February 22, 2020

Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Takeaways

In the hometown of their division rivals, the Washington Redskins locked up the NFC East Division Championship, and a playoff spot, with a 38-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

After the Eagles marched down the field to score on the game’s opening drive, the Redskins responded two drives later with a score of their own. Once Jay Gruden’s bunch got going, they didn’t look back. Washington stretched their lead over the course of the game, making Saturday night’s playoff-clinching victory seem fairly easy.

Just by looking at the play selection, it’s clear what the Redskins’ gameplan was. Kirk Cousins finished with 365 yards on 31-of-46 passing, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. On the flip side, running backs Alfred Morris and Pierre Thomas combined for 21 carries and 69 yards. The Redskins passing attack is strong, but their running game is not.

As soon as the Redskins run into a team that forces them to run the football, they’ll falter. They have yet to prove that they can win the game running the football, but that doesn’t matter when the scoreboard shows them as the victors, as it has the past three weeks.

Along with that takeaway, here are five more from the Redskins’ victory over the Eagles.

1. Kirk Cousins Continues

As Cousins continued to improve at the quarterback position, we were enthralled by his improving touchdown to interception ratio. Against the Eagles, however, he displayed the intangibles that are going to make him a very rich man this offseason. Cousins made smart checks at the line and was accurate with the football. On his final touchdown pass — a 13-yard fade to Pierre Garçon — the former Spartan dropped the football in a bucket for the easy catch.

2. There’s More To It Than Jordan Reed

Reed got his stats: 9 receptions, 129 yards and two touchdowns. But there were six other Redskins that saw the football thrown their way. Reed wasn’t even Cousins’ primary target, either, as Garçon saw the ball thrown his way 12 times. Pierre Thomas finished the game with seven receptions for 67 yards in his first significant action with Washington. DeSean Jackson (4 receptions, 40 yards), Ryan Grant (1 reception, 24 yards), Jamison Crowder (2 receptions, 13 yards) and Chris Thompson (1 reception, 12 yards) all made plays for Washington in the passing game.

3. Defense Still Gets Beat Deep

Consider Will Blackmon a detriment to the defense. Through much of the game, Sam Bradford and the Eagles picked on the defensive back. On several occasions, he was beat deep but Bradford didn’t always make Washington pay. This isn’t a new problem for the Redskins’ defense, and a smart offensive coordinator will exploit that in the playoffs.

4. Opportunistic Defense

The Redskins’ defense recovered two fumbles, including a scoop-and-score by DeAngelo Hall in the third quarter. Towards the end of the first half, Dashon Goldson recovered a fumble after the Redskins punted the ball out of the back their own end zone. That play allowed the Redskins to put together a late drive that came up empty after Cousins mistakenly took a knee with five seconds left rather than spiking the football to kill the clock.

5. Emergence of Preston Smith

The rookie had himself a night. Smith was a force off the edge, disrupting Bradford often and crashing the pocket. He recorded four total tackles, including two for loss, three tackles and one forced fumble. Between Smith, Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins pass rush in good shape with that much youthful talent.

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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