As the Philadelphia Eagles closed out the first half with a touchdown on the final play, three Washington Chiefs fans in Section 412 dropped the gold towels handed out by the team as they entered the lower seats and headed for the exits.
Amidst the mostly green crowd, Burgadi’s remains languished. Any hope that the Chiefs had a week ago was dashed when they fell in the first half on Sunday and ultimately lost to their NFC East rivals. 24-8Carson Wentz in his first game with the first team.
Confusion is like having “constipation,” said Charles Leno Jr. “We can’t go.”
A big difference this time: There was no rally in the second half Last week’s loss in Detroit. It wasn’t the last breath – especially not from Wentz. The quarterback finished 25 for 43 for 211 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for a 71.0 passer rating. He was sacked nine times, tallied eight in his career. Opening of the 2020 season When he was with the Eagles at FedEx Field and suited up for Sunday, the team was known as the Washington Football Team.
Wentz’s scene was confusing and disturbing, and raised questions about his beliefs and emotions when faced with his former team. He admitted it was a “surrender” when he reunited with some of his former teammates before the game, but said it didn’t make any difference to the game.
“Once the kickoff happened, it was football again,” Wentz said. “I think they got our number today. … I know the Eagles fans travel well, and they showed up and had a lot to cheer about today. We didn’t play our best football. I didn’t play my best ball either.
His replacement in Philadelphia played like a ready veteran in the game. Jalen Harts completed 22 of 35 attempts for 340 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.5 rating.
The lopsided display was a reminder of a match the Chiefs (1-2) had hoped to forget. In last week’s 36-27 loss at Detroit, Wentz was sacked four times in the first half as the offense struggled to generate much. Terry McClarin didn’t have a target at that point, the defense allowed three plays of at least 23 yards, and the Chiefs went into halftime down 22-0.
In Sunday’s first half, with mostly Eagles fans in attendance, Wentz was sacked six times, including one fumble. McClarin was not targeted again, mainly because the quarterback struggled to come up with the pass and the Chiefs allowed five plays of 23 or more yards. At halftime, Washington was down 24-0, a gap too big to overcome.
“The biggest thing is not to give up. [explosive plays]cornerback Kendall Fuller said. “I think I gave up two that both lead to points, so that’s something we’re going to improve on and I’m going to improve.”
Those plays were costly early, but the sacks cost Washington for most of the game. Somehow the Eagles’ half-time edge didn’t show their complete dominance.
Washington’s depleted defensive line was held in the first quarter to put pressure on injuries and played tight coverage in the second. Benjamin Saint-Juste, a second-year cornerback who worked mainly in the slot during the first two games, was switched out because William Jackson III was inactive with a back injury. Saint-Juste had three pass breakups, two of which were on third-and-long, saving Washington from big plays.
Among the biggest threats from Philadelphia is the rushing offense, which ranks second in yards per game. Washington held the Eagles to 72 rushing yards on the day, a significant feat considering the run defense is one of the Chiefs’ weak links.
But in the second quarter, the Eagles (3-0) found their groove as Wentz continued to make hit after hit, shutting down the offense before moving on.
“We didn’t sustain drives enough, and we didn’t make enough plays on the outside to sustain drives,” McLaurin said. “… It’s tough when you lose, but especially in that fashion and in your category.
Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox had a hand in Wentz’s first two sacks; Joining Javon Hargrave soon after, Washington guards Trey Turner and Andrew Norwell made light work of both newcomers. But sack accumulation wasn’t just the offensive line’s problem. Wentz’s long hold on the ball creates line pressure, forcing defenders to wait long before the pocket collapses.
“The sacks and stuff, that’s not on them,” Wentz said of the line. “Most probably not. … I have to get it [the ball] Go out and be confident. I think we did some of that today. It’s just not enough.”
Washington tried to run the ball sparingly, with limited success. But the Eagles’ expanding lead forced the Chiefs to make plays — 33 of Wentz’s 43 field goal attempts in the second half — despite the blowout. And many times they did.
Short screen passes thrown to the ground. Deep balls go deep. Each snapshot drew a collective gasp from the city’s fans around. Wentz appeared shaken, and his teammates looked tired and frustrated.
Philadelphia’s scoring was held in the first half as Hurts threw all three touchdown passes, one to Dallas Goedert, another to wide receiver AJ Brown and the third to Devonta Smith, a 44-yard pass that cleared the stands twice in coverage to set up his two-yard touchdown on the final play. But even then, Washington squandered its limited opportunities.
Its first points came on a safety by defensive tackle Darron Payne — after Washington failed to punt into the end zone on fourth-and-one — to make it 24-2. And although McClarin finished with six catches for 102 yards, it wasn’t until the third quarter that he was finally targeted.
“I think [Wentz] He could have played better,” coach Ron Rivera said bluntly. “This is the reality.”
Some Command fans stuck around to witness three more sacks before heading to the exits, including Antonio Gibson’s one-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left.