- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2011

First quarter

Washington’s first possession ended in an interception. The second was three-and-out. The Redskins ran all of seven plays in the period and were outgained 143-23. No surprise they fell behind 14-0 just two plays into the second quarter. And one play was huge in all of that.

Early in the quarter, the Eagles made a bad snap out of the shotgun on second-and-12 from their own 16. Michael Vick picked up the ball and hurriedly got rid of it from the end zone. A flag flew? Grounding? Nope. The Redskins’ Rocky McIntosh was flagged for roughing the passer and the Eagles’ bad situation became a first down at the 31. They moved it all the way down the field, scoring on a 7-yard pass from Vick to tight end Brent Celek.

LeSean McCoy scored the Eagles’ second touchdown, which is officially a second-quarter score but ought to count against the Redskins' awful first quarter.

Second quarter

Perhaps the most amazing thing at halftime is that the Redskins weren’t behind by a lot more than 20-3. They had the ball for only 8:22 in the first half. In the first 12 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, they were outgained 106-9. Grossman threw another interception. The Eagles were on their way to a 250-yard half.

But after that early second-quarter touchdown, the Eagles couldn’t get into the end zone. They had to settle for two field goals. And the Redskins, despite giving up a huge sack on third down very late in the half, found some magic dust in kicker Graham Gano, who hit a 50-yard field goal with 30 seconds left to get Washington on the board and keep the Eagles at least within sight.

Grossman completed six passes in the half. Four went to Fred Davis. Santana Moss was held without a catch. The Redskins’ total on the ground for the half? Nineteen yards.

Third quarter

It was a much better quarter for the Redskins in many respects, but that’s all relative because it really wasn’t all that good. Sure, the Redskins moved the ball some. Sure, they kept the Eagles from scoring — and intercepted two passes. But they only cut the deficit by three, thanks to a Gano field goal early in the quarter.

A big reason why they didn’t score more? Grossman threw two more interceptions, both to Kurt Coleman. Yeah, the same Coleman who also had a “pick” in the first half. Grossman’s four interceptions through the first three quarters were only one fewer than he had in the previous four games.

Coleman, meanwhile, saw his career-interception total rise from one to four thanks to his handiwork with Grossman’s passes.

The really good news for Redskins fans is Grossman’s pick total couldn’t grow, as John Beck came in for the final quarter.

Fourth quarter

The last was the best quarter of the day for the Redskins, and certainly one that will create some conversation because it created a quarterback question.

Washington replaced Grossman with Beck and, for starters, Beck didn’t complete any passes to the Eagles. He did complete 8-of-15 overall and was 5-of-8 during an 80-yard drive that produced the Redskins’ only touchdown of the day. Who scored? It was Beck, running it in from 2 yards out to get the Redskins within seven points after Gano’s conversion kick.

Alas, the defense couldn’t get the ball back. The unit didn’t allow the Eagles a point in the second half but couldn’t make a stop on the final drive to give Beck a shot at being an end-game hero. As it is, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will have to face many questions in the coming week about who is now the Redskins’ quarterback. Stay tuned, it promises to be interesting.

Key play

The game wasn’t four minutes old when Philadelphia faced a second-and-12 from its own 16. The shotgun snap went awry. Vick scrambled to recover it and tossed it away while in the end zone. Grounding? Nope. There was a flag, but it was for roughing the passer on Rocky McIntosh. Instead of third-and-12 (or worse with grounding), the Eagles had a first down on the 31. They went down and scored. Who knows what might have happened without the penalty, but the flag likely salvaged the drive that set the tone for the game.