A quarter-by-quarter look at the Washington Redskins' 38-24 road win over the Philadelphia Eagles. But first...
You know what happened and what happened is the Redskins are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 thanks to a worst-to-first turnaround. Week 17 against the Cowboys will still happen, but it doesn't matter except for bragging rights. Wow.
Big play: Pick your Jordan Reed touchdown. Either works, but let's go for the second one that put the Redskins up 13-6. The tight end continued his unstoppable playmaking throughout the quarter, including catches on the final two plays of the scoring drive. His 19-yard grab on 3rd-and-5 kept the chains moving and then Reed hauled in a 12-yard strike over the middle on the play for touchdwon number two of the game and 11 on the season. He set a team record in the process.
Turning point: Washington didn't match Philadelphia's opening 80-yard touchdown drive on its first possession, but scored the next time. The 69-yard drive went quickly and most through the air, starting with a 13-yard gain by Pierre Thomas, who helped fill in with running back Matt Jones (hip) inactive. Reed the possession with a 22-yard grab down the middle. However, kicker Dustin Hopkins missed his first extra point of the season. Yikes.
The takeaway: The moment isn't too big for the Burgundy and Gold. Good sign. The teams are comparable defensively, but the Redskins offense has the edge.
Score: Redskins 7 Eagles 0
Big play: How about big bizarre play. Starting a drive with just 30 seconds left in the first half and leading 16-10, the Redskins quickly moved the ball to Philadelphia's six-yard line. After the Eagles took a timeout, the Redskins kept the offense on the field despite no more timeouts in their column. Pass the ball and do so fast, that's the only option.
Except Cousins found another. The QB inexplicably took a knee. Not a spike, which ends the play, but a knee, which keeps the clock moving. The refs sorted out the chaos and properly determined the play ended the quarter. It certainly blew minds.
Turning point: Just like the Eagles couldn't stop Reed, the Redskins had no answer for Zach Ertz. Philadelphia's tight end deftly worked the short routes throughout, but he went deep down the sideline on third down from his side's 40-yard. Quinton Dunbar had Ertz, but let him go and nobody backed him up. That left Ertz more open than a 7-11, but quarterback Sam Bradford overthrew his target.
The takeaway: Between the missed extra point and Cousins' brain freeze, the Redskins are truly tempting fate. They also have the lead and the first possession of the second half.
Score: Redskins 13 Eagles 10
Big play: Washington went nowhere on that first possession, but found the end zone after the defense held Philadelphia. We're way past any fear of Cousins regressing after a mistake, but it sure calmed nerves when he directed the 11-play, 54-yard drive that ended with Chris Thompson's 12-yard TD catch. On the play, Cousins added
Turning point: The answer might have been DeMarco Murray's short TD run that pulled the Eagles with 23-17 except for what Murray did later in the quarter. With light rain falling and the Eagles facing a 3rd-and-2 from their own 29, Murray dropped a side pitch from Bradford and DeAngelo Hall took advantage. The longtime defensive back scooped up the fumble and raced 17 yards for his 10th career score. This play will make the highlights, but Hall, who recently shifted to safety, turned into a hitting machine against the Eagles
The takeaway: Cannot call that a knockout blow considering one quarter remains, but that defensive score put the Eagles on the ground. Avoid the miscues, and, well, you know...
Score: Redskins 30 Eagles 17
Big play: Cousins strikes again with touchdown pass number four with a perfect fade toss to Pierre Garcon with two defensive backs in range. That's back-to-back games with four touchdown passes. Starting with the comeback win over Tampa Bay in Week 7, the QB has 20 TDP and just three interceptions.
Turning point: The aforementioned TD came at the end of a 13-play, 80-yard drive. Just in case the Eagles thought a comeback was possible, this series said not so fast.
The takeaway: 2015 NFC East champion Washington Redskins. Real life, folks. Big ups to the Eagles and Giants for bizarre seasons and no doubt Tony Romo's injuries was a game-changer. But the Redskins earned the franchise's 15 division title despite sitting at 2-4 and trailing the Bucs 24-0. Cousins was a revelation. The offense took off when Jackson returned from his injury while Reed and Trent Williams dominated throughout. The free agent additions, especially the defensive line members, helped change the culture while making plays while random pickups helped plug holes during the season. The rookies produced with Preston Smith's three-sack performance Saturday the topper. Coach Jay Gruden kept team focused and general manager built a roster capable of winning the division in his first season. Win it they did.
Score: Redskins 38 Eagles 24
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