Sunday afternoon Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders hosted their first division rivalry game against the Philadelphia Eagles. As always in division games there was high intensity coming into the game for both teams. However, there was an added incentive for this game. Being that it was Carson Wentz’ first game facing his former team; since being traded in 2020. However, things wouldn’t go as planned for Wentz and Washington. As it was tough sledding the entire game for the Commanders’ offense.
Commanders’ Offense Host Eagles Sack Party
For consecutive weeks the Commanders’ offensive line was dominated in the trenches. Paralyzing their offense with their inability to protect their quarterback. So much so, that they are tied with the Bengals for allowing the most sacks this season; at 15 total sacks.
From the opening series the Eagles’ defense was all over Wentz. Foreshadowing the intense pressure that he would be under for the entire game. As the Eagles defensive line dominated the entire game; having a sack party on Washington’s offense.
Which was led by 13-year vet Brandon Grahm; who had 2.5 sacks. As a team they were able to sack Wentz nine times. Six of them coming in the first half; which was a franchise record for most sacks in a half.
It was evident that the Eagles front four were too overpowering for Washington’s offensive line to stand up too. They were able to get a sack on Wentz on almost every possession they had in the first half. Making it difficult for Washington to get anything going on offense.
Furthermore, this caused the Commander’s offense to be stationary in their ability to move the ball down the field. As Wentz was only able to gain 24-yards passing on 3-10 completions for the entire first half.
Even in the few instances when Wentz did have time to throw. He was inaccurate with the ball; throwing the ball high on some of his throws. Which has been an issue for him so far this season.
Not much could be said for the running game either; as they were only able to get 35-yards rushing in the first half. Although they did go on to have more rushing yards overall than the Eagles for the game. Their lack of effectiveness on the offensive line limited their play call sheet. As they were in a lot of 2nd and 3rd & longs, which put them in passing situations.
Commanders’ Offensive Lulls Continue
For the second week in a row the Commanders’ offense were held to zero points in the first half. With them having their lulls in the first half; they found themselves behind the eight ball and having to play catch up. Being down 24-0 at the half.
Thus, limiting them to the type of plays they could run. Allowing for the Eagle’s defense to get after Carson Wentz. Who found himself seeing green all day long. From the green jersey’s of the defenders in his face to the green grass he saw on his way down from all the sacks he took.
Ultimately, the Commanders’ offense would show a little life in the second half. Highlighted by a 45-yard catch by Terry McLaurin up the left sideline. However, that was really the only big play that Washington would have in the game.
Unlike the previous weeks where they were able to flip the script in the second half. Notably, the Commanders’ offensive struggles carried throughout the entirety of the game. As they were never able to get things going until late in the game. Which by that time the fat lady had already begun to sing.
It seemed like any and everything went wrong for Washington. From not being able to punch in the touchdown on 4th & goal early in the fourth quarter to the wide open dropped pass by Jahan Dotson later on in the fourth. The Commanders’ offense just wasn’t able to generate the big play needed to revitalize their offense.
Game Won in Second Quarter
For as bad as the Commanders played offensively, their defense was able to play their best game as a unit so far this season. Pitching a shutout for three out of the four quarters. As all 24 of Philadelphia’s points would come in the second quarter.
In the first quarter of the game it was a defensive battle for both teams. As the Commanders were able to get stops on the Eagles’ first two drives. An attributing factor to that was how Washington was able to keep Philadelphia’s rushing game under wraps. Which was their biggest threat coming into this week’s game.
However, Jalen Hurts and his offense would find their rhythm offensively late in the first quarter. As he would torch the Commander’s defense with his arm. Connecting with DeVonta Smith on a 45-yard bomb down the right sideline; setting the Eagles up in scoring position. Which led to them kicking in a field goal to end the drive.
Coupled with a costly turnover by Carson Wentz; losing the ball after being sacked. The Eagle’s offense was back on the field. Wasting no time putting up more points on the drive. As Hurt’s hit tight end, Dallas Goedert, on a screen pass that went for a 23-yard touchdown.
Therefore, igniting the Eagles’ offense. As they went on to score on two out of their next three possessions to end the half. With Hurt’s connecting with his top two receivers; DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown, for touchdowns.
On their final drive of the half with just under two minutes left in the half, the Eagles would seemingly put the nail on the coffin. As they went on a 76-yard scoring drive to end the half. Which was highlighted by an immaculate catch made by DeVonta Smith.
Who went up over top of two Commanders’ defenders to snag the ball out the air. The ensuing play he once again went over the top of Kendall Fuller on a corner route in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
Big Plays Torment Commanders Once Again
Overall, Hurt’s lit up the Commanders’ secondary with big plays. Connecting with his receivers for monster plays down the field. As the offense amassed for six big time plays of over 20-yards; four of which went for 40+ yards.
Two of which went to second-year receiver, DeVonta Smith. Who had a massive day for the Eagles, and was the prime target for their offense in the second quarter. As he had a career day; garnering 156 of his 169 total receiving yards in the first half alone.
Consequently, for the second week in a row it was the big plays from the opposing team that was the determining factor in Washington’s loss. As they gave up 400 yards of total offense; 328 of those coming in the air.
For those that thought that last week’s defensive debacle in Detroit was a fluke. With the amount of big plays that the Commanders’ defense gave up. DeVonta Smith’s huge first half showed that this is a very concerning flaw in their defense. And if not fixed immediately Washington can look forward to more receivers having big performances on them.
Next week the Commanders head on the road to face off against their biggest rivals in the entire division, the Dallas Cowboys. As they look to bounce back from this past week’s horrifying performance in hopes to get to five hundred for the season.
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