In an emotional game between divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles outlasted the Washington Redskins and escaped with a 37-34 win.
LeSean McCoy was held to just 22 rushing yards on 20 carries, but Nick Foles came through with 325 passing yards and three touchdowns to help lead the Eagles to a 3-0 record.
Kirk Cousins—starting in place of the injured Robert Griffin III—had a huge game with 427 passing yards and three touchdowns to go with one interception. He found his playmakers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon early and often as the duo combined for 255 of those receiving yards.
However, a few mistakes and a poor defensive effort forced the Redskins to drop to 1-2 on the year.
Cousins got off to a fast start, completing all seven of his passes on the first drive for 59 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass to Darrel Young.
ESPN’s Mark Schlereth liked what he saw from the young quarterback at this point:
However, the Eagles were able to respond right away thanks to their special teams, as described by Trey Wingo of ESPN:
The rest of the first half was a showcase between Foles and Cousins as both offenses were doing whatever they wanted in a high-scoring battle.
After the Redskins took a 20-14 lead in the second quarter, Foles provided his best throw of the day to put his team ahead on his second touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews. ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi was impressed by the play:
By halftime, the Eagles held a 21-20 lead but both starting quarterbacks were performing well, via CBS Sports:
The scoring slowed a bit in the second half with Philadelphia settling for a pair of field goals. This was until DeSean Jackson got his revenge against his former team with an 81-yard touchdown reception.
Rich Eisen of NFL Network described the play as the Redskins tied it 27-27:
This was just the start of what became an emotional game.
In the midst of a Redskins interception return in the fourth quarter (which was later reviewed and called incomplete), defensive tackle Chris Baker put a big hit on Foles, which Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports detailed:
Baker was ejected for the play, along with Eagles tackle Jason Peters in an ensuing scuffle, forcing the line to be shorthanded, as noted by Jeff Skversky of WPVI Philadelphia:
Foles was able to respond with a touchdown drive, hitting Jeremy Maclin for a 27-yard touchdown to take the lead.
The Redskins had a chance to either tie or go ahead on a drive in the closing minutes, but Cousins overthrew a receiver on fourth down to end the threat. Still, Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan was entertained throughout:
Even in the loss, there was a lot to like for the Redskins. Head coach Jay Gruden was confident in Cousins coming through in this game, via Mike Wise of The Washington Post:
I feel like we can win any game with Kirk Cousins…Kirk is a special guy. He started four games last year and didn’t have great success, but obviously has a skill set that I feel like is very much suited for what we do. He can handle it mentally, and obviously, physically. I feel that he can make every throw in the book and we are going to move forward with Kirk.
Although he could not pull out the win, it is clear the quarterback has the ability to lead this team in the future.
Washington will have a short week before playing the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football. With every division game being important, the squad will hope it can be ready physically and mentally in time.
Things get tougher for the Eagles with a road game against the San Francisco 49ers. With both teams considering themselves top contenders in the NFC, this could end up being a big matchup for the rest of the season.
Based on the ability to come through in big moments throughout the year, Philadelphia should go into Week 4 with a lot of confidence.
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