Tale of two halves for Redskins in season opener

September 9, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson, left, catches a touchdown pass against Washington Redskins' Josh Norman during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

The Redskins couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year…for 30 minutes. After a nearly perfect first half, with the exception of a DeSean Jackson touchdown, the Redskins led 20-7 on the road in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the game is 60 minutes.

There was a lot to digest in week one, but here were five big take-aways:

1. Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson was inactive

Head coach Jay Gruden started the year with a little drama, having last year’s player of the year on offense in street clothes on the sidelines. Gruden said Peterson’s status will basically be determined on a week-to-week basis.

“If we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in I-formation then sure I’ll get him up,” Gruden said.

The roster squeeze comes down to the need for extra bodies on special teams from the running back position, according to Gruden. Meanwhile, Derrius Guice saw his first regular season action and finished with only 18 yards on 10 carries. Let’s see how long this goes on.

2. The offense came out and hit the Eagles in the mouth

The first half was a very good start for Case Keenum and company. Gruden called a very good first 30 minutes, mixing the run and pass effectively. Keenum finished with more than 250 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The Redskins didn’t punt the ball until 5:59 remaining in the second quarter. In the second half, the Redskins ran only 10 offensive plays until late in the game and didn’t register a first down until there were three minutes left in the game.

3. The rookie wide receivers showed signs of promise

Gruden kept preaching that his young receivers are ready for the big stage. A lot of the questions heading into the year were on the offensive side, more specifically at the wideout position. The team cut Josh Doctson and had only one receiver on the roster that had started an NFL game heading into the year. After one week, there is definitely optimism and something to build on. Terry McLaurin caught a 70-yard touchdown pass and finished with over 100 yards. Kelvin Harmon had a 20-yard reception and Trey Quinn showed some quickness and good hands on a few receptions as well.

4. The defense needs to be better

After an effective first half, the defense couldn’t get off the field after halftime. The Eagles came out and took seven minutes off the clock to start the third quarter and proceeded to control the time of possession for the final 30 minutes. The defense gave up big plays with a lot of miscommunication in the secondary. DeSean Jackson proved he can still play, catching eight passes for 154 yards and two long touchdown passes to seal the game.    

5. Jonathan Allen’s absence hurt up front

The Eagles weren’t able to run the ball early on, mostly because of the Redskins’ stout defensive line. Then Jonathan Allen left the game with a knee sprain. Philadelphia had only 22 yards on the ground in the first half but put up more than 100 yards rushing in the second half. Allen going down was a big blow, but the Redskins say the depth is there and it really shouldn’t have been that glaring of a loss.

The Redskins stay in the division next week when the Cowboys come to FedEx Field for the home opener.

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