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Stock Report: COVID-19 or not, WFT falls off playoff pace

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Football Team traveled north to Pennsylvania a few days late and down a number of players. Nobody expected them to win, and in the end, those expectations proved correct in a 27-17 loss. 

Garrett Gilbert started the game at quarterback and impressed in flashes. He faced a near insurmountable situation, having an entire four days of work with Washington since signing off the New England Patriots' practice squad to replace quarterbacks Tyler Heinicke and Kyle Allen, both on the reserved/COVID-19 list and unavailable to play.

Gilbert also looked like rough in plenty of spots too, which really shouldn't be a surprise. He's 30 year's old and just made his second career start. The first one came with the Dallas Cowboys in a lost season just last year. 

Gilbert doesn't make the stock report because he was great, but because he wasn't awful. He delivered the performance that most folks would expect of a journeyman signed out of desperation with little knowledge of the team. 

Washington's defense gave up 519 total yards in this game. If there is one singular problem, that's it. 

Big picture the bad news here is that Washington falls behind the pace in the NFL Wild Card race. Minnesota, New Orleans and Philly now hold 7-7 records while the Burgundy and Gold fall to 6-8. 

Stock up

  • Renaissance man - Landon Collins' impressive second half of the season continued on Tuesday. He grabbed an early interception that gave Washington the first lead of the game and also had a fumble recovery. In fact on the interception Collins should have scored but a referee mistakenly blew a whistle. Collins was hurt and still played well. His acceptance and understanding of his new hybrid safety role has been huge for Washington.
  • Big game, big plays - This game saw a series of crazy catches from both sides of the ball. DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert both made great grabs down field for big gains but the best catch of the night belonged to Terry McLaurin. Early in the game with major questions about Washington's offensive viability with Gilbert at the helm, McLaurin made a circus grab over Eagles corner Darius Slay for a big gain on a drive that Washington eventually netted a field goal. 

Stock down 

 
  • A continued problem - Washington's linebackers have been a trouble spot at times this season and that showed up again on Tuesday. Goedert had more than 100 yards receiving at the tight end spot and that was with two awful drops on easy gainers. If that wasn't enough, Philadelphia gashed Washington in the run game. More on that next. 
  • Strength not strong - Washington's defensive line is supposed to be the team's strength, and the unit got good news with the return of Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Montez Sweat and Casey Toohill back from the COVID list before Tuesday night's kickoff. But the unit could not stop the run, at all. The Eagles piled up more than 200 yards rushing and absolutely dominated at the line of scrimmage. 
  • Injury bug - Washington was already outmanned in this game because of its recent COVID outbreak but a string of in-game injuries didn't help either. Cornerback William Jackson III left the game with an ankle injury that looked quite worrisome and defensive lineman Daniel Wise left and did not return either. Collins missed time as did Toohill and running back Antonio Gibson with a toe injury.