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The Redskins walked right into an ambush.


I was absolutely petrified that this would happen.

In the weeks, days, and hours leading up to this game, everyone kept asking me the same question: “You excited about tonight’s Redskins-Eagles game?”

And my answer was always the same: “Nope. I’m nervous as hell.”

This game reminiscent of the first half of “Rocky III”: the Redskins walked into this game having read all the press clippings and Sportscenter prognostications and excessively repetitive talk shows with media talking heads telling us all how they’d beat the Eagles by double-digit points. Or, in other words, telling the team that all they had to do was show up and they’d win the game, just because the Redskins were the defending NFC East champions starting their title defense out at home.

But instead, we took a Clubber Lang-esque beating by a team, and their high profile former college head coach, that was just as eager and just as hungry to make a statement on national television. See, we all believed that Chip Kelly’s fifth gear, fast break offense would be a novel and amusing gimmick that would quickly be thwarted by a (somewhat) superior Redskins defense. Except that we forgot that Michael Vick has consistently turned the Redskins defense into shish kabobs, LeSean McCoy is the second (and better) coming of Brian Westbrook (sent here to make the lives of Redskins fans miserable), and DeSean Jackson burns our secondary like a marshmallow at a cub scout campfire. Simply put, we forgot that the team that we were suppose to quickly and decisively defeat was just as talented and just as dangerous as the Redskins are.

And we learned that lesson the hard way. LeSean McCoy had over 100 yards rushing in the first half. Michael Vick, who hasn’t met a turnover that he wouldn’t entertain the idea of, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another one. Desean Jackson torched and humiliated Deangelo Hall, yet again.

Again, all of this took place in the first half.

The Eagles had 322 yards and 26 points by halftime. The Redskins had 75 and 7, the latter of which could’ve very well been zero points depending on whether or not you believed Vick’s bubble screen pass on the Eagles opening drive was going forward or not. The Eagles had as many first downs as the Redskins had total plays. The first half was so lopsided that ESPN analysts Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden commented how the Redskins were actually lucky that it was only 26-7 and that they were only down by 19 points. Honestly, I can’t disagree with them either. If Michael Vick played like a semi-competent NFL quarterback in the first quarter — he passes were way off on otherwise wide open receivers several different times — the Redskins would have been down by 20+ before the clock hit 8pm.

The Redskins have laid down some serious clunkers on Monday Night Football — the Monday Night Massacre against Philadelphia in 2010 immediately comes to mind — and the first half of tonight’s game was right up there with any of those stink bombs. It was as bad a half of football as I’ve seen. Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants could’ve watched the Redskins performance in the first half and walked away feeling like his Giants were going to go 15-1 this season.

To borrow from Jim Mora: our passing game sucked, our running game sucked, our rushing defense sucked, our passing defense sucked (the latter two were moreso in the first quarter), and our special teams sucked.

I don’t care how much film on the University of Oregon or the University of New Hampshire the Redskins coaching staff and players watched. They had to know that, like the Redskins did last year in their season opener against the New Orleans Saints, the Eagles were going to come out with a “shock the world”-type game plan, in a way that they’d upset the home favorite and reigning division winners, and have Chip Kelly announce his legitimacy to the rest of the NFC East and the NFL as a whole.

That’s exactly what the Eagles did tonight. They laid the trap. The Redskins walked right into it. And the Redskins are now walking out with an 0-1 record, facing a Green Bay team next week — at Lambeau Field, no less — that’s wounded and ornery after a close and highly personal defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.

Bad things happened tonight. As Mike Shanahan said: the game was going to be a 16 round heavyweight fight, and the Redskins lost in the first round. They got pummeled early and brutally, and while they valiantly fought back through the “later rounds,” it was too little and too late.

At 0-1, the Redskins now know who they are. More importantly, they have to realize that they’re 0-2 in any games of meaning after winning the NFC East title. That was last year, and there are three teams in the division aiming to take that crown away from them now.

Tonight, they walked right into an instance of one of those team’s doing their very best to stake their own claim to that title. And the results weren’t pretty.

Image from the Washington Post.

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