The first half was oh so good. The third quarter was an unmitigated disaster. The fourth was only slightly better.
The Eagles started their comeback by running the ball right up the gut time after time on their opening drive of the second half. It's hard to believe that happens if Allen was in the game.
With the margin of error that small, it's imperative to play clean. The Redskins had 11 penalties. It's one of the things that killed them last year. It slaughtered them on Sunday.
Getting lucky is fine in the short term, but being good is how teams win games in the NFL. The Redskins flipped their formula today and it just didn't hold. They saw the running game wasn't working and did a good job play-calling, trying to go to the air in the second half.
However, in a game of execution – on a critical drive in the third quarter where the Skins had a chance to stop Philly's momentum – Keenum overthrew McLaurin for what would have been another long touchdown, and then Paul Richardson dropped a slant that would've gotten them moving with a first down.
Meanwhile on defense, it was a story of miscommunication again in the secondary. "When (Jackson) is on the field, you'd wanna err on the side of covering him," Gruden said of the blown coverage that let the one-time Redskin free. Multiple secondary players confirmed it was a late check that didn't make it all the way out to Josh Norman.
Norman was in the original man coverage call. The call was changed to a Cover 3 zone, which would have put him right where Jackson wound up running open instead of leaving two players for Montae Nicholson to try and cover.
It's not anyone's 'fault,' in the sense that you can't blame Norman for missing something so late before the snap. It's a strategic error to try and flip the coverage at that point. If it's gonna happen, it's gotta be communicated better. Failure when a player like Jackson is in the middle of it is going to result in touchdowns time and time again.
When asked about what they could do to get more pressure, Gruden said, simply, "rush better." It's a game of execution. There are things they can do schematically, which Gruden also pointed to, not to take it completely out of his staff's hands, but no matter what the call is, the players need to execute it at a higher level.
The defense wasn't all bad, and it definitely was worse in a second half where the Redskins got absolutely smoked in time of possession. One side of the ball affects the other. Washington had zero first downs rushing. They ran just 10 plays in the second half before the final drive, while the Eagles ran 42 in that span.
Pretty much sums it up.