Skins rocked on Monday Night
So much for showing the world what they could do under new coach Steve Spurrier.
What they showed in a 37-7 loss to Philadelphia was this: they're not ready for prime time. The Eagles outclassed, outplayed and outcoached the Redskins. They outdid anything Washington wanted to do.
''It was embarrassing,'' Redskins quarterback Shane Matthews said.
''We got clobbered,'' Spurrier said. ''I apologize to the Redskins fans. I've had my butt kicked before so it's not the first time. Everyone in the locker room has before, so we're not going to be shell-shocked. Sometimes it helps to lose, I don't know why. You realize you're not near as good as you think you are.''
And you realize how much work needs to be done. Spurrier learned how NFL coaches adjust as the Eagles' offenses and defenses threw a few curves at Washington. The trick for Washington is to put an ugly loss behind them quickly.
''You've got to be able to take a punch,'' Redskins linebacker Jessie Armstead said. ''A heavyweight fighter can take a punch and come back and give one. We took a big punch. You can lay on the canvas or you can get back up and keep fighting.''
The Redskins (1-1) did little right, save for a 90-yard punt return by Jacquez Green that temporarily stopped the bleeding in the first half. Very temporary as Philadelphia (1-1) drove downfield for a field goal on the next series for a 17-7 lead.
Washington rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense in a Week 1 win over Arizona. The Redskins managed just 179 yards against the Eagles and only crossed midfield once.
''They completely shut us down,'' Spurrier said.
Matthews left the game after halftime with a bruised left shoulder, replaced by Danny Wuerffel. Matthews will start against San Francisco on Sunday. Spurrier said he might even give rookie Patrick Ramsey more work during the week, hoping to speed his progress.
Matthews completed 10 of 22 passes for 62 yards and an interception. Running back Stephen Davis carried 12 times for 53 yards. Meanwhile, quarterback Donovan McNabb played his best game against the Redskins. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. he also ran five times for 36 yards, including an eight-yard scoring run for a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles opened with four receivers, spreading the Redskins and making it easier for McNabb to read the coverages.
''When you spread people out, you get guys in space more,'' Redskins safety Sam Shade said. ''It gives the quarterback a chance to see what the defense is doing. You have to show your hand. That's why he was so comfortable.''
McNabb, who had mostly struggled against Washington in his previous six starts against the Redskins, did most of his damage in the first half. Ex-Redskins receiver James Thrash helped, setting the tone with a 33-yard catch on the game's first play. Later, he caught a 39-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for a 30-7 lead.
The Redskins' offense had no such luck finding holes in Philadelphia's secondary. Washington prepared for lots of blitzing and man coverage. Instead the Eagles rarely blitzed and played more zone than usual.
''A lot of times we were covered,'' Redskins receiver Rod Gardner said. ''The safety would drop back deep and we just had to fight, but we couldn't get it done, couldn't get into a rhythm.''
The Redskins couldn't do anything right against the Eagles' defense. They largely ignored Davis in the first half, handing him the ball only seven times. This despite facing a defense whose strength is stopping the pass. Eventually, the Redskins fell too far behind to run the ball. And, eventually, they couldn't slow the Eagles' rush.
The big surprise, though, was the defense's collapse. Philadelphia wasted little time in taking a 7-0 lead, driving 80 yards in six plays on its first possession, which started with Thrash's catch. Two plays later McNabb hit receiver Todd Pinkston for a 28-yard gain down the right sideline to the Redskins' 15.
McNabb carried the final eight yards for the touchdown, taking advantage of a hole created when tackle Del Cowsette got shoved far to his left, vacating his lane on the right side. The defense failed again on the next series, allowing a 65-yard drive this time. But they had Philadelphia settled for an apparent 30-yard field goal.
Until linebacker LaVar Arrington jumped offsides, giving the Eagles a first down at the Washington 7.
Two plays later the Eagles scored on a two-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb to tight end Jeff Thomason, beating linebacker Kevin Mitchell.
That was just the start of the mistake parade, and the rout. Later in the half, the Redskins tossed the ball to Champ Bailey, the corner turned slot receiver for one play. But Bailey turned the run inside, fumbled the ball and the Eagles cashed in with a 40-yard David Akers field goal and 20-7 lead. Akers also had a 22-yard kick earlier in the second quarter.
Washington closed the half in similar fashion. The Redskins wanted to go for it on fourth and five on the Eagles' 35 with less than two minutes remaining. A false start penalty cost them five yards, but Washington still wanted to try for the first down.
The Redskins failed when quarterback Shane Matthews threw to receiver Rod Gardner in double coverage.
The Eagles took over.
The Eagles added a last-second 47-yard field goal for a 23-7 halftime lead.
The first-half statistical domination matched the point differential. Philadelphia gained 243 first-half yards to 105 for Washington. McNabb completed 19 of 27 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown in the first half.
Washington's lone highlight occured when it trailed, 14-0, and forced its first punt of the game. Green fielded the ball at his own 10-yard line, dashed up the middle, darting about, and cut back up the left sideline untouched for the score. It was the second longest punt return for a touchdown in Redskins history and Green's second career return.
''He outkicked his coverage,'' Green said. ''I was hoping this was what we needed to jump start things and give us some momentum for the offense.''
The return energized the soldout crowd. But the energy was quickly sapped as Philadelphia drove 72 yards on its ensuing possession, getting a 22-yard Akers field goal for a 17-7 edge.
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