The Washington Redskins opened their 2017-18 season Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins came into the game riding the coattails of a five-game winning streak against the Eagles including sweeping their long-standing rival the last two seasons. A sixth straight victory was not to be as Washington struggled to move the ball on offense against a much-improved Jim Schwartz-coached Philadelphia defense that was directed at causing issues for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.
For the Redskins defense, the day started on an awkward moment as linebacker Preston Smtih sacked second-year Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and then rookie-defensive end Jonathan Allen had serious pressure on him the very next play. In that moment, Redskins fans had a rush of excitement as the team's number one offseason goal, improving the defensive, appeared to have been accomplished. And then Allen missed the tackle. What happened next possibly shaped the entire days as Wentz was able to miss outstretched arms from Allen and deliver a pass to a then wide-open Nelson Agholor who was able to streak down the sidelines for a 58-yard touchdown. The play set the tone for what would ultimately be a close game that the Redskins never really were in control of. The play was one of those back-breaking moments where a defense seemingly does everything they can, but when receivers have five to six seconds to move around downfield, it's hard to keep them covered. On that day, the Redskins were led defensively by Allen (four tackles and countless pressures) and inside linebacker Zach Brown who led all defenders with 12 combined tackles on the day including two for losses.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was pretty direct with his analogy of the game.
"You have four turnovers, 0-for-2 in the red zone, three-for- 10 on third down. They were eight-for-13 on the third down, you don't have to look at the stat sheet for very long to see who won and lost."