Here's five takeaways from the Washington Redskins' Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles that took place at Lincoln Financial Field.
1. The Redskins jumped out to an early lead but couldn't keep up with the Eagles in the end.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Redskins marched 66 yards in eight plays to have new kicker Nick Rose come out for a 27-yard field goal attempt, which he would convert. It was the first time since 1999 that Washington has recorded points on their initial possession in five straight games.
To swing momentum even further in the Redskins' direction, a wild series of plays – including four penalties on first down by the Eagles – eventually resulted in Quinton Dunbar recording his first interception of the season.
The offense wouldn't score again until midway through the second quarter, though, as Trent Williams found Chris Thompson for a seven-yard touchdown. Despite pushing their lead to 10-3 on that touchdown, Washington wouldn't lead the game again.
Philadelphia scored 17 unanswered points between the latter stages of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter. The Eagles' first touchdown was a 64-yard connection between Carson Wentz and Mack Hollins on a play in which the quarterback perfectly placed the ball to his receiver, who was a stride ahead of D.J. Swearinger.
"That was a great throw by Carson. A big play," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "We had some momentum going and they completed the big one down our right sideline there. So that was a big play. You feel like you're going to go into halftime in good shape, but then they had the two scores and they're up by seven going into the half. So that was a big turnaround for them."
Twice the Eagles had at least a 14-point lead on the Redskins before knocking off Washington by a final of 34-24.
The loss means the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are tied for second place in the NFC East with .500 records while the Eagles are now 6-1.
"It's very disappointing being the second time in a row we lost to them," said Redskins tight end Jordan Reed. "It was a huge, critical game for the NFC East. They outplayed us today. They deserved it."
2. On an emotional night, Kirk Cousins fought to keep the Redskins in the game.On Sunday evening, Cousins learned that his grandmother had passed away.
Weighing heavily on his mind, Cousins suited up against the Eagles just hours receiving word of the news.
"It was tough. My grandma – I was very close with her," Cousins said. "I grew up twenty minutes from her and she was over – I saw her every week growing up. She was 85 years old and lived a full long life and was very blessed. But the passing was sudden; we weren't expecting it. I got the call as I was getting on the bus to go to the airport to fly here.
"She was the grandmother I stayed with in the off-season after my rookie year and we spent a lot of time together. We take comfort in knowing that because of the gospel she is in heaven, and we'll get to see her again. We take a lot of peace knowing that."
Despite the pain of her loss, Cousins understood that he had a job to do leading the Redskins' offense.
In total, Cousins would finish Monday night's game completing 30-of-40 passes for 303 yards with three touchdowns to one interception.
Cousins has now finished four consecutive games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better for the first time since a six-game regular season streak in Weeks 12-17 of the 2015 season as well.
Despite some of the success he had, an errant pass from the quarterback in the fourth quarter would allow the Eagles to extend their lead to 34-17 with a little more than 11 minutes left.
"Kirk competed and made some great throws, some great plays, and threw three touchdowns. But for the most part, there's a few … I'm sure he wished he had back," Gruden said. "Some I wish I had back and everybody in this locker room wishes they had back. But we'll go back to the tape. Keep studying. Keep getting better. 3-3 – have a long way to go."
3. The defense once again struggled to get Carson Wentz down.
On the play of the night for Philadelphia, Wentz made the Redskins pay for not taking him down on what looked like an obvious sack.
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' defense in their 2017 Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles October 23, 2017, at Lincoln Financial Field.
On 3rd-and-8 from their own 27-yard line – up just seven – the Eagles' offensive line collapsed under heavy pressure from Washington's front-seven.
Within seconds of receiving the hike, Wentz was swallowed up in a sea of both Redskins and Eagles. Yet somehow the quarterback avoided being sacked and turned the play into a massive first down.
Six plays after getting that first down, Wentz found Nelson Agholor for a 10-yard touchdown to put Philadelphia ahead by two touchdowns.
"It's hard to tell with a quarterback who's athletic like that, but he just knows how to make you miss," said linebacker Mason Foster. "On one play he ducked underneath everybody and ducked low to the ground; I thought he went down. …You just have to tip your hat to them but we have to make more plays. We have good players, too, and we missed some opportunities and it showed. [If] you want to beat a team like that, you have to make those plays and we didn't tonight. We have to go get it corrected."
Midway through the second quarter, Wentz had just six passing yards total. But his 64-yard touchdown throw to Hollins opened up the passing game, as the second-year North Dakota product finished the night 17-of-25 for 268 yards with four touchdown passes.
His 63 rushing yards were also a game-high.
"He's making a lot of things happen with his feet, he does a great job of scrambling and running when the play is not there while also looking for the right man open at the same time," Swearinger said. "He's doing a great job."
4. Jordan Reed makes his presence felt with two touchdown receptions.
While the Redskins have made it known that the passing attack is going to be a collective effort this season, Reed is still considered the focal point.
Slowed by a toe injury early in the season, Reed's production had been limited through the first five games of the season as the Pro Bowler failed to sniff the end zone or topple more than 50 receiving yards.
Monday night was a different story, however, as the 27-year-old hauled in eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think it was more of me getting more comfortable on the field," Reed said of his performance. "Missed the whole offseason, so just getting comfortable out there, my toe is getting a little bit better and I got my burst back a little bit, so all of that factors in."
Reed scored twice in the second half, first on a five-yard touchdown and then once again from 20 yards out.
"Today felt a lot better than previous weeks," Reed said. "Not a lot of pains out there, and I was able to have confidence in my body. It was good. Just had confidence, confidence to stick my foot in the ground and press off and burst off of it, so it felt good."
5. The offensive line is hobbled, as depth could be tested in the coming weeks.
Entering Monday night's game, it was known that Trent Williams isn't quite 100 percent as he battles a knee cap injury. Ty Nsekhe (core muscle) and Tyler Catalina (concussion) also were inactive.
While Williams fought through a lot of pain to play a majority of the game, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long all were removed from the lineup at points due to injuries, too.
Scherff left the game in the second half with a knee injury. He'll undergo an MRI to determine the severity.
"Injuries are a concern. You want your best players out on the field," Cousins said. "That being said, it's an expectation throughout the season that you're going to be having to reach into your depth – maybe not as much as we have had to at tackle and some of the positions – but you do expect it to happen at some point, and a lot of teams will deal with that.
"I was proud of the way our offensive line continued to battle. Several of them came back out and kept playing and showed a lot of toughness and grit against a very good defensive line that was rotating in a lot of players and keeping guys very fresh and that certainly made it tough on our guys."