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Undefeated No More


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Undefeated No More

Posted: November 15th, 2022 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

I wrote earlier tonight about how weird things happen when Washington and Philly play on MNF. I knew a weird game would favor Washington so I hoped we’d get something normal.


All kinds of crazy stuff happened in Washington’s 32-21 win over the Eagles. If you want one example to sum up the game, Quez Watkins got wide open behind the defense and caught a deep ball. He stumbled with no one around him. Quez got up and started running again, but a CB caught up and knocked the ball loose. The defense recovered. A 50-yard pass play turned into a turnover.


Washington’s offense was torturous. They took small ball to a whole new level. In the first half, they ran 51 plays for 235 yards. Last week they had 61 plays for 263 yards in the entire game. The Commanders were almost perfect on third down conversions at one point. They began the game 12 for 14. That would be hard to do in a 7-on-7 drill.

The key was how they embraced small ball. They ran the ball 29 times for 100 yards in the first half. They weren’t interested in big plays. Washington wanted to set up third and short situations and then convert them. Death by 1,000 cuts, so to speak.

And brother they were killing the Eagles.

Jonathan Gannon is normally fine with having teams play small ball and slowly drive down the field. The problem is that his defense couldn’t get stops. In most games, the offense can do that for a drive or two, but not three quarters. Washington had some insane drive numbers.

13 plays, 75 yards, TD
12 plays, 49 yards, FG
16 plays, 86 yards, TD
8 plays, 30 yards, FG
14 plays, 71 yards, FG

Those were consecutive drives, the first four coming in the first half. Washington didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. I’ve been watching football for more than 40 years and I can’t remember a team having that much success with small ball. Crazy.

Gannon did make some adjustments at halftime. The Eagles only gave up 95 yards and 6 points in the second half. Still, you can’t have a half of football like the Eagles did in the first half. That was brutal. Gannon has to change his personnel or call things more aggressively. He’s always going to be conservative because that’s his nature. I’m fine with that. But when you can’t get the other team off the field, something has to change.

The defense could have used some help from the offense, but they didn’t get it in the second quarter. The Eagles normally own that period, but only had 7 plays for 25 yards. They kept putting the defense right back on the field.

This was a team loss.

And you know they say when it rains, it pours. Not only did the Eagles play poorly, they had some tough breaks with the officials. The refs missed a blatant facemask penalty on a play where Dallas Goedert fumbled to end a promising drive. Instead of the Eagles having the ball at midfield, Washington had it in FG range.

There was a play at the end of the game where Taylor Heinicke was under pressure and took a knee. Haason Reddick touched him. Then Brandon Graham came sliding in and drew a flag. BG tried to hold up. He didn’t hit him hard. But he did hit Heinicke and he shouldn’t have. That was dumb on BG’s part. He’s got to see Heinicke there and avoid him entirely. A lot of fans are mad at the refs for calling a soft penalty, but it was obvious to me. We know they protect QBs. You cannot take that chance. BG did and it cost the Eagles any shot at a game-winning drive.

Too many turnovers. Too many penalties. Dropped passes. Missed blocks. Soft run defense. Soft third down coverage. This game had everything an Eagles fan didn’t want to see. It was brutal.

There were lots of minor injuries. Josh Sweat, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Jason Kelce and Dallas Goedert all missed time or went to the injury tent. Brown only caught one pass and clearly wasn’t right.

Jalen Hurts looked a bit off. I don’t know if the Commanders confused him with coverages or guys just weren’t getting open, but the passing game had no flow. Everything was short or long. There was no intermediate game. And his passes weren’t as accurate as they normally are.

All of this said, the Eagles were down 20-14 at halftime and 26-21 late. If Quez doesn’t fall down in the open field, maybe the Eagles win that game. Instead they lost. The final margin looks bigger because of a garbage TD on a botched lateral at the end of the game.

We knew the Eagles weren’t going undefeated. That whole discussion is over. The team got a big piece of humble pie. They can learn a lot from this game and it can help them if they embrace the mistakes and work on them. If they focus on excuses, there will be more issues in the near future.

I’m certainly not happy they lost the game, but it will be good to have the team humbled and pissed off. You need an edge to win games late in the season and in the postseason. The Eagles should certainly get motivated after tonight’s embarrassing performance.

Everything that went right in the first eight games went wrong tonight. The players need to embrace the misery of this loss and feed off it. Use that fuel to go beat the Colts and get back to winning and having fun.


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In some ways this loss could end up being a good thing. I think the players were feeling themselves a little and I think this could serve to be a real wake up call. They were saying the same things every week about needing to improve but then they weren't doing it. They were making mistakes and the same issues were showing up even in wins. Now they have to deal with a loss and they have to correct it and quickly. 

This will either be the making of this team or it'll be the undoing. This could wake them up and they go on another run or it could unravel and they'll barely hold on to make the play offs. 

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