Redskins: LB Cole Holcomb shined bright despite defensive collapse in 32-27 loss to Eagles

Redskins rookie linebacker Cole Holcomb proved to be one of the few bright spots for an otherwise beleaguered defense in Sunday’s crushing loss to the Eagles.

The Washington Redskins failed miserably in their first test of the regular season by suffering a soul-crushing 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

With the Redskins entering halftime holding a surprising 20-7 lead, they had a prime opportunity to steal a win from the favored Eagles. Unfortunately, both the offense and defense proved to be ineffective and unreliable down the stretch. The Redskins went on to be outscored 25-7 to close out the game.

While the final result was obviously not ideal for players and fans alike, one particular player on the Redskins defense stood out above the rest in terms of making a positive impact.

Rookie inside linebacker Cole Holcomb proved that he may be a legit member of a defense that will look to rebound after Sunday’s unimpressive performance. Able to use his speed and aggression to his advantage, he finished the game tied with a team-high 9 combined tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss. Only cornerback Quinton Dunbar was able to match Holcomb’s production in total tackles.

During the first half in particular, it became evident as to why the Redskins front office decided to move on from former inside linebacker Mason Foster at the start of training camp. Holcomb, along with Jon Bostic, seemed to excel in play recognition and diagnosis. This was key in holding down a potent Eagles offense early in the contest.

However, the second half proved to be another story.  While Holcomb continued to display an ability to make plays from start to finish, the defense as a unit appeared to wear down as the game went on.

Along with an effective rushing attack, multiple third-down conversions engineered by Carson Wentz seemed to put a dagger in a Redskins defense that could never catch back up after blowing the lead. The pass rush also never really produced any consistent pressure on Wentz at any point throughout the game.

In all, even though the defense served as a strength in the first half, it turned into a glaring weakness in the second half. The Eagles offense went on to finish with 436 yards of total offense.

With the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliot on deck in Week 2, the task of finding a win will not get any easier for the beloved burgundy and gold. But the Redskins defense as a whole will seek to prove to themselves that they are more like the unit that started efficiently against the Eagles, rather than the one that finished it so poorly.