A week after playing as poorly as any Joe Gibbs team ever has in suffering their third loss in four games, the Redskins were in desperate need of a victory last Sunday night. A loss and they would have been 4-4 overall, 1-2 in the NFC East.
But the 17-10 victory over Philadelphia -- preserved by safety Ryan Clark's interception at the Washington 9-yard line with 1:32 left -- put the four-time defending division champion Eagles (4-4) in the NFC East basement and moved the Redskins (5-3) into the last wild-card spot thanks to their Sept. 19 victory over the Cowboys (5-3).
After going 4-7 in games decided by a touchdown or less in 2004, Washington is 4-2 in those games this season.
"If we lost, our backs were going to be against the wall the rest of the way," Gibbs said. "When you start winning some close ones ... you start feeling like you're going to win those."
What's more, Washington already has beaten division leaders Chicago and Seattle and is 5-1 in the NFC, losing only to the New York Giants.
"Maybe we'll look back at this game as a defining moment," said quarterback Mark Brunell, who bounced back from a dreadful performance in the 36-0 drubbing by the Giants to complete 21 of 29 passes for 224 yards and a 94.6 rating.
Next up is a game at Tampa Bay, which is reeling from a loss to lowly San Francisco followed by a blowout defeat at home against Carolina. The week after that, struggling Oakland comes to FedEx Field, where Washington is 4-0 this season and has won five in a row overall.
If the Redskins can build off the Eagles win and beat the Buccaneers and Raiders, they'll be 7-3 heading into Thanksgiving. The last time Washington was 7-3 was 1991, its last Super Bowl season.
After quickly falling behind 7-0 on the heels of the previous week's horrendous 36-0 loss at the Meadowlands, the Redskins had the resolve to score on their next possession, and 8:19 after that, they took the lead.
And when the Eagles tied the game in the third quarter, the Redskins came right back to retake the lead. That's the kind of resilience the boys in burgundy and gold hadn't shown since the Clinton Administration.With some good fortune (recovering two of their three fumbles and winning all three replay challenges), the Redskins put an end to their losing streaks (seven straight overall, five in a row at home) against the Eagles, holding on for a 17-10 decision at FedEx Field.
--LB LaVar Arrington, who four weeks ago didn't get on the field in Denver, replaced Warrick Holdman in the starting lineup against Philadelphia. Arrington tied DE Phillip Daniels for the team lead with six tackles.
--DT Cornelius Griffin was inactive against Philadelphia with a hip flexor, missing a game for just the sixth time in his six seasons.
--RB Mike Sellers scored against Philadelphia on a 1-yard run, his first rushing TD, and his fifth score in eight games this year. The five TDs equals Sellers' total from his previous five seasons.
--RB Clinton Portis went over the 5,000-yard mark for his career with a 15-yard run during the second quarter against Philadelphia. Portis finished with just 67 yards on 21 carries, but his 6-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the game-winner.--K John Hall played for the first time since pulling his right quadriceps in the Sept. 11 season opener. Hall kicked a 24-yard field goal and two extra points against Philadelphia. Three of his four kickoffs went at least as deep as the 6-yard line, but his first one went out of bounds and gave Philadelphia the ball at its 40.