Sunday, November 18, 2012
Halftime thoughts: The Eagles are terrible
By Dan Graziano
LANDOVER, Md. -- I just don't know how else to put it. This is nothing against the Washington Redskins, who just took a 17-3 halftime lead over the Philadelphia Eagles thanks to LeSean McCoy's last-minute fumble in his own red zone. But the Eagles are simply one of the worst teams in the NFL right now. They do absolutely nothing well. They don't block, tackle, cover, run, pass or catch. They are not creative, on offense or defense. They are not disciplined, as their six first-half penalties for 45 yards attest. They came in here today on a five-game losing streak, with a rookie quarterback making his first start, and they've shown nothing to indicate an ability to avoid losing a sixth straight.
The number of breakdowns so far is too high to cram into one halftime post, so we'll take a look specifically at the 49-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III to Aldrick Robinson in the second quarter. Robinson was so open you'd have thought he had the measles. Good for Griffin for spotting him and heaving the throw into the end zone on a fake-reverse play action play, but this was a screw-up on the part of the Eagles. Safety Nate Allen came up to play the tight end when it's obvious that cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was expecting him to cover deep, but that still doesn't excuse Asomugha from not going with the receiver, since he appeared to have nothing else to do on the play.
Let's give Griffin credit for a sharp first half in which he completed 8-of-9 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 20 yards on four carries. But this has not been a challenge for a rested Redskins team coming off its bye and playing at home. They have had a couple of third-down breakdowns on defense, as the Eagles are 4-for-9 on third downs. But that's about all that's gone wrong. They picked off Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles twice in the first quarter, and they seem to be benefiting from the Redskins debut of safety Brandon Meriweather, who missed the first nine games of this season with knee injuries and has one of the two interceptions.
Foles is 12-for-22 for 120 yards and those two interceptions. Frankly, he looks as lost as you'd expect a third-round rookie making his first start 0f the season in Week 11 to look. The first interception went off the hands of tight end Brent Celek, but the throw wasn't very good to begin with, and Foles has shown nothing to indicate that he's in any kind of rhythm with his offense or receivers. The Eagles have had the ball for 19:11 of the game's 30 minutes so far, and yet they have outgained the Redskins only 169 yards to 138.
The Eagles' offensive line, which was a big part of the problem all year when Michael Vick was playing quarterback, still looks shaky. Newly signed Jake Scott started at right guard in place of Danny Watkins, and he's been flagged for two false start penalties. Right tackle Dennis Kelly has been called for holding twice (though one was declined), and left tackle King Dunlap got called for a hold as well. Foles isn't picking up the corner blitz any better than Vick did, and in short the Eagles' offense looks as ugly and disjointed as it has all year.
On the Redskins' side, wide receiver Pierre Garcon is starting his fourth game of the season, but it's clear they're limiting his snaps as he plays with the foot injury that has bothered him since the season opener. Garcon has two catches for a total of six yards.