By Tucker Bagley
The Eagles are hosting the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football and lead, 14-13 at the half. Here is what happened in the first 30 minutes of action:
- A Golden Start: The Eagles had their best opening drive of the season, draining 7:29 off the clock and capping off a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Golden Tate. The offense was clicking on all cylinders as five different players recorded a first down and Tate and Wentz finally looked to be on the same page, improvising for a 19-yard gain and that touchdown.
- Play action. The Eagles have shown a renewed commitment to running the football and it paid off on their second touchdown drive. Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for 39 yards off a rollout and then connected with Zach Ertz for a 17-yard gain two plays later. However, the Eagles offense stalled out at the two-yard line, failing to score. Still, it was nice to see Wentz out of the pocket and making big plays.
- Darren Sproles is back. The veteran running back doesn't look nearly as explosive as he did in his prime, but he showed some tough running on his 14-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half. The Eagles have been desperately searching for a big-play threat in their backfield and pairing Sproles and the powerful Josh Adams could turn out to be very fruitful for the Birds.
- The second act. The Eagles forced a three-and-out right after their opening drive and looked to have all momentum in their favor. But a poor kick return by Darren Sproles, a flat offensive drive and a penalty-filled drive on defense allowed Washington to drive into the Eagles' red zone before settling for a field goal. The ending wasn't terrible, but instead of taking a big lead over a team with no passing offense, the Eagles opened the door for a possible comeback.
- Mark Sanchez, Big Play Machine. As soon as Sanchez, entered the game, the Washington offense took off, taking the lead on just one play. Granted, it was a 90-yard run by the seemingly ageless Adrian Peterson, but I'm sure the leadership Sanchez showed in the huddle inspired the veteran to take off for the end zone.
The Eagles defense shouldn't allow any more points unless they fail to stop the run. Sanchez makes the Washington offense incredibly one-dimensional. It's up to Doug Pederson to scheme up ways to get the ball in the end zone. The Birds haven't had much trouble moving the ball against the Redskins, but their first two red zone trips were less than stellar. If the offense can remain committed to the run and get the ball into the end zone, this game can turn into a blow out.
Second Half X-Factor: Mark Sanchez
With Colt McCoy out of the game with an ankle injury, the Skins have turned to the Sanchise in an effort to salvage their season. Sanchez started 10 games for the Eagles during the final two years of the Chip Kelly era, going 4-6 in relief of Nick Foles and Sam Bradford. After the Birds victory last week over their old friend Pat Shurmur, it's nice to see the ghosts of 2015 come back and help the 2018 squad's efforts to return to the postseason.