PHILADELPHIA -- The Redskins offense moved at a crisp rate in the first half against the Eagles on Sunday. Washington controlled the line of scrimmage against Fletcher Cox and the Philadelphia front as well.
For 30 minutes, the Redskins looked like one of the more impressive teams in the NFL, sure to change their national perception as a downtrodden team in the middle of a roster transition. After halftime though, things flipped upside down, and Washington got dragged all over the field, including giving up 25 straight points.
Redskins players and coaches could not explain the second half collapse, especially after blowing a 17-0 first half lead.
"When we get out like that you have to put guys away. You have to shut the door," Josh Norman said after the game.
"This is a win-league business. It’s about winning, so we are disappointed with that," quarterback Case Keenum said. "There are some positives and stuff that we are going to learn from the film, but we have to win. Up 17-0 – we have to win, especially division games."
"It’s eerie. The second half was eerie of our performance late in the game defensively and offensively," head coach Jay Gruden said. "I have to count on the coaches doing a better job and the players doing a better job, period."
Well, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson believes he knows what happened to Washington, and his prognosis is scary.
"We came out and started off slow and struggled, but not one moment in that game I didn’t think we were going to come out and win that game. I kept stressing to the boys when we came in the locker room that I have been over there before in that locker room and I know how they are," Jackson said of the Redskins. "I just stressed to my teammates that I felt that at halftime, they probably thought they had the game sealed and won."
Jackson, remember, played with the Redskins for three seasons from 2014 to 2016 and Jay Gruden was the head coach. Jackson really does know the Redskins locker room because he was a big part of it. And the speedster explained he wasn't trying to take a shot at his old coach or teammates, but was just explaining the reality of a big halftime lead in Washington.
"We just knew that coming into the locker room that it is just a mentality thing. My past five-six years being gone is what I miss, that being part of a team and organization that is just known for winning," Jackson said.
"Regardless of the score and how many points you are down, there is always a chance you can win the game. Being in that locker room, I just know how they are, not saying anything bad about them, that is just how they are.”
As damaging as Jackson's play Sunday was to the Redskins, and he torched the Redskins with eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns, his postgame comments might be more dire.
Jackson played for the Redskins a few seasons ago, and it's clear he doesn't think that the organization was known for winning. And as hard as it is to hear for many, he's right. Washington hasn't made the playoffs in the last three seasons, and only has two playoff games in the last decade. The Redskins haven't won a playoff game since 2005. As much as the Redskins have a proud history, with shiny Super Bowl trophies and Hall of Fame players, consistent success hasn't been the case in Washington for more than two decades.
So when Jackson says "I just know how they are, not saying anything bad about them, that is just how they are," he's not trying to take a shot. He's just telling the truth.
For the players, coaches and front office, that should be more alarming than the second-half collapse. Jackson's comments are endemic to a team that loses leads and chokes away opportunities.
The Redskins might not be able to explain what changed at halftime, but DeSean might have it figured out.
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