The 5th Quarter: Eagles 24 Redskins 16

THE GAME TURNED WHEN… On Washington’s first drive of the second quarter, trailing 14-0 in Philadelphia, the Redskins marched down the field from their own 20-yard line down to the Eagles 5-yard line behind a the great rushing attack of Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. At second and goal from Philadelphia’s 5-yard line, QB Robert Griffin was sacked by Connor Barwin and the ball was recovered by Philadelphia at the 13-yard line. A long and beautiful drive was ruined and the Redskins did not threaten again until the fourth quarter. Those lost points turned out to be the difference in the game.

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN… Robert Griffin made arguably the worst — certainly the stupidest — pass of his career. Feeling pressure on third and 1 from the Eagles 18 yard line with 40 seconds left, Griffin threw off his back foot and lobbed a pass into the end zone that was easily intercepted to end the game. A drive that began at Washington’s 4-yard line was ruined, a valiant comeback effort wasted and the game was lost. Philadelphia QB Nick Foles put the knee down on the next play to run out the clock. Washington fell to 3-7, the important part of their season over.

THE GOOD… OLB Brian Orakpo halted his sack dry spell, notching 1.5 sacks today. He also played the run well, making several nice open field tackles on Eagles RB Lesean McCoy. It was a good effort and game by Orakpo.

The Redskins rushed for 191 yards and averaged 5 yards per carry. They got 93 yards from Alfred Morris, 43 yards from RG3 and 39 yards [on 3 carries] from Roy Helu.

Eagles RB Lesean McCoy had some incredible runs, mostly with amazing spin moves, but he had only 77 yards on 20 carries, less than 4 yards a carry. Usually, that’s good enough to beat the Eagles.

Congrats to FB Darrel Young on the  62-yard TD catch and run. I don’t know how many fullbacks have a 62-yard TD catch to their name, but however long the list is, it just got one longer.

Great adjustment by WR Aldrick Robinson on his 41-yard TD catch. The ball was underthrown and there was contact with the Eagles defensive back, but Robinson came back as the defender went past him. As the ball neared the turf, Robinson reached out and snatched it. A fine play.

Alfred Morris had 18 carries for 86 yards in the first half, but trailing 24-0 early in the third quarter, the Redskins had to abandon the run and Morris got only four more rushes.

The Redskins defense got stops on the last five Eagles possessions [not counting the final kneel-down]. The defense was terrible for the first 40 minutes of the game, but it didn’t quit and started playing better. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, particularly with the offense in a coma for over three quarters of the game.

THE BAD… The Eagles defense came into this game one of the lowest-ranked in the NFL. Washington came into the game with one of the highest-ranked offense in the NFL. Nevertheless, Washington’s passing offense was horrid for three-quarters of the game. It wasn’t all on RG3 either. The offensive line did not protect well [4 sacks and lots of pressure], but the receivers too often did not get open. 

Washington’s defense allowed the Eagles to score on four of their first six possessions [3 TD, 1 FG] to build a 24-0 lead. It was reminiscent of the disgraceful defensive performance against the Minnesota Vikings ten days ago.

Washington’s offense failed to score on its first eight possessions. A team’s offense just cannot produce nothing for that long and hope to win NFL games.

RG3 completed fewer than 50% of his passes, struggled with accuracy most of the game, didn’t get a passing game going until the fourth quarter and made one of the worst plays you’ll ever see on that interception that ended the game. Griffin missed a wide-open TE Logan Paulsen on the team’s first drive. He missed a wide-open receiver over the middle on the team’s first possession of the second half. He missed a wide-open Santana Moss on third and 12 that would have been a first down. He threw a screen pass that was so awful it was almost intercepted by an Eagles defensive lineman. A few plays after that he missed a wide-open Logan Paulsen on fourth down that also would have extended the drive instead of ending it. On the final drive, Griffin missed Moss again on a deep pass down the right sideline that would have been a big gainer. On first down from the 49-yard line on the final drive, RG3 missed a wide open Pierre Garcon [6 catches for 68 yards]. And all that came before the hideous final play.

WR Nick Williams had a tough time returning punts all day, but when he let an Eagles punt bounce near the Washington 20-yard line it was a terrible mistake. The ball bounced down to the Washington 4-yard line, forcing the Redskins to go 96 yards on their final drive. Williams could have cut that punt off, but he allowed the Eagles to get away with a 70-yard punt. As we saw, they managed to go 78 yards before RG3‘s putrid interception.

The Eagles had 313 yards early in the third quarter. They finished with 402, fewer than Washington, but that big lead Philadelphia built into the fourth quarter was too much for Washington to overcome.

The Redskins had 4 yards passing at halftime.

On one play Trent Williams allowed RG3 to get sacked by Trent Cole. And Williams held Cole on the play. Blocking didn’t work so he held. And that didn’t work either.

The Redskins committed three more personal foul penalties today, including yet another from ILB Perry Riley and a very stupid face mask on WR Pierre Garcon that put Washington in a 2nd-and-25 very late in the fourth quarter. Every week the Redskins talk about the need to play with more discipline and every week they make the same mistakes.

TE Jordan Reed suffered a concussion in the first half and missed most of the game. He finished with only one reception for 12 yards. The Redskins passing game badly needs Reed.

THE UGLY… I go back to Washington’s final offensive play of the game. RG3 simply cannot make the throw he made there. If the pressure bothered him he needed to throw the ball away. The Redskins would have come back with a 4th and 1 with about 40 seconds on Philadelphia’s 17-yard line. They’d still have an excellent chance to win the game. Instead, Griffin didn’t give his team a chance to complete the comeback. It was a play that went beyond rookie — it was bush league.

WHAT IT ALL MEANS… The important part of Washington’s season is over. I figured it was over after the shameful loss to a terrible Vikings team 10 days ago, but now even the most optimistic Redskins fan must admit the competitive part of the season is over. Washington has fallen into last place. The Redskins have lost more games than they did all last year and after going 5-1 in the NFC East last year, they are now o-3, dropping two to Philadelphia and one to Dallas. Perhaps the worst thing about this latest loss is that the Redskins had 10 days to prepare for the game, but seemed just as befuddled by Philadelphia’s offense [and defense] as they were in the season opener. Once again the Philly defense — no juggernaut — held Washington’s offense scoreless in the first half. For all the talk during the week about the defense being more prepared for Philadelphia this time, there was no evidence of it until after the Eagles had once again built a big, big lead. The Redskins did not seem prepared to play this game until they allowed their opponent to build a virtually insurmountable lead.

We now go to the final seven games of the season and, once again, the Redskins are out of the playoff picture. Now the team is playing for whatever pride it has left. Mike Shanahan is coaching for his job, as are all his assistants. Another meaningless December awaits Washington football fans. The optimism of 2012 is gone. The team of 2012 is gone.