The Philadelphia Eagles will make headlines for their offense all season. However, the Eagles made headlines with their defense for all the wrong reasons this preseason, and stood to be even worse in the regular season. Yet on Sept. 9 against the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia’s defensive performance for the first 30+ minutes of its 33-27 win was even more surprising than its offense.
While Chip Kelly’s offense ran 53 first half plays and kept the defense off the field for all but almost nine minutes, the Redskins did very little even when their offense was around. New defensive coordinator Bill Davis and his 3-4 hybrid attack befuddled Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and the Redskins, forcing three turnovers and a safety while the Eagles ran up a 33-7 lead.
Once the Eagles went up by 26 points, the offense seemed to flip the switch off – and the defense followed suit. Griffin finally moved down the field for the first time all night, yet Philadelphia was fortunate that it resulted in a missed field goal. Yet after that, the Redskins soon got their first touchdown and then got another one after a Jason Avant fumble.
With nine minutes left, the Redskins were only down by 33-20 and had the ball at their own six, but soon got into Eagles’ territory. However, the defense made its only real stop of the second half by making Washington turn the ball over on downs. It turned out to make all the difference after the Redskins closed to within 33-27 anyway.
Otherwise, Philadelphia’s second half defense was more in line with what everyone expected for this season. If that defense shows up more often and the Eagles don’t have 33-7 leads beforehand, even Philadelphia’s first half offense might not be enough to balance it out. But will the offense and defense work in sync for more than one half in one game instead?