ReFo: Redskins @ Eagles, Week 3
The offense was overflowing in Philadelphia’s win over Washington in a game that had a little bit of everything. A kick return touchdown, a lineman with an illegal block 50 yards downfield on a screen, and a bench clearing brawl; all rarities that were featured on the field Sunday.
The biggest of story of them all though was the new-look quarterback battle. When these two teams met in week 1 last season, Michael Vick outdueled Robert Griffin III for the Eagles victory. Nick Foles (+1.6) would end up taking Vick’s job away midway through last season and now Kirk Cousins is gunning to do the same with RG3. A few more like Sunday and that could become a real possibility.
Washington Redskins – Performances of Note
Kirk Cousins, QB: +4.5
Breakdown: It truly is a shame that Cousins fizzled out in the fourth quarter, because for three quarters I thought he could be headed to the PFF Page of Fame. He just kept hitting ridiculous deep ball after ridiculous deep ball, ending the day 4-of-6 for 184 yards on targets 20+ yards downfield. Cousins also had 50 yards through the air lost from five dropped passes on the day. It was truly a special performance from the third-year quarterback who looks every bit a starter in this league.
Signature Play: In the second quarter at 5:44, Cousins hit Pierre Garcon up the left sideline against cover two with a throwing window about the diameter of a beach ball.
Jason Hatcher, DE: +5.1
Breakdown: Even though the Redskins didn’t notch an official sack on the day, the defensive line absolutely dominated the Philadelphia offensive line. Hatcher was responsible for five of the Redskins 25 pressures on the day. What set Hatcher apart though was the speed of his pressures. On almost all of them it took just one move for Hatcher to gain separation on the offensive lineman.
Signature Stat: On third down with 13:43 left in the third quarter, Hatcher went straight through right guard Todd Herremans chest for a sack that was negated due to offsetting holding penalties.
Niles Paul, TE: -3.0
Breakdown: The counting stats (six catches for 68 yards) may not look all that much worse than previous weeks for Paul, but the quality of play was at a markedly different level. Paul made a nice 37 yard catch up the sideline midway through the first against Bradley Fletcher, but he also dropped a would-be first down late in the second quarter. Where the real difference in his play stemmed from though was his run blocking. Paul was ragdolled repeatedly by Trent Cole and Connor Barwin setting the edge. Blocking either of those two is not an easy task, but Paul plainly could not do it alone and required double team help frequently.
Signature Play: Immediately after the Eagles go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Paul gives up on a tightly covered seam route not expecting the pass to come his way. The ball sails over his head for an interception.
Philadelphia Eagles – Performances of Note
LeSean McCoy, RB: -4.9
Breakdown: How did they let him back into the game? Watching all of LeSean McCoy’s snaps on Sunday, it is almost impossible to not ask that question. Every decision came in slow motion compared to the lightning quick bounce we’ve come to expect from McCoy. He was visibly spooked on runs between the tackles, never getting up to full speed and changing holes at the slightest hint of a collapsing point of attack. There were just odd mistakes throughout the game, like running out of bounds and not knowing (second quarter at 7:20) or fumbling off his own knee (in the third quarter at 14:03), that make me think McCoy wasn’t all there Sunday.
Signature Stat: McCoy failed to break a tackle and averaged just 0.5 yards after contact per attempt.
Malcolm Jenkins, S: +2.5
Breakdown: Boy did the Eagles need this game from Malcolm Jenkins. With a team -6.4 coverage grade and 427 yards allowed, there was a lot of sloppy play coming from the Eagles’ secondary. Jenkins, on the other hand, was steady throughout. He was targeted in primary coverage just once on the day, yielding no catches. His real value though came in secondary coverage. Jenkins lined up as a deep safety on 59% of plays and his interception from that middle of the field safety position was the highlight of the game for the Eagles defense.
Signature Play: With 7:34 left in the fourth quarter, Jenkins recognized early that the pass was sailing over Niles Paul’s head on a seam route and broke straight to ball for a diving interception.
Andrew Gardner, OT: -6.4
Breakdown: The Eagles had held up well enough with their backup tackle through two weeks against the likes of Erik Walden, Red Bryant, and Andre Branch. None of those guys quite have the juice of Ryan Kerrigan (+2.7), though, and Gardner found that out on Sunday. The right tackle just wasn’t equipped to handle Kerrigan’s bull rush and was in Foles’ lap play after play. Gardner allowed six pressures between his 56 snaps at right tackle and 18 snaps at left.
Signature Stat: Gardner’s 88.1 Pass Blocking Efficiency was the second worst among tackles in Week 3.
PFF Game Ball
Even though he couldn’t come away with a win, Kirk Cousins did all he could, leading the Redskins to 34 points and over 500 yards of offense.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner