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Struggling Eagles Sack Sam Howell Just Once

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 29: Haason Reddick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles forces Sam Howell #14 of the Washington Commanders to fumble in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 29, 2023 in Landover, Maryland.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images|

It took nearly an hour for the Eagles to do this. What an embarrassing performance.

The Philadelphia Eagles continued their turbulent season on Sunday with one of their most embarrassing performances yet. Yes, Philadelphia improved to 7-1 and now have the best record in the league. But they also suffered one of the worst indignities that can befall an NFL team in 2023: In the 38-31 win, the Philadelphia Eagles only sacked Washington quarterback Sam Howell once.

The Commanders QB had been sacked 40 times in his team's seven games before Sunday, a historic pace that works out to at least four times in every game. The Eagles themselves got Howell five times in Week 4, but Howell also threw for 290 yards. The Eagles are supposed to be a top team in the NFL; at this moment, their record says they're the best. As such, you had to know the defense was going to come out there and sack Sam Howell a bunch of times, if only out of respect for their own craft. After all, Howell has been on pace for record sack numbers this year. The Eagles wouldn’t let themselves be embarrassed. Great teams don't do that sort of thing.

Well, too bad! Sam Howell was Sammy Baugh for one day. He was sacked just once. He threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles, allegedly one of the best defensive lines in the league, did not get to him until Haason Reddick sacked him on a fourth-down play nearly 58 minutes into the game. C’mon, guys. The Bears sacked Howell five times. The Giants got him down six!

Just look at the praise Sam Howell is receiving in the press:

  • The Washington Post: “Howell threw quick, decisive passes, sometimes downfield, and took no early sacks.”
  • Pro Football Talk: “Howell was excellent for most of the game.”
  • CBS Sports: “Howell enjoyed a career-best day.”
  • Riggo’s Rag: “If the Washington Commanders were looking to Sam Howell for inspiration, they got it right out of the gate.”
  • The Washington Post again: “Though low, the passes from Howell appeared catchable.”

Sunday should have been a day where the Eagles showed decisively that they are the only team in the NFL that is not a fraud. Kansas City got beaten up by the Broncos. The 49ers are garbage now. Do you trust the Jaguars? The Cowboys?? The Lions??? Philadelphia could have begun making prudent, preliminary parade preparations—mocking up a route, renting jersey barriers, that sort of thing—if the defense had just sacked Sam Howell a respectable number of times. But that's not what happened. Now, who knows where this season will go.

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