Secondary helps shut down Eagles' Foles in his first start

The Redskins played the sort of defense Sunday they had anticipated all season. They shut down a struggling offense, applying pressure on the quarterback, causing turnovers and, for a change, enjoying themselves. It's what the Redskins have needed to do; it's also what they rarely have done.

The Redskins entered with the NFL's 28th-ranked defense, but they did not play that way in Sunday's 31-6 win over the Eagles at FedEx Field. The Redskins, again varying their pass rush, recorded four sacks, forced three turnovers that the offense turned into 10 points and made rookie quarterback Nick Foles' life difficult in his first start. He completed 21 of 46 passes for 204 yards and two interceptions.

They made it tough for him from the first series when cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted a pass that bounced off tight end Brent Celek. The Redskins scored a touchdown two plays later.

Strong safety Brandon Meriweather, making his season debut, intercepted a hurried Foles on the next series. Meriweather did nothing special on the interception other than to be in the right spot at the right time. He was active most of the game, though he left in the second half with another knee sprain. He will be re-evaluated Monday.

"He brought a lot of energy," Hall said. "He was definitely a playmaker."

Said Meriweather about the secondary: "It was just the fact that the four starters together for the first time [made us] upbeat. Everything falls on us, so we played like it."

Finally, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan recovered a fumble forced by nose tackle Barry Cofield late in the first half that led to a Redskins field goal.

The secondary held DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to a combined two catches for five yards. The Redskins mixed coverages -- as they do every week -- to confuse Foles. They also brought more pressure, even sending Josh Wilson on a blitz that resulted in a sack for the cornerback.

"You couldn't have wrote a better story than the way we jumped out on this team from the start," Hall said. "Our problem is trying to go out there and finish. We were able to accomplish what we wanted."

The question this week surrounds the secondary's health. In addition to Meriweather, Wilson exited the game with a shoulder injury.