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Eagles vs Commanders: 3 Ugly Takeaways


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Eagles vs Commanders: 3 Ugly Takeaways

Kyle StarrettBy Kyle StarrettNovember 15, 2022

Eagles vs Commanders (Photo Credits: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Jalen Hurts takes a QB sneak in for a touchdown. The Eagles would end up losing the game 32-21, their first loss of the season. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

A little over a week ago, I wrote an article pointing out issues in the Eagles’ win over the Texans. The responses to that article were, to summarize, negative. They weren’t negative towards the team, however–they were negative towards the points I was making. The Eagles were 8-0, how could someone say that the team had issues? Well tonight, Eagles vs Commanders happened, and the blatantly apparent issues reared their ugly heads in one disgusting excuse of a game.

Now before you move on, read this warning: I’m going to come off as very biased and very angry in this article. And how could I not be? I’m a lifelong Eagles’ fan, and a diehard one at that. I’ve been with the team during its highest highs and its lowest lows. I always want what’s best for the team and expect the on-field product to be as good as it can be. With that in mind, allow me to delve into this breakdown of the Eagles vs Commanders game.

A Sleepwalking Defense and an Undeterred Gut Punch

Ignoring the Eagles week eight contest against the Steelers, the Eagles defense has been asleep at the wheel for different parts of their last four games. The first glimpse was against Arizona, which saw Kyler Murray and co. continuously throw underneath and deliver a healthy dose of the run. Although they didn’t complete their comeback, they were able to tie up the game and nearly forced overtime. Then the Eagles played Dallas, another game which saw the Eagles jump out to a big lead before handing it away to the opposition. Again, the Eagles survived. Finally, the Texans gave the Eagles all they could handle last week, taking a 14-14 tie into the locker room at halftime.

All of this culminated into the atrocity which unfolded tonight. The Commanders, led by career journeyman Taylor Heinicke, moved the ball at will in the first half. The Eagles defense, with layers of talent all over the field, looked helpless against Washington’s balanced offensive attack, eventually dragging a 20-14 deficit into halftime. This was the first time the Eagles had been losing at halftime all season.

This, especially, was a performance weeks in the making. The Eagles’ defense had been sleepwalking through games for a long while, and finally, they got punched in the mouth for it. Washington is far from the league’s best offense, but on a night where everything seemed to be going right for them, the Eagles had no answers. Here lies the first issue of the night: the Eagles defense has a habit of disappearing, and it showed tonight in full force.

The Eagles Offense is Balanced… When It Wants to Be

In 2021, the Eagles made the playoffs on the back of their running game. Clearly it was done out of necessity–Jalen Hurts struggled as a passer–but nonetheless, it was a gameplan which worked. However, 2022 has seen a much-improved Hurts, and thus the offense has been much more balanced… or at least it has sometimes.

After a first drive which saw three runs leading to a touchdown, the Eagles just decided to abandon the running game. The team had just two rushes outside of Hurts in the first half compared to 16 pass attempts, a ratio which allowed the Commander defense to play a light box and focus on stifling the passing game. This contributed to the Eagles massively losing in time of possession.

The Eagles’ defense has clearly been counting on the offense to bail them out of bad situations, but when the offensive play calling is like this, how can they? Shane Steichen and Nick Sirianni have done a great job with the offense over the past two seasons, but nights like tonight have to stop. Hurts is one of the league’s best running quarterbacks. Miles Sanders has been healthy and better than ever. Washington’s defense struggled to stop the balanced attack in week three. This is the second major issue: why is the offense getting away from what’s working?


Tonight Was a Prime Example of Football Suicide

A football team can only withstand so many self-inflicted wounds before it collapses. Through the first nine weeks of the 2022 season, the Eagles have been good at limiting these mistakes. The key stat going into tonight was that the Eagles had a league-low three turnovers while having 18 takeaways. This has consistently given the Eagles the upper hand over their opponents. However, tonight saw the Eagles turn the ball over three times, tying their season total.

Combine this with some untimely penalties, and the Eagles largely handed this game away. Philadelphia had many chances to take the game back in the fourth quarter, but each time, someone threw the opportunity away. While the first half was highlighted by lackadaisical play, the second half saw the Eagles outplay Washington–the difference ended up being self-inflicted wounds. This was the third big issue of the night.

What Does This Eagles vs Commanders Matchup Mean for the Future

For Eagles fans, it means a week of having to deal with the most obnoxious fans the NFL has to offer. Although the Eagles still hold the league’s best record and sit atop the NFC, opposing fans will make a big deal out of a team which clearly played to its absolute floor. I was originally going to title this article "Let the Overreaction Commence”, but I decided to save it for now–there will be lots of overreactions from this game. And rightfully so, the Eagles showed the worst side of themselves on national television There are going to be morons out there who act like it’s the only game that matters. However, we all know this team is much better than this, and still ranks among the best in the league.

As for the team itself, I’m hopeful this is the wakeup call they needed. The 8-0 record was great optics, but underneath the beautiful exterior was a lot of ugly wins. Now the team has had their weaknesses thrown in their face–if the team is really as good as we think, they’ll take these realizations and eliminate them. Don’t get it twisted–the Eagles are still an amazing team, but even amazing teams have issues. This is what separates the good ones from the greats–how the Eagles respond to this dud will determine how far they go.


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