In NFL season opening Monday Night Football action, the Redskins and Eagles squared off at Fed Ex Field in front of 82,743 fans and set record numbers in ratings for both teams. Not since ESPN started broadcasting games in 2006 have they seen week one ratings as high as was posted this past Monday Night. The game was the No.1 watched telecast of the evening. At 16,524,000 viewers, the only ESPN MNF game that boasted a higher number was in 2012 when the Bears and Cowboys were watched by 16,616,000 viewers.
The game started off with the Eagles receiving the opening kickoff and quickly, the newly installed Oregon-based Chip Kelly offense got to work. No more than 18 seconds passed between plays on their opening drive as they drove down into the Redskins’ red zone and threatened to score. Not until a lateral pass towards the sideline that was deflected by LB Ryan Kerrigan and returned for a touchdown by CBDeAngello Hall, did the Eagle’s offense sputter. However, it would be 26 unanswered Eagle’s points and over 40 plays later until the Redskins would even net a first down on offense. At halftime the Eagles lead the Redskins 26-7 and ran 53 plays on offense but the second half yielded different results..
With 53 Offensive plays in the first half alone, many thought the Eagles would post record numbers continuing in the second half but after a long TD run by Eagles RB Lesean McCoy to start the third quarter, the Eagles hit a dead end. Robert Griffin III and the Redskin’s Offense gained momentum in the second half and scored 20 unanswered points while the Eagles looked as though they were tired and worn out themselves. While Lesean McCoy ran for over 180 yards for the Eagles, QB Michael Vick threw for just over 220 yards. Quick plays and no-huddles turned into a limping Michael Vick and an Eagles team that seemed gassed and in turn, had their defense with their backs to the wall. The long awaited Redskin’s offense had come to life and RGIII shook the rust off, overall completing 30 of 49 passes for a career-high 329 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Bright signs for Redskins fans as they pulled within 6 points with undertwo minutes to play. A failed onside kick stamped the Eagles victory as the Redskins ran out of time. Redskins’ WR Leonard Hankerson caught two RGIII TD passes and RB Alfred Morris added another on the ground.
The attention on Robert Griffin III’s comeback was stolen by the high flying Eagle’s offense under new head coach, Chip Kelly. It seemed just when the Redskins were gaining momentum and posed an imminent comeback, time ran out and a loss lingered and posted on the Redskins’ record (0-1). After the game, RGIII placed the blame solely on himself and said, “no one is pointing fingers in the locker room.”
At the game’s end, the Eagles ran 77 plays on offense and the Redskins followed close behind with 70 plays of their own. Certainly, a “Tale of Two Halves,” the question now is if the Eagles with all the signs of fatigue at game’s end can keep up the speed of their own new offense. Fifteen games remain in the season, and one more game against their NFC East opponent Washington Redskins, a game sure to be circled by the Redskins. Revenge is best served with a win, a chance the Redskins will revel in when the opportunity presents itself.
By: Ronald A. Edwards