Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles One Step Back From The Brink

The Eagles, facing a game that could have meant the virtual end of their season, fought back from the brink with a tough, efficient showing against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, embarrassing their division rival in front of a disgruntled home crowd for much of the game.

Eagles One Step Back From The Brink

Nnamdi Asomugha struts after a big hit on Redskins tight end Chris Cooley. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Nnamdi Asomugha struts after a big hit on Redskins tight end Chris Cooley. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles, facing a game that could have meant the virtual end of their season, fought back from the brink with a tough, efficient showing against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, embarrassing their division rival in front of a disgruntled home crowd for much of the game.

Washington quarterback Rex Grossman played so badly against a revitalized Eagles defense that he was benched after three quarters and four interceptions, three of which were swiped by safety Kurt Coleman.

The 20-13 win doesn’t get them completely out of the woods, but they don’t look nearly as lost as they did in dropping four straight games. It’s still a long way to the clearing, and their home game after the bye against Dallas is now an enormous test, but there is still reason to believe the Eagles can recover to become a playoff team this season. That’s particularly true because the NFC East, as demonstrated by the Redskins, is neither consistent nor all that good.

It wasn’t the sort of resounding beatdown that the Eagles put on Washington in FedEx Field last season, one in which Michael Vick announced his full comeback, but it was a solid win. After starting off 1-4 – and facing the reality that a 1-5 team has never the playoffs in the current configuration – they will take their wins where they find them.

More coverage
Report Card: Grade the Eagles' performance
Vote: Are the Birds turning their season around?
Photos: Eagles 20, Redskins 13
 
Box score
Did the Eagles do enough vs. the Redskins to convince you they can turn around their season?
Yes. The defensive changes made a big difference.
No. Ask again after their next game.

In the first half, the Eagles were dominating in running out to a 20-0 lead, and it could have been even worse for the Redskins. The Eagles settled for a pair of field goals on drives in which they had 1st-and-goal at the Washington 9-yard line and the 5-yard line.

The scariest moment of the game, as it usually does, involved Vick, who came out of the game after taking a hard hit in the third quarter. He was replaced briefly by backup Vince Young, who looked overmatched to the task. Young threw a quick interception (one that was offset rapidly by a pick thrown by Grossman) and Vick was able to return on the next series and complete the game.

The much-maligned defense of Juan Castillo had a good take – with some help from Grossman – and held things in check when the offense slowed down in the second half. After surrendering a total of 67 second-half points in the four consecutive losses, the Eagles held the Redskins to just a field goal until the game was nearly out of reach. Washinton backup John Beck engineered a TD drive with less than three minutes to play.

You can pick at this one a little. The offense scored its last touchdown with 14 minutes, 15 seconds to go in the second quarter. The defense didn't face much of a test. And so on. That wasn't the way to look at Sunday's game, though.

After six weeks, a 2-4 record isn’t what the Eagles were expecting or hoping for this season, but it beats the heck out of 1-5. It also beat the heck out of a Washington team that was under the impression it might be good.

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Bob Ford has been writing about Philadelphia sports since 1981, and is still trying to figure it all out. A former beat writer covering the Phillies and the 76ers, Ford became a general sports columnist for the Inquirer in 2003, following in and occasionally falling in the deep footsteps of Bill Lyon, Frank Dolson and many distinguished others. He comes to the Philly.com blogosphere after award-winning success as designer/editor of the fabulous Pen & Pencil Club softball blog. Likes: Palestra, inside-the-park home runs, sunny days. Dislikes: phony people, cloudy days, rewrites. Reach Bob at bford@phillynews.com.

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
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