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Eagles win; will play Cowboys for 1st place

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 03, 2018 - 11:11 pm

Despite all of the injuries, poor play and painful losses, the Eagles are now heading to Dallas for a first-place showdown with the Cowboys. 

The Eagles took care of business on Monday night in their 28-13 win over the Washington Redskins, a game that wasn't always pretty, but did improve their record to 6-6 and gave them their first winning streak of the season. 

If the Eagles beat the Cowboys next Sunday they will improve to 7-6 and in control of first place in the NFC East. The Eagles would be in first place over the Cowboys because they would have a better record in the division. 

Here are some takeaways from the Eagles' win over Washington:

Carson Wentz: Let's start with this -- quarterback Carson Wentz's third-quarter interception in the red zone was a terrible decision and throw. It not only cost the Eagles points, but it killed any momentum they had as they were driving and seemed to be control of the game. 

Take away that interception, however, and Wentz had arguably his best game of the season. 

Wentz wasn't perfect, but he had the offense moving on Monday night, as the Eagles went up-and-down the field against a pretty good Washington defense. Wentz led the Eagles' offense to 218 yards and 14 points in the first half, a significant improvement from what the offense has been able to manage at the start of games so far this season. Wentz had a number of nice throws throughout the night, including the touchdown pass to receiver Golden Tate, a pass Wentz squeezed into a tight window after avoiding pressure. Wentz also displayed some nice touches on his pass, both on a pass to Tate down the left sideline for 19-yards in the first quarter, and then on a 39-yard completion to receiver Nelson Agholor in the second quarter. 

Over the last six quarters, Wentz has helped lead the offense to 35 points, which might not sound like much, but it is a significant improvement from where this unit was just a few short weeks ago. 

First quarter: All season the Eagles have insisted they are a team better off playing with a lead. On Monday night they finally got a chance to do just that, as the offense went on a 12-play, 75-yard drive on the opening series of the game, giving them a 7-0 lead. The touchdown drive featured a balanced offense, with seven running plays to five pass attempts. The drive was capped off by a touchdown to receiver Golden Tate, his first of the season in an Eagles’ uniform. 

Prevent defense: Eagles had the Redskins in 3rd-and-30 on the 36-yard line, but came out in their picket-fence defense, with multiple defenders just lined up along the first-down marker. The result was an easy 10-yard completion for Washington over the middle, putting them in field goal range. The spot seemed like the right time to attack Washington and hopefully push them further back, which would either force a punt or an even longer field goal. 

Sidney Jones: The Eagles' second-year cornerback has struggled all season against the run, and Monday night was no different. Jones badly missed a tackle on Washington running back Adrian Peterson’s 90-yard touchdown run, freeing the veteran player to sprint right down the middle of the field for the score. Jones appeared to be late getting over, so when Peterson came into the second level, Jones had a bad angle and whiffed on his attempted tackle. The result was a touchdown that gave Washington a 10-7 lead with just over nine minutes to play in the second quarter. Defenses are going to continue to attack Jones in the run game until he proves he can stop it. 

4th-and-1: Pederson made a questionable decision in the second quarter when he decided to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line, trailing 10-7 with just over four minutes to play before the half. After a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty, the Eagles ran the ball with running back Josh Adams right up the middle — but he was stuffed for a two-yard loss. The decision-making on the final two plays was questionable. First, they threw the ball to Jordan Matthews on a slant, a play that should have worked by Wentz put the ball a little too far infront of Matthews. Then, on fourth down, tight end Zach Ertz was not even in the game, despite him being their best red zone weapon. Considering how this team has struggled to score points all season, the decision to pass on the field goal — combined with a bad play call on fourth down — was a bad one. 

Darren Sproles: The road to the field has been a long one for running back Darren Sproles, but he made an impact in his first game back, scoring a touchdown from 14-yards out in the second quarter. Sproles did an excellent job at the end of the run, avoiding about three Washington defenders before diving into the end zone. The touchdown not only gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead, but it had to feel good for Sproles, who has battled multiple hamstring injuries this season -- in addition to the ACL he tore last season -- in his attempt to get back out onto the field. Sproles giving this offense anything has to be considered a luxury at this point, and if he can contribute going forward, it will be an unexpected boost a struggling offense. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at [email protected]!

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