Some said the planets were aligning for another great Redskin dash to the playoffs.  After a disappointing loss the team was 3-6 and faced Philadelphia after being off the previous Sunday, just like 2012.  Unfortunately, “planets aligning” meant “like Alderaan”.  The 24-16 loss had everything reminiscent of a Death Star Strike:  the immediate threat of disaster (aka Philly scoring on 3 of its first 4 drives) followed by a potential reprieve (back to back 4th quarter scores the “Dantooine” ploy to Grand Moff Tarkin)…and the door being slammed shut (“You may fire when ready”).  And just like that, the Skins playoff hopes blew up like the unsuspecting planet of Alderaan.

Another reason why the loss was not awesome– the loss drops the Skins to 1-6 in the NFC and 0-3 in the division.  Should they somehow make a run with 5 or 6 wins…they’d likely be involved in conference or division tiebreakers that would not pan out in their favor.

RG3ver– just like the opener it took awhile for the face of the franchise to heat up: 1-4 after one quarter…4 net passing yards after one half…and a line of 7-14=57 after three periods.  Thank goodness for garbage time, I mean, thank goodness for the fourth quarter.

Alfred the Abandoned– after rumbling for 86 yards on 18 first half carries, Mr. Morris ran just 4 times after intermission for 7 yards.  He’s not even the primary ballcarrier on third down runs (Young twice, Helu once, RG3 once).  That’s where the Bell comparison gets confusing– can you imagine an episode where Zack rocks it in the first half yet has minimal lines after the second commercial?  If only the Shanahans followed the Peter Engel principle and continued to let this Morris be the star– even down 24 points Zack could always rally the gang to sell Buddy Bands or save Kelly’s grandparents’ Hawaiian resort.

Peerless Pierre– Monsieur Garcon grabbed 6 passes for 68 yards…and his tear begins to take record-setting proportions as his 6.7 catches per game would prorate to 107 over 16 games (one better than Art Monk’s record).  There’s been a little debate in the DC media that Garcon isn’t really a #1 guy… just a #2 that puts up good numbers because there’s no other ace in the receiving corps.  Does that take into account some of the sweet catches he’s made as well as the fact that because the group is limited he’s drawing the opponents’ best DB (or DBs) every game?

Third and Long, Longer, Longest– the Burgundy and Gold converted 8 of 17 third down attempts (going through the play-by-play I thought there were just 16 attempts…but they may be counting a defensive hold on the Eagles as a failed attempt?)…with over half of those third downs measuring 7 yards or more.  RG3 went 7-11 with 5 conversions and 1 INT…with one sack and a one-yard rush that didn’t move the chains.  Absent was Alfred Morris.  The yardage breakdown:  3-6 short (1-3 needed), 3-3 medium (4-6) and 2-9 long (7+ yards needed).  Of course three of those were “super-long”: 15+ yards necessary.

Deceptive Defense–  only 24 points and 402 yards allowed… with 7 points and 141 of those coming after halftime.  There begins the deception:  Philly just like their first game was looking to end the game after the first possession of the second half as opposed to trying to score.  Over the first six possessions the Eagles carved out drives of 68, 69, 83 and 80 yards en route to putting points on the board.  The other two included an opening possession 32 yard march and a last-minute-of-the-first-half “let’s see if we can get anything here” experiment.  Trailing 24-0 is no way to help your own running game, either.

Season-long Slump– not only is this unit near the bottom of the league in yards and points allowed, it’s the way other teams pile up productivity.  The Skins have been outscored in seven of ten first halves this fall…and in the other three games they were outscored in the second half.  It seems as though the opposition can get it done when necessary…

Stat that Makes you Cringe– Brandon Merriweather led the team with 7 tackles…while Josh Wilson and David Amerson notched 5 stops apiece.  Anytime your top three tacklers are DBs, it’s not ideal.

Cobra Kai– no field goal attempts for Mr. Forbath…and no extra point attempts either (thanks to the team being down 24 in the second half).  Perhaps the real Zabka’s appearance on “How I Met Your Mother” is sapping the real Kai’s karma.  Let the record show we had Zabka parallel’s last fall…perhaps re-jumpstarting his career playing himself on HIMYM.  Otherwise this feels like KK3– when you didn’t even have the Zabka cameo at the beginning.  And for the record, KK3 made Jedi look like Empire…

Not So Special Teams– the Skins starting field position was awful in the first half:  their own 2, 17 and 19 yard line with three from the 20.  Both Philly TD’s in the first half began with drives in the 30’s.  

Flags Flying–  only four penalties for 39 yards… with three on defense:  Unnecessary roughness on EJ Biggers, Illegal Use of the Hands on David Amerson and a Horsecollar tackle on Perry Riley.  The effect?  The Eagles punted anyway four plays after Biggers’ flag, Philly settled for a 24 yd FG after Amerson’s penalty, and they scored their final TD one play after Riley’s flag from the 4 (it was a half the distance infraction from the 8).  The offensive penalty?  A facemask  on Pierre Garcon during the final drive…and the offense made up the yardage.

Dissecting the Division– last year Philadelphia lost its week 11 matchup with the Skins en route to a last place finish, this year the Eagles victory puts them a half game (6-5) ahead of idle Dallas (5-5) for the NFC East lead.  The half game means Philly gets the 4th seed while the Cowboys settle for 9th (owning the conference tiebreaker over Green Bay).  The NY Giants after FOUR STRAIGHT WINS climb all the way to 11th place in the conference (better NFC record than St. Louis)…and the Burgundy and Gold hold down 13th in the conference again this week.

The Best West…and Sad South– the race for best division now has the AFC West one half game ahead of their NFC counterpart…while the AFC South (14-26) is the only division at least ten games under .500.  If Indianapolis just beats Tennessee next weekend and wins one more game they’re champs.  The NFC East?  A sad seventh.  The Interconference showdown has the NFC taking a 26-24 lead.