First games are always sloppy, and that’s the best way to describe the Philly-Washington game, won by the Eagles 30-17 on Sunday afternoon. There were six combined turnovers by the two offenses, and each defense scored a touchdown on the day.
Here’s the defensive play that sealed the game for the Eagles, as Brandon Graham stripped Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins on what looked like a possible incomplete pass. Instead, Fletcher Cox picked it up and scampered 20 yards for the game-sealing score.
And so, after the big road win in the division, everyone in Philly should be happy, yes?
This if Philadelphia, after all, the place where we boo snowballs or something, so of course we’re going to be looking for someone to blame for a 13-point win not being a 30 point win. That person is head coach Doug Pederson.
Why does everyone hate Pederson? Well, after an off-season of questions about his qualifications as a head coach, his ability to calls plays has been a hot-button topic this week. The offense didn’t exactly look balanced in the win over Washington, with Carson Wentz throwing 39 times — for 307 yards and two scores, one pick, while getting sacked twice. The Eagles only ran the ball 24 times, and four of those were by Wentz. LeGarrette Blount, who caught a TD pass, only carried the ball 14 times and with just over two minutes to play and less than a foot to go for a first down to seal the win, Pederson opted to kick a field goal instead of giving the ball to the team’s new bruising back.
For the record, I also would have kicked the field goal to go up five points, but the Eagles opted to call a timeout in that situation after trying to get Washington to jump offsides, which was ridiculous. And people WENT. NUTS. ABOUT. IT.
Doug is a mess
— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) September 10, 2017
Doug pederson still sucks at play calling.
— Briandior__ (@Brianjr_42) September 10, 2017
It’s not just that people are frustrated with Pederson. They’re openly calling for his ouster. After a win. This is going to be a long year.
Fan frustration is somewhat warranted with regard to play calling. After Wentz got Nelson Agholor into the game in a big way early, Pederson decided to get cute with a swing pass to the receiver that ended up being ruled a fumble after the ball went backwards.
Yes, it was a terrible pass by Wentz, and sure Agholor could have grabbed it, but Pederson took the blame for putting both the quarterback and receiver in that situation rather than just running the darn ball at full speed ahead to get a first down.
Of course, the calls for Jim Schwartz were expected, especially after a report that he is “waiting to usurp” Pederson as head coach and that the call for Pederson being unqualified by former executive Mike Lombardi may have been a backdoor endorsement for Schwartz to be the next head coach. Reminder: Schwartz is a good defensive coordinator who was a terrible head coach in Detroit.
But back to the Pederson hate!
A nice play by Carson Wentz? Fans still found a way to blame Pederson.
Even when Pederson went for a two-point conversion late in the game the fans didn’t like it. And kicker Caleb Sturgis might have been hurt.
The players may disagree with the fans. Perhaps they don’t think Pederson is the best coach in the NFL, but they sure seem to like the guy, as evidenced by the Gatorade bath he got after the game.
All in all, the consensus is that Pederson was to blame for the Eagles going on the road and not winning by more, despite injuries to the offensive line and losing new starting cornerback Ronald Darby to what looked like a very serious ankle injury. The Eagles won. Boo the head coach.
That’s how people felll, but that’s not very strong.
Stronger, but we can do better.
There we go. Fly Eagles Fly.