McMullen’s Quick Hits: Redskins rally late
A gassed Philadelphia Eagles defense wilted in the waning moments as the Washington Redskins rallied for a 23-20 victory over an Eagles team which finally showed some life in the passing game during the second half.
The Eagles' stop unit, which has carried the team during it's poor 1-3 start was on the field for over 41 minutes before succumbing to a 4-yard Pierre Garcon touchdown reception with just 26 seconds remaining. The final result erased the goodwill of two Sam Bradford scoring throws over the top of Washington's secondary in the final 30 minutes.
After another dismal start, Bradford settled down and finished 15-of-28 for 270 yards and three TDs, including a 62-yarder to Riley Cooper and a 39-yard score to Miles Austin early in the fourth quarter which put Philadelphia on top for the first and only time.
Kirk Cousins threw for 290 yards on 31-of-46 passing and the one score.
"I'm proud of each and every one of those guys, man," Washington coach Jay Gruden exulted after the late-game win.
THAT PESKY TIME OF POSSESSION
Any statistician worth his salt can mold numbers into any narrative he wants but the strength of this Philadelphia team right now is defense and the failure to move the chains on offense consistently has the group on the field far too often.
The time of possession numbers for the Eagles are the worst in football and when the number of plays, which Chip Kelly believe is important, are not there, it's a very big issue which results in a 1-3 start.
This is not a college roster where 90 players, who are in their late teens or early 20s, are dressing. There are only 46 available on game day and a lot of them have mileage and are battling through injuries like Jason Peters and Mychael Kendricks today.
The fact that Kelly can't understand that is a significant blow to the genius label so many want to apply to him.
SAM GETS IT GOING
Joe Namath knows a little bit about playing quarterback in the NFL and the Hall of Famer understands confidence plays a big part in any success.
"When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun," Namath said. "And when you have fun, you can do amazing things."
It was almost like Bradford turned a switch on Sunday after 14 largely torturous quarters. The Eagles' embattled signal caller came out in the second half and let it fly. Checkdown Charlie became Slingin' Sam, pushing the football down the field and voila, the vertical was there and the accuracy was back.
Bradford hadn't completed a pass over 20 yards coming in and had four of 30-or-more when this one ended.
It's hard to spin positive thoughts around Bradford to this point but he was far more active against the 'Skins and made a consistent effort to get the football downfield on vertical routes.
It's always important to stretch the football field and it's almost stunning that it took the Eagles a month to figure that out.
'TRULY OFFENSIVE' LINE
Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy or more likely the injuries but the offensive line was as bad as people thought it was in the first three weeks on Sunday. As warned if Peters was forced out with his quad injury, it would be Matt Tobin kicking out to left tackle and Dennis Kelly in at right guard and that's not good.
The pedestrian Redskins front was all over the already-spooked Bradford, who actually stood tall for most of the game but had his ankle rolled up on by left guard Allen Barbre and finished the afternoon battered and bruised.
NICE KNOWING YOU CALEB
When you lose by three points and your new kicker misses a field goal and an extra point that are both supposed to be in the 96 percent range, well that's an issue.
Don't be surprised if there is another kicking competition this week after Caleb Sturgis laid an egg in his Philadelphia debut, missing a 33-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the second quarter and an extra point in the third.
The Eagles worked out six kickers last Monday and some of them might be back for another look this week.
Peters, Kendricks, cornerback Byron Maxwell and defensive end Brandon Bair all left with injuries and were unable to return.
Peters aggravated the quad issue he suffered last week against the Jets and Kendricks continued to have issues with his hamstring, leaving in Eagles' first defensive series. Maxwell injured a quad on that first drive and Bair was forced out with a groin problem.
ight tackle Lane Johnson also injured his knee on a PAT attempt but stayed in, although he clearly wasn't operating at the same level.
Nelson Agholor finally showed up today with a brilliant one-handed reception on a 45-yard gain. But, rookies giveth and they taketh away. On the very next play, he fumbled a perfect Ryan Mathews' pitch on a reverse and later erased a Zach Ertz TD reception by lining up wrong.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen