Analyze This: Eagles 27, Redskins 25

Washington blew one. That's the only way to say it. The Eagles played minus three key starters and didn't exactly look terrific on offense. The Redskins had a chance to put a hurt on Philly's season and stamp themselves as legit. But they couldn't take advantage of yet another break.

Time to change: The Redskins' audible system stinks. The coaches can defend it all they want, but if it's not working, then fix it. And they haven't. The Redskins tried to use the same audible system that they had used in Atlanta, which met with bad results then, too. Why? It's not designed to succeed in loud stadiums. Which is why the backs constantly had to walk up to hear QB Patrick Ramsey's audibles and a few linemen constantly had to turn around to find out the play.

As good a playcaller as Steve Spurrier is, one writer astutely said it sometimes seems as if he's searching for the perfect play each time. Sometimes, you just need to run the play that's called. At least they usually gave the offense enough time on the clock to audibilize, believe it or not. In the first few games most of the Redskins audibles came with five seconds left. Sunday, most seemed to come with around 10 seconds left. It still didn't work. Fix it. Now.

How did that happen?: The Eagles were playing minus three Pro Bowl starters in the secondary. And the Redskins could only complete 25 of 50 passes? Philly has one of the game's best coordinators in Jim Johnson and he devised a beaut. The Eagles blitzed often and forced Ramsey to hurry some throws and get off rhythm. He often leftthe safeties in two-deep zones, taking away the favored deep crossing routes. Sometimes he dropped all three linebackers into coverage, pinching toward the middle. That left five defenders covering the middle, where the Redskins planned, and love to, attack. Also, the Eagles' linebackers did a much better job against the Redskins backs over the middle. They seemed to shade them to the outside, making it harder for them on their catch-and-run passes. The Redskins also made themselves one-dimensional for the first time this season.

Don't get fooled by: The comeback. Yes, it was nice. Yes, the Redskins nearly pulled off an unexpected win. But . . . The Redskins made too many mistakes to win the game and that's what must be paid attention to. The untimely killer penalties, like the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (Regan Upshaw) and the roughing the passer penalty (LaVar Arrington). The troubling little ones, like the false starts, seven of them. Add it up and it spells disaster for the rest of the season. Had they not been doing this in every game I would think differently. But they have and it cost them. Again. Minus the stupid mistakes the Redskins could be 5-0. Think about that.

Bogus penalty: Arrington should not have been called for roughing the passer on his hit of QB Donovan McNabb. But, I'll grant the refs this, he did lead with his head -- even though he pulled up. And that's what got him in trouble. Even if it was still a questionable call.

Starting to wonder about: Line coach Kim Helton. Two years ago Chris Samuels was considered one of the best left tackles in football and maybe even the best. And Jon Jansen was on the cusp of a Pro Bowl. Now Samuels is still good, but not as dominant. Jansen hasn't played at that level, either. Is it a coincidence or is it the coaching. After all, both are in their mid-20s and it's incredible to think both have dropped that far that soon. One person familiar with the coaching staff, when asked his opinion of Helton, said, ``I don't like to say bad things about coaches. . . Does that answer your question?''

Better effort: The defensive line did a nice job of applying pressure on McNabb. They usually kept him contained in the pocket and even recorded three sacks, including 1 1/2 by tackle Bernard Holsey. Even Bruce Smith got in the act and is now 2 sacks from setting the all-time record.

Welcome back: Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was active, making a highlight interception and returning the ball to the 1-yard line.

Hurry back Fiore: Rookie Derrick Dockery was fine in his first start in place of injured Dave Fiore. He struggled mightily on Sunday, committing three false starts and a tripping penalty. He was also beaten badly by Darwin Walker on numerous occasions. I like Dockery's potential. But, with the Bucs coming up Sunday, the Redskins need a healthy veteran starting at left guard.

Still like: Ramsey. It's hard not to and one bad game won't change that. But what I like is that after struggling for most of the game he got hot at the right time. He's able to ignore what else has happened and deliver strikes. That's what he did on the near game-tying drive. He missed the two-point conversion and that summed up his day. But at least he didn't quit. Nor will he ever.

Statwise: The Redskins held the Eagles to 96 total yards in the second half -- 70 came on Philly's scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Bad sight: One columnist noted approximately nine players laughing in the locker room. Or at least they didn't seem to be too bothered by the loss. None were key players and when this was pointed out to LB Jessie Armstead, he said, angrily, ``Some guys take it to heart more than others.'' Armstead takes it to heart.


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