The Philadelphia Eagles are poised for a playoff berth in Nick Sirianni’s first season as head coach. Philadelphia made up for a nine-point halftime deficit to eliminate Washington’s football team in the second half and hang on to a 20-16 victory. Rodney McLeod intercepted Taylor Heinicke with 30 seconds left to seal the win, as the Washington quarterback pitched the Eagles’ 20-yard line pick.
Philadelphia got two touchdowns from Boston Scott, who finished with 14 carries for 47 yards and four catches for 39 yards. The Eagles were limited to 118 rushing yards, but received an effective quarterback play from Jalen Hurts in the afternoon. Hurts finished 17 of 26 for 214 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions while rushing for 44 yards on seven carries. Jake Elliott kicked a 42-yard field goal with 11:41 left to give the Eagles the lead in earnest.
Heinicke was 14 for 17 for 170 yards in the first half, but only went 10 for 19 for 77 yards in the second half. Washington scored from all four possessions in the first half, but none in the second. Jaret Patterson scored the team’s only touchdown, an 11-yard run that capped Washington’s first practice to give them a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles (9-7) retain the No.7 seed in the NFC playoff race and clinch a playoff berth on Sunday with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings to the Green Bay Packers later tonight and a San Francisco 49ers win over the Houston Texans or a New Orleans Saints loss to the Carolina Panthers. Washington is eliminated from the playoffs.
We’ll have some takeaways from this game shortly, but a recap can be found in our live blog below as Philadelphia drops to 7-2 in its last nine games.
Why the Eagles won
Philadelphia limited Washington to just 81 yards in the second half on 27 games and no points, this after allowing one of Washington’s first four possessions of the game to lead to 16 points. The Eagles’ defense was far from perfect, but Washington only scored a touchdown on first possession of the game. After that, seven possessions and nine points.
The Eagles limited Washington to just 26 yards on the first three possessions of the second half, while the Philadelphia offense outscored them 13-0 on all four possessions during the opening streak of the mid- time. Hurts was 8 of 15 for 98 yards in the second half, but delivered key throws to extend practices and put Philadelphia within scoring range. The win wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles deserved the win.
Why Washington lost
Washington’s offensive line couldn’t stop the Eagles’ four forwards in the second half, and it affected play for Heinicke – who was just 10 for 19 for 77 yards in the second half with an interception. The football team’s offense was effective in the first half against zonal coverage, but Heinicke took more pressure and Washington had a stretch where they were limited to just 26 yards in 15 games. This allowed the Eagles to use up the defense and get back into the game.
Washington attempted to play a playoff spoiler, but was defeated by erratic quarterback play and an offensive line that collapsed in the second half. This did not lead to any point of an attack that scored 16 in the first 30 minutes.
Trailing 16-7, the Eagles faced a third and -14 in the third quarter of Washington’s 31-yard line. Hurts took pressure and used his legs to save time and direct traffic while rolling to his right and looking for the open receiver.
Hurts found Greg Ward for 27 yards, another big play from the team’s No. 4 wide receiver. The Eagles would score a touchdown on the fourth and the goal four games later to reduce the deficit to 16-14.
McLeod sealed the win with a plunging interception in the end zone that won the Eagles’ season-winning season – and put Philadelphia in a prime position for a playoff berth. Washington was moving up the field as the football team hit the Eagles’ 20-yard line (Philadelphia wasn’t giving up any play over it), that’s where the Eagles took advantage.
Anticipating an aggressive throw from Heinicke, McLeod saw the ball move towards the end zone and caught a dive with 30 seconds left to preserve the victory. The capture was spectacular, ending a dominant second half with the Eagles’ defense.
“I’m just happy everyone is safe. It’s crazy stuff there. It’s a really dangerous situation. The passion of the Eagles fans. I love it.” – Hurt the Eagles fans who collapsed off the Washington railing by waving at him after the game.
Hurts checked to see if the fans were okay and greeted them once all was well, smiling at them immediately.
The Eagles (9-7) end the regular season with a home game against the Cowboys. Washington (6-10) faces the Giants to end the year.