want proof, ask the now 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles; the only team in NFL history to win the first three games of a season after trailing by at least 10 points in all of them.
If I were to tell you LeSean McCoy would end this matchup with 19 carries for 22 yards, both Jason Peters and Jason Kelce would not finish this game, AND that Kirk Cousins would throw for 427 yards with 3 touchdowns, you would say the Eagles finally let us down right?
This team does not know how to lose, and for that matter, they do not know how to win without their fanbase having to receive mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in between plays.
THE FIRST HALF
The Eagles led at halftime. Somehow.
The game began with Kirk Cousins looking like he’s been starting for the Redskins, not Robert Griffin III for the past couple of seasons. This guy impersonated a poised veteran, going 7 for 7, completing passes to 5 different men on an impressive opening drive, capped off with a toss to his fullback Darrel Young for a 4 yard touchdown.
Characteristically, the Eagles responded quickly. Uncharacteristically it was by their special teams. Chris Polk returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and all was well again at the Linc.
...Until Kirk Cousins drove his team down the field for another touchdown. Bradley Fletcher let Pierre Garcon grab a fairly easy four yard touchdown, the first TD to a receiver this season for Washington. Dinking-and-dunking passes and starting the game 8 for 8 on third downs, the Redskins offense was looking formidable.
With 2:01 remaining in the first quarter, Nick Foles and the Eagles offense made their first appearance on the field. Things got really scary three plays in when LeSean McCoy flung his helmet off and rolled around on the ground in pain, very similar to last year’s game against Kansas City. McCoy got hit helmet-to-helmet and went to the locker room. At the end of the first quarter Foles was 1 of 2 for 4 yards, McCoy’s return was questionable, and the defense apparently was still in Indianapolis.
Kelly, being that big play coach he is, went for the home run immediately after the Skins’ score. He dialed up an 80 yard touchdown connection between Foles and Maclin, until a block in the back penalty by Jason Kelce erased the celebrations before it began. On a third down, Riley Cooper caught a sweet pass on the left sideline that Joe Buck called as “Riley Cooper, first down Redskins!” The Skins challenged the catch and failed. The Eagles redzone woes vanished this game, as the Jordan Matthews era began, snagging his first touchdown in his career from 11 yards out. After another Forbath field goal, Matthews hit paydirt again with a terrific second touchdown with his tip toes in the back of the endzone, putting the Eagles in front 21-20 entering the locker room.
The Redskins ran 20 more offensive plays. The Eagles were losing the time of possession battle 22:49 to 7:06. McCoy had 11 total yards rushing. And yet, the Eagles were winning.
THE RETURN OF D-JAX
It did not take long for DeSean Jackson to make his presence felt. Donning a Rambo-like headband, he stirred the pot early. After hauling in his first catch, he shoved Malcolm Jenkins, but it was the Eagles who were flagged. Jenkins was called for a 15 yard penalty setting up the Redskins at the Philadelphia 20. This was not the most popular call amongst the Philly faithful, and perhaps a makeup call was assessed on the very next play to Pierre Garcon for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On Washington’s second drive, Jackson caught a first down pass on the left sideline, to which he was rained with boos. In response, Jackson egged them on by “raising the roof” with his hands on his way back to the huddle. D-Jax finished the first half with four catches for 36 yards.
Late in the third quarter, Jackson made his biggest play. After an illegal formation call on the Eagles punt, Cousins connected with Jackson for an 81 yard touchdown pass. Jackson slipped through Cary Williams arms and back pedaled the last five yards into the endzone for the game-tying score before flapping his arms like an eagle in celebration.
What most fans will take out of this game will be the brouhaha that occurred about five minutes into the fourth quarter. In what seemed to be a Nick Foles interception, Washington nose tackle Chris Baker, for lack of better words, lit up the Eagle quarterback, shouldering him from behind. Baker then celebrated the dirty hit with Redskins captain Trent Williams, leaping into his arms. Jason Peters had something else in mind beside celebrating, bopping Baker in the face, then leading to an all out pushing and shoving match for nearly a minute.
Baker and Peters were ejected from the tied ball game, after initially the referee said Baker and Williams were ejected. What might be more noteworthy is the fact that the interception was reversed and the Eagles kept the ball which led to a Maclin 27 yard touchdown.
Also imperative to the fight was how it really was not supposed to happen. The play before the tussle, Kai Forbath missed a 33 yard field goal attempt that hit off the right post. That kick would have given Washington the lead and would have never put the Eagles in that situation.
DEFENSE WHEN IT MATTERS MOST
With just under three minutes in the game and the home team leading by 3 points, the Eagles had to punt. Punter Donnie Jones boomed the punt from his 20 to the Washington 21, a 59 yard punt. However, the kick was nullified by an offensive holding penalty and had to be re-kicked. Jones floundered, kicking a 31 yard punt, setting the Skins just outside field goal range at the Eagles’ 41 with 2:25 remaining.
After an Alfred Morris run for no gain, Cousins looked to Jackson short to the right only for an incompletion. On 3rd and 10 in an empty set backfield, Brandon Boykin comes up with perhaps the best bat down in his career on an attempt to Andre Roberts. On 4th down and the game on the line, Cousins looked for his go-to receiver in the game Pierre Garcon. It seemed as if the two were not on the same page as Garcon slanted towards the middle of the field and Cousins threw towards the sidelines and the ball fell to the ground harmlessly, giving the Eagles their first 3-0 start since their 2004 Super Bowl run.