PHILADELPHIA − Left tackle Jordan Mailata was succinct when describing the two sacks he allowed in the Eagles’ last game.
“They were (bad) sets for me,” Mailata said, using an expletive. “That’s just it. Really (bad).
Both sacks came on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, to Houston’s Jerry Hughes in the Eagles’ 29-17 win on Nov. 3.
Mailata said he spent much of the past 11 days leading up to the Eagles’ Monday night game against Washington working on fixing the issue.
And he’ll have to if the Eagles hope to tie a franchise record with 9 straight wins, last set during the Super Bowl season in 2017. The Eagles also did it in 1960 and 2003.
The Commanders’ strength on defense is their defensive line. Mailata will likely deal with edge rusher Montez Sweat, who has 3 sacks this season. He won’t face Chase Young, who remained on injured reserve after tearing his ACL last November.
Mailata will have to hold his own because the Commanders’ interior is also strong with Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
But really, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni took responsibility for the sacks Mailata allowed, saying, “We weren’t synced up with our protection and our route concepts, and that’s 100% on me and nobody else.”
Mailata wasn’t buying it, saying, “I have to do better.”
The Eagles are counting on it.
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Lisa Salters providing commentary. The game will also air locally on WPHL-17.
Defensive end Josh Sweat helped the Eagles get on the board first with his strip sack of Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
But really, Sweat’s play made up for a roughing the kicker call when Washington was punting from near its goal line. Reed Blankenship was called for the penalty, giving the Commanders a first down at their 28. On the next play, Sweat sacked Heinicke, forcing a fumble recovered by Marlon Tuipulotu at Washington’s 19.
The Eagles scored three plays later.
But Washington came back and tied the game on the next drive. Then Jalen Hurts led the Eagles down the field, capping the drive with a 6-yard jump pass to Dallas Goedert. That gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
Sweat left the game early in the second quarter with a leg injury. There was no word yet on his injury.
Before the game, the Eagles placed nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Maddox suffered the injury against the Houston Texans on Nov. 3 while covering on a Houston Texans punt return.
By going on IR, Maddox will have to miss at least four games. That makes him eligible to return Dec. 11 against the Giants. The Eagles didn’t fill his roster spot before the game, but did elevate rookie Mario Goodrich from the practice squad for the game.
Josiah Scott was expected to start in Maddox’s place against Washington.
The Eagles also have defensive tackle Jordan Davis on IR recently. He’s eligible to return Dec. 4.
3 things I’m watching
- Duplication for DeVonta? In the first game, on Sept. 25, DeVonta Smith had a career-high 169 yards receiving as Washington tried to take away A.J. Brown. That didn’t really work either as Brown had 85 yards receiving. In the five games since, Smith has 193 yards receiving total. Just about midway through the season, Smith has 442 yards, close to his pace from his rookie season, when he had 916 yards receiving, a franchise rookie record.
- Commanding the QB spot: Typically, the opposing quarterback isn’t a must-watch, but how Taylor Heinicke plays Monday could determine whether he keeps the job when Carson Wentz returns. Wentz, who’s on IR with a broken finger, can return as soon as next Sunday, but that’s not a given. The Commanders are 2-1 under Heinicke, 2-4 under Wentz. A Commanders’ upset should keep Heinicke in the starting job. But perhaps a close loss will as well.
- Turnover trifecta: The Eagles have three players with at least three interceptions in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (5), Darius Slay and James Bradberry (3 each). The Eagles’ 12 interceptions lead the NFL. They should have some chances for more against Heinicke, who often throws into coverage.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Commanders 22.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.