The Philadelphia Eagles decimated the Redskins’ run game

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With three-time rushing champion Adrian Peterson sitting on the sideline, the Philadelphia Eagles held the typically run-heavy Washington Redskins to 28 rushing yards.

There once was a time when Philadelphia Eagles fans the world over pined hard after LSU‘s Derrius Guice.

After spending a season trapped in the shadow of future top-4 pick Leonard Fournette, Guice burst onto the scene with two consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons before leaving Baton Rouge for the greener pastures of the NFL – firmly cemented as the second-best running back in the 2018 NFL Draft class behind Saquon Barkley.

He could pretty much do it all; run both between and outside the tackles, pick up a blitz, and even catch the ball coming out of the backfield, but after nearly coming to blows with running backs coach Duce Staley at a pre-draft meeting, it became abundantly clear there would not be a Guice-era in Philadelphia.

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Fast forward to draft night and his all but confirmed off-field issues caused the LSU product to tumble down draft boards all the way to 59 where he was selected by the Washington Redskins – the sixth back taken at that point.

While one would have to assume Washington loved the prospects of adding a top-20 talent in the second round, Staley got his revenge in Guice’s first NFL game as the Eagles held the presumed bell cow to 18 yards on 10 carries in Week 1.

Now granted, there’s a bit of an asterisk next to those 18 yards, as Guice suffered an ankle injury that should hold him out for parts of the forthcoming season, but it’s not like his replacement Chris Thompson did that much better, as he only earned three carries for 10 yards as a reserve.

As a team almost exclusively built in the trenches with a focus on a throwback power running style, Washington only a managed 28 rushing yards in a game where they held a lead for much of the first three quarters.

That’s just insane.

While some would point to the biggest flaw of the wide-nine scheme Jim Schwartz loves to play being interior runs up the middle – as we all, unfortunately, saw for years when Juan Castillo and Sean McDermott manned the defensive clipboard- that really hasn’t been a problem for the team in recent years because of that dominant defensive tackle rotation and smart collection of coverage-focused linebackers.

With a collection of wide receivers almost exclusively on rookie contracts, and a starting quarterback in name only, Washington needed to establish the run to maintain the fluky lead they somehow amassed in the first half.

They couldn’t.

For a reason we may never know, Washington hardly even tried to run the ball in the second half, attempting only three carries for zero yards versus 10 attempts for 28 yards over the first two quarters.

Three. Wow.

Sure, losing Guice could certainly put a damper on their power running game, but between Thompson and ex-Philadelphia Eagle Wendell Smallwood, one would think the team would have at least tried to get something going and soak up a little time in the final 30 minutes of action.

Nope, that didn’t happen.

Though it seemed almost an inevitability that the Philadelphia Eagles would defeat the Redskins in Week 1, especially with the game at Lincoln Financial Field, Jay Gruden‘s club had a very legitimate chance to pull off an upset and start this very transitional season off on the right foot. Instead, after coming out hot, the team lost momentum at a steady clip and watched the game slip out of their fingers, based almost solely on poor play calling, poor clock management, and ultimately poor player personnel decisions.

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Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, it may have been a mistake to deactivate Adrian Peterson before a Week 1 bout against a division rival, regardless of how confident Washington’s coaching staff was in Derrius Guice.