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DeSean Jackson shines in Eagles' win | Instant Analysis

Eliot Shorr-Parks
September 08, 2019 - 4:20 pm
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The Eagles didn’t get the quick start that they wanted — but they did begin the season with a win. 

It wasn’t pretty for the first half, but once the Eagles heated up they ended up handling the Washington Redskins fairly easily in their 32-27 win on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The win was the fourth-straight opening day win for head coach Doug Pederson. 

Here are some instant takeaways from the Eagles’ win: 

DeSean Jackson: Annnnnnnnd that is exactly why they brought back DeSean Jackson. 

On a day when the Eagles’ offense struggled most of the game, Jackson gave the Eagles life exactly when they needed it twice, saving the day and making sure the season got off on the right foot. 

Jackson struck for his first touchdown of the game when he hauled in a 51-yard touchdown with just under five minutes to play in the second quarter. Jackson got behind the Washington secondary and quarterback Carson Wentz hit him perfectly in stride as he crossed the goal line. Jackson found the end zone for the second time with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter when he once again struck from 53-yards out, as Washington lost him in coverage and he walked into the end zone. Jackson finished the game with eight catches for 154 yards. 

The touchdowns couldn’t have come at a better time and showed exactly why the Eagles brought him back. The best deep threat Carson Wentz has had in his career, Jackson is capable of changing a game on a single play — something he did twice, to thunderous applause, on Sunday. 

Carson Wentz: Wentz obviously got off to a rusty start— but once he heated up, he played exactly like the coaches are hoping he will play this season. 

After totaling just 36 yards on his first seven completions, Wentz started to turn things around towards the end of the second half when he hit receiver DeSean Jackson for a 51-yard touchdown. The long touchdown got Wentz going, who took the Eagles on another touchdown drive at the beginning of the third quarter that killed over seven minutes off the clock and totaled 75 yards on 12 plays. 

Wentz made one of his best throws of the day at the end of that drive when he hit receiver Alshon Jeffery in the back of the end zone. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the five-yard line, Wentz had pressure in his face but did an excellent job keeping his eyes in the back of the end zone, moving up in the pocket and firing it to Jeffery despite tight coverage. 

Darren Sproles: Head coach Doug Pederson loves himself some Darren Sproles. Sproles was the lead back against Washington, getting more touches than any other running back on the team in the first half. 

First quarter offense: An emphasis for the team throughout the entire offseason was making sure they got off to a quick start in games. So much for that. 

The Eagles’ offense was out gained 147 yards to 24 in the first quarter, scoring 0 points in the process. The Eagles averaged just 3.1 yards per play in the first quarter on offense, while Washington — that doesn’t have anywhere near the same kind of offensive talent the Eagles do — averaged 8.6 yards. Part of that falls on the defense, but watching the offense struggle at the start of the game once again had to be very alarming for coaches. 

Yes, it was the first game. But seeing the same issue that haunted this team last season appear in the seasoner opener is not encouraging.  

Defense: The concerns about the defense getting off to a slow start proved to be extremely valid. The Eagles’ starting 11 players on defense took exactly zero snaps together in the preseason or training camp, and that showed, as they allowed Washington to score on their first three possessions of the game. Washington, that does not have a great set of skill position players, totaled 218 yards on the first three drives, doing almost anything they wanted against Jim Schwartz’s unit. 

The Eagles’ defense turned it around at halftime, holding Washington scoreless in the third quarter, allowing their offense to begin the comeback. 

Conservative Doug Pederson: Head coach Doug Pederson made a few curious calls early on in the game. First, he called a play that pitched it back to running back Darren Sproles on 3rd-and-1, forcing him to go five-yards instead of one. The play didn’t work and it was a curious call especially coming out of a time out. Pederson was also conservative with just under two minutes to play in the first half when on 3rd-and-10 he called for a screen pass to receiver DeSean Jackson, who gained just five yards. 

The offense ended up turning it around, but the head coach didn’t seem to do his players any favors early on with some very conservative play calling. 

Ronald Darby: Sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due — and the 48-yard touchdown by tight end Vernon Davis is certainly one of those moments. That being sdaid, the tackling on the play was horrendous. Davis jumped right over cornerback Ronald Darby on a short completion, then broke tackles from Andrew Sendejo and Rondey McLeod was well. The touchdown gave Washington a 7-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the first quarter. 

Darby gave up another big play on 3rd-and-four with under a minute to play in the first half when receiver Terry McLaurin out jumped him for a crucial third-down conversion. On what was an otherwise impressive win for the Eagles, the cornerbacks were definitely an issue. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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