Be honest –

Did you think the Eagles were going to lose that game? Or did you grab the -134 moneyline when they were down seven at halftime?

Hopefully there was more of the latter than the former, because it was reasonable to believe that the 2nd half couldn’t be any worse than the first. We’re talking Swiss cheese defense, a couple of bad bounces, and some lethargic offense to kick off the first 1 p.m. game on the Eagles’ schedule.

Unfortunately, the latter was also wishful thinking.

Thankfully the Birds got it out of their system in time to pitch a third quarter shut out and take their first lead. They then survived a second half referee clown show and a series of self-inflicted, gaping wounds, including a taunting penalty and gross intentional grounding sequence, to scrape by on a 54-yard Jake Elliott overtime winner.

It should have never come to down to that, and holy cow was that game nauseating. Good experience if you like angina and high-blood pressure. Too similar to the Washington game at home last year, with the Dallas Goedert blown facemask call and Quez Watkins fumble. The Birds honestly won a three-front battle on Sunday afternoon. They defeated the Commies, the refs, and Brian Johnson’s questionable (at times) playcalling. They played down to their opponent’s level, but did enough to get to 4-0.

To the observations:

 

1) I liked Ron Rivera’s decision to run on 4th and 1 on the opening Commanders drive. You’re playing on the road, nothing to lose, against the #2 time of possession team in the NFL. That was a gamble worth taking. They got the defensive holding call against Zach Cunningham (didn’t look like much on the one replay they finally showed) and then ran it in to complete a 14 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that took 7:08 off the clock.

2) Lovely response from the Eagles, who also went 75 yards but did it with 12 plays in 6:35. Lots of A.J. Brown and D’Andre Swift on the drive, but there was a key third down conversion from Dallas Goedert on Hurts’ best throw of the drive. He was 7/7 to start and got himself down and protected on a scramble or two.

3) Moose Johnston called Jason Kelce “Travis Kelce” on the first drive, so probably too much Taylor Swift on the brain. That might be the NFL’s new Freudian Slip.

4) Was that the fastest first quarter in all of time and eternity? It ended at 1:32 p.m. Actually maybe it was 1:31 p.m. if you’re on the YouTubeTV 40-second delay.

5) Nolan Smith is the latest Eagle to be the victim of preseason hype. He’s done very little with (admittedly) not much game time, but jumped offside in this one and wasn’t heard from again.

6) The Eagles finally got some pressure on Sam Howell only for Terrell Edmunds to drop an interception in the end zone. Then they couldn’t fall on a fumble and Washington recovered and scored. Fire that entire sequence into the sun.

7) Backbreaker of a penalty on Landon Dickerson to kill a drive. They called this offside, while Washington has a dude whose hand looks to be touching the damn ball:

photo via Pat Gallen taking a picture of his computer or TV

8) Third Eagles drive was hideous. Scramble for one yard, sacked for a four-yard loss, then Hurts overthrowing DeVonta Smith on a deep bomb. Just gross.

9) Not impressed with Braden Mann.

10) There was this:

11) The penalty on James Bradberry was fucking infuriating. They announced DPI but it was defensive holding.

12) Dallas Goedert – drop! Almost turned into a pick-6.

13) I wonder if  Goedert didn’t know about the fake tush push, because he stood there for a split second before reacting and trying to find someone to block. If Hurts didn’t get that thing across the line of gain you would have heard the BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOs.

14) DeVonta Smith’s catch was incredible. He basically high-pointed the ball, cradled it while falling on his back, and didn’t let it hit the ground. Ridiculous talent.

15) Playcalling and clock management wasn’t great after the DeVonta catch. They ran two plays in 30-some seconds then kicked a field goal and went into halftime with a timeout unused. I know the catch review factored in, but they could have done better.

16) Sua Opeta had to come in for Cam Jurgens at right guard. Jurgens was listed earlier in the week with a groin injury, but it was later announced to the press box that it was a foot injury.

17) Give Hurts and Brown a lot of credit for that sideline shot. Big gain that helped put 3 points on the board. Brown took a big hit after hauling it in.

18) The refs were nothing but ass throughout this game. Bad calls, makeup calls, unnecessary calls, etc. Keep the flag in your pocket, we didn’t tune in to watch you.

19) Gotta love the downfield blocking on the go-ahead A.J. Brown touchdown. Also, the “roughing the passer” call was Montez Sweat getting his hand on Jalen Hurts’ helmet and pulling his head back a bit. There really was very little there, but the way the rule is written now, the useless zebras have to call it.

20) Good design from Warshington on the Logan Thomas sneak. Eagles almost stuffed the first one.

21) Was pretty cool to see 6-7 guys attending to the line judge when she got knocked over in the third quarter. Looked worse than it actually was.

22) One thing that does concern me is Hurts in the running game. He looks… slower than last year? Outside of that brilliant 4th quarter scramble, where he was able to escape the pocket vertically and plant/cut, he seems to be lacking a little bit of that elusiveness we saw last season.

23) Running it on 3rd and 11 with Kenneth Gainwell? What the fuck was that? We need an explanation.

24) Nicholas Morrow has played well since his practice squad call up. Wouldn’t have happened if Nakobe Dean didn’t go down.

25) That late hit on Edmunds? Worst sequence in football right there. ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. It doesn’t get more “bang bang” than that type of play. I know they’re trying to protect the quarterbacks, but if the guy is going for a first down and the collision is that tight, then you have to let these guys play. Unfortunately, they err on the QB side every single time something like this happens:

This is my least favorite sequence in all of football right, at any level. They gotta come up with something better.

26) Hindsight – bad idea to accept the penalty on the second Logan Thomas sneak. It pushed Washington back to 3rd and 6, they threw for seven on the ensuing play, then scored a touchdown two plays later.

27) Jamison Crowder trying to convince everybody that he didn’t wave for a fair catch on that fourth quarter punt was a hilarious and overflowing crock of horse shit.

28) Not a great 2nd down pass, but Olamide Zaccheaus should have caught that. Boy did he make up for it on the ensuing third down conversion. We were all riding the rollercoaster with Zaccheaus.

29) Hadn’t heard Haason Reddick’s name since the preseason. Picked a good time to get his first sack of the year.

30) Nothing can ever be easy, right? They call taunting on A.J. Brown, the kick off is backed up 15 yards, and Washington returns it to the 35 with 1:36 on the block. Then the defense gives us super soft shit and they march all the way down the field and tie it up on the final play of the game. There was a 3rd and 17 in there at one point. Don’t even get me started on Josh Jobe’s “coverage” at the end.

31) Rivera probably should have gone for 2 there to try to win the game. Riverboat Ron my butt.

32) That 3rd and 5 play in overtime was incredible. Great pass by Sam Howell, great catch by Terry McLaurin, then he comes down on Reed Blankenship’s arm and ends up landing with his toe on the line. Did Blankenship’s forearm save the season?

33) What the hell is Brian Johnson doing, calling a bubble screen on 3rd and 3 in overtime? I swear the guy just turns his brain off for minutes at a time.

34) Landon Dickerson went early on that 4th and 1 tush push in OT. Also pretty sure half the Washington line was offside. We’ll call it a wash!

35) The intentional grounding is the right call within the rulebook, but it still sucks. It happened Saturday night in the TCU/WVU game when TCU’s quarterback wasn’t on the same page with a receiver, and did the same thing Hurts did – miss deep by 25+ yards. Thankfully the Eagles have one of the game’s best kickers to come in and remedy everything.

36) Purposely last, but certainly not least –

This was Jalen hurts’ best passing game of the season. The deep bomb to A.J. Brown to win it was one thing, but he hit a couple of really tight windows and intermediate routes and generally just made good decisions on where to go with the ball. He finished regulation 21 for 31 for 290 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a 119 QB rating on the afternoon. Add the overtime numbers and it was 25-37 for 319 and a 112.3 QB rating. Not the most pleasing game to watch, but that’s the most important high note to end on. The sideline “argument” between Hurts and Brown now seems like a relic of a bygone era.