Commanders defense's lack of turnovers
Before the game, I did an analysis of how the Washington Commanders managed to upset the Philadelphia Eagles last season. They repeated two of the three big things that won that game. They committed to the run, and they managed to lure their opponents into a lot of bad penalties. The one thing they couldn’t do was force turnovers.
They were close on several occasions. On the first drive of the second half, Chase Young and Daron Payne converged on Jalen Hurts as he was beginning his throw, forcing the ball to squirt out of his hand. This was as close to a fumble as you can get, and safety Kamren Curl was there to pounce on the ball with nothing but open field in front of him.
But the play was ruled an incomplete pass. It was the right call, thanks to Hurts’ remarkable grip on the ball, but it was so close to being a game-changer.
That play was out of Washington’s hands, but the first play of the fourth quarter was not.
The Eagles ran a conservative sweep on 3rd-and-11 from inside the red zone. Washington’s defense smothered the play and Benjamin St-Juste stripped the ball from Kenneth Gainwell. Several Commanders had a shot at the recovery, but Cody Barton didn’t identify the fumble quickly enough, and Lane Johnson managed to beat Montez Sweat and the aforementioned cornerback to the ball.
On the next play, Jake Elliott kicked a short field goal to put Philadelphia up by a touchdown.
If the Commanders are able to secure one of those near misses, they probably win the game.