Wentz, pass rush give Eagles season-opening win vs. Redskins
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Carson Wentz put on a magic act evading pressure, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense ratcheted up its pass rush and the result was the end of a losing streak against the Washington Redskins and a Gatorade bath for coach Doug Pederson.
Behind two touchdowns from Wentz and four sacks of Kirk Cousins, the Eagles beat the Redskins 30-17 on Sunday in a sloppy, mistake-filled season opener between the NFC East rivals.
Wentz threw for 307 yards and also had an interception returned for a touchdown but made fewer errors than Cousins, who was picked off at the goal line and fumbled twice.
Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, the recipient of a 58-yard TD pass from Wentz after he avoided being sacked by Jonathan Allen and Preston Smith, called the second-year quarterback ”a magician.”
”I don’t know how the guy does it,” left tackle Jason Peters said of Wentz, who was 26 of 39. ”He’s just got a knack for feeling pressure coming and he rolls out of it, he gets out of it and makes a play down the field.”
Cousins finished 23 of 40 for 240 yards with an interception and two fumbles, the second of which was forced by Brandon Graham and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox in the final minutes, putting the game away.
Cousins had a TD pass to third-down back Chris Thompson, but much of the afternoon was done in by drops and other offensive blunders.
”I think we’re better than that up front, better than that at receiver, better than that at quarterback,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
The Eagles snapped a five-game skid against the Redskins going back to Sept. 9, 2014, and won at FedEx Field for the first time since 2013.
”We’ve been talking all week about kind of getting the monkey off our back down here and really against the Redskins,” Pederson said. ”It was just the old setup on the sideline, and I got the bath. Appreciate it, but a little sticky.
NO RUNNING GAME: Gruden and Pederson avoided the running game, in part because it was having little effect for each team. Cousins, in the second straight season of being franchised by Washington, tied as the Redskins’ leading rusher with 30 yards on four carries; they finished with 64. The Eagles had 59 yards on 23 carries, including several handoffs on a clock-draining fourth-quarter drive.
”I think Washington just had a good game plan, but at the end of the day we made enough plays to win,” Wentz said.
DARBY DOWN: The Eagles lost cornerback Ronald Darby to what looked like a serious right ankle injury early in the second quarter. Darby’s ankle bent the wrong way as he was running in coverage with Washington tight end Jordan Reed, and he was carted off.
Pederson said Darby would be evaluated when the team returns to Philadelphia.
”It’s tough because he’s playing lights-out, and I want him to be a part of this party we’re about to have on this field,” Graham said. ”I’m hoping it’s nothing major.”
Kicker Caleb Sturgis, who made three field goals, was injured late in the game, which led Pederson to go for two after the Eagles’ final touchdown.
PICK-SIX TIMES THREE: When Redskins linebacker Kerrigan picked off Wentz and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, he added to his unique career history with interceptions. All three times Kerrigan has had an interception in the NFL, he has returned it for a touchdown. This was his first since 2012.
NO DOCTSON IMPACT: Despite going into the game as a projected starter , Redskins 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson was a limited part of the game plan with no targets as Ryan Grant filled in as the third receiver. After missing almost all of his rookie season with sore Achilles tendons, Doctson was bothered by a sore hamstring during the preseason, but was full go in practice this week, but Gruden said the Redskins were easing him back in.
Eagles: Visit the Kansas City Chiefs, who upset New England on Thursday night.
Redskins: Visit former offensive coordinator Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams.
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