This was a fun game to go back and rewatch, especially on defense, as the Eagles blanked Washington for the first time since 1980. It was the first shutout for the team since 2014, which came at home against the New York Giants. Washington posted just 89 yards of offense and was 0-for-9 on third down. There were a handful of things that stood out, but no one impressed me more on film than Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
ALL OF THE VIDEO CLIPS FEATURE AUDIO ANALYSIS FROM FRAN DUFFY
Fletcher had three sacks in what was a dominant performance from him on Sunday. It was the second three-sack performance of his career, as he finished the regular season with a career-high 10.5 sacks. Washington entered the game short-handed on the offensive line, and he did what great players do – feast on lower competition. No. 91 had a brilliant game against the run and the pass. He is playing at an extremely high level.
Cox’s success leads to him getting extra attention. When teams slide his way or account for him with multiple blockers, his teammates must find ways to win one-on-one. Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Brandon Graham all came through in that department throughout this game. That showed up on film time and time again. Bennett has shown that he still has it as a pass rusher this season, his first in midnight green.
The Eagles have stopped the run at an ELITE level over the last month of the season. Running backs have not been able to find any kind of success against the Eagles on the ground during this three-game win streak.
In Week 15 against the Rams, Los Angeles running backs carried the ball 15 times for 52 yards. In Week 16 against Houston? Eleven rushes for just 13 yards. Against Washington, backs accumulated 17 yards on nine carries.
This is something the defense will need to continue going into this weekend’s matchup against Chicago, a team that wants to assert itself on the ground.
In the secondary, Rasul Douglas continues to flash as a tackler, but I loved his interception on the first play of the game. Washington ran a three-level stretch play – attacking the short, intermediate, and deep areas of the field. With the safety removed from the deep post, Douglas’ receiver Josh Doctson is actually open for a brief moment. Bennett’s pass rush helped force quarterback Josh Johnson to hold on to the ball. Douglas recovers and makes a great play down the field to secure the turnover to get things started on a high note for the Eagles' defense.
Two Eagles really stood out to me in this game on the offensive side of the ball, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
Jeffery has been so dominant at the catch point the last couple of weeks, catching nearly everything thrown his way as a safety valve for Nick Foles in all areas of the field. These Eagles quarterbacks know what they have in Alshon, who is "open even when he’s not" due to his ability to high-point the football and win in contested situations.
That Jeffery touchdown pass capped a ridiculous 19-play, 87-yard drive that accounted for a whopping 11:49 of game clock in the second quarter. The Eagles dominated the time of possession in this game, with the defense being on the field for fewer than 50 plays.
Agholor only had 40 yards on five catches, but he caught a pair of touchdowns. One came off a nifty play-action play where his role as a blocker throughout the course of the afternoon helped set up Nate Sudfeld’s first touchdown pass of his career. Agholor has been used in these kinds of ways all season long, but I thought it was very well-defined as a part of the plan in this game, in particular, against Washington. This was also the first multi-touchdown game of Agholor’s NFL career.
A 24-0 victory was a great way to close out the regular season, especially against a division foe. Check back later this week as I’ll break down the matchup with Chicago and what the Bears will bring to Soldier Field on Sunday on both sides of the ball.
Fran Duffy is the producer of the Emmy-nominated Eagles Game Plan show which can be seen every gameday during the season on NBC10 in Philadelphia. He is also the host of two Eagles-related podcasts, Eagle Eye in the Sky, which examines the team from an X's and O's angle each and every week as well as the Journey to the Draft podcast, which covers college football and the NFL Draft all year round. Fran also authors the Eagle Eye in the Sky column, which runs four times a week during the football season to serve as a recap for the previous game and to preview the upcoming matchup. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging, and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team’s games, practices, and opponents.