For the third week in a row, the Eagles got off to a slow start against an NFC East team. For the third week in a row, the Eagles were able to rebound.
Not unlike early in the season, Philadelphia’s defense had their issues with being too soft. But they came up with some big stops when it counted. None bigger than Rodney McLeod picking off Taylor Heinicke to effectively end the game.
The Eagles’ offense wasn’t clicking all day but Jalen Hurts had a strong performance, making some critical throws.
It wasn’t the prettiest win for the Birds but it was a game they needed to win and they found a way to do just that. With the win, the Eagles can clinch a playoff spot if they get help from 1) either a 49ers win over the Texans OR a Panthers win over the Saints ... AND 2) a Packers win over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage.
- The Eagles won the coin toss and elected to defer. Taylor Heinicke made some good throws to Cam Sims and John Bates to move WFT into the red zone. Then Jaret Patterson took a carry for a touchdown. Not a great start for the Eagles’ defense against a banged up Washington offense. EAGLES 0, WASHINGTON 7.
OLB Genard Avery and DE Cameron Malveaux driven back on the right side of the #Eagles defense on Jaret Patterson's 11-yard TD run.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 2, 2022
Malveaux at the 4i-tech spot, which probably isn't an ideal use of his skill set.
- Jalen Hurts hit DeVonta Smith with a nice strike over the middle for a 30-yard gain. The Eagles drove down to the 25-yard and got to 4th-and-2 and correctly went for it. On fourth down, Jordan Howard’s run up the middle was stopped well short. Turnover on downs. I get Howard is typically the Eagles’ best short-yardage option but not sure I love giving the ball to an injured running back in that spot!
- Derek Barnett had a chance to sack Heinicke after being unblocked but couldn’t get him down and the quarterback got the pass off for a first down. Just great. Heinicke threw up an awful pass while being pressured that was picked off by ... Genard Avery! But it was wiped out by an illegal touching penalty on Avery. Washington got to the 13-yard line but had to settle for a field goal. EAGLES 0, WASHINGTON 10.
Eagles have been outscored 35-7 in the first quarter of their last five games.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) January 2, 2022
- The Eagles used eight plays to get to 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Hurts had a nice rollout and throw to Dallas Goedert to get there. On 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Hurts targeted DeVonta but the throw didn’t connect. Hurts wanted a penalty for defensive holding on the play but there was no flag. The Eagles went for it on fourth down and the offensive line created a push for a Boston Scott touchdown run. Really nice response. EAGLES 7, WASHINGTON 10.
- The Eagles’ defense continued to be leaky with Washington moving to the Eagles’ 21-yard line. On 3rd-and-11, Anthony Harris dropped a chance at a pick in the end zone. The Football Team settled for a Joey Slye field goal after a delay from WFT tight end Ricky Seal-Jones being carted off the field. Scary. EAGLES 7, WASHINGTON 13.
- The Eagles brought Darius Slay in for another offense snap and ran him into orbit motion. He was just a decoy, though, with Hurts not even looking his way. Hurts had a great 22-yard run on 3rd-and-8 by side-stepping a defensive lineman and taking off into the open field. Ankle looks good! The Eagles got to 3rd-and-2 at WFT’s 43-yard line and it looked like Hurts got sacked ... but he somehow got out of it! Only to get actually sacked shortly after. That was almost pretty cool. The Birds ended up punting on 4th-and-4 from WFT’s 45-yard line. Probably should’ve gone for it there. Arryn Siposs’s punt to the 6-yard line ended up being just a 39-yard difference.
PHI decided to punt to WSH from the WSH 45 on 4th & 4 with 2:10 remaining in the 2nd while losing 7 to 13.— Surrender Index (@surrender_index) January 2, 2022
With a Surrender Index of 15.49, this punt ranks at the 97th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2021 season, and the 95th percentile of all punts since 1999.
- WFT went 56 yards in 10 plays to get in range for a 55-yard field goal attempt. They had help from Nick Sirianni calling a timeout on 3rd-and-1 from Washington’s own 36-yard with 34 seconds remaining. Washington lined up for the kick and it went wide right ... but the Eagles called a timeout to ice Slye. And it didn’t work because he hit the second kick. That was deserved. EAGLES 7, WASHINGTON 16.
Really bad half for Sirianni strategically. Clock management at end was particularly egregious - didn’t wind play clock down on the punt that should’ve hit 2 min warning, then took a TO on 3rd & 1 w/ 34 sec left when upside for O was largely impractical. Team playing like shit.— Dan (@snaxonly) January 2, 2022
WFT has scored on every single drive and has 16 first downs, 11 of them coming before even needing a 3rd down.— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) January 2, 2022
Distance to go on their 3rd downs: 4,1,8,3,12,1,1,1.
It’s like September/October all again for the #Eagles defense.
- Hurts took a deep shot to DeVonta Smith down the left sideline but the ball was a little too far out in front and wide. Hurts had a good ball to Goedert along the right sideline for a conversion on 3rd-and-4. Goedert took a funny tumble over the kicking net after the play but was fine. Hurts had another nice moment on 3rd-and-14 where he scrambled to buy time, kept his eyes downfield, and hit Greg Ward for a 27-yard gain into goal-to-go territory. The Eagles ran the ball three times to bring up 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Sirianni made the right call to go for it ... and the conversion was successful despite Hurts getting tripped as he tossed the ball to Scott for the score! Big drive. 14 plays, 75 yards, 7:39 off the clock. EAGLES 14, WASHINGTON 16.
- Josh Sweat came up with a really big third down sack to force a WFT punt. THE DEFENSE GOT A STOP!
- Hurts had Quez Watkins, who beat a linebacker, on a wheel route but underthrew the ball to create a contested catch situation for an incompletion. Hurts was pressured but the play was there to be made. Hurts’ second throw down to DeVonta was broken up to bring up 3rd-and-10. On third down, Hurts ran right and threw the ball out of bounds. Not his best from an otherwise strong day.
- Avery came up with a big sack after lining up as a stand-up rusher in the middle of the defensive line and using a great move on WFT’s center. Avery’s been doing some good things recently!
- WFT got away with a really obvious defensive holding penalty to bring up 3rd-and-18. Then Lane Johnson was called for a false start to bring up 3rd-and-13. On third down, Hurts threw short of the sticks to bring up a 42-yard field goal attempt. Jake Elliott made the kick to take the lead. EAGLES 17, WASHINGTON 16.
- Avonte Maddox got called for a bogus DPI to give WFT a free first down. Javon Hargrave blew up a screen to bring up 2nd-and-14. WFT got to 3rd-and-12 and Maddox tackled Terry McLaurin short of the sticks to bring up 4th-and-5. Avonte redemption. WFT went for it and Henicke’s pass was dropped short of the sticks. Big stop!
- The Eagles got to 4th-and-1 from WFT’s 42-yard line and Sirianni correctly decided to be aggressive once again. The Eagles converted with a Hurts sneak up the middle. On 3rd-and-5, Hurts was pressured and floated a ball to Jalen Reagor. Reagor couldn’t come back to the ball and make the catch as it hit one hand and fell on the ground.
Sure looks like Fuller put Reagor in a headlock before the pass arrived. No DPI called, after WFT was given a questionable call in their favor on the last drive. pic.twitter.com/WpDBkn2wVm— Patrick (@76Iggles) January 2, 2022
No pass interference call when it looked like there could’ve been one. Elliott was brought in for the 41-yard field goal, which he made. EAGLES 20, WASHINGTON 16.
- Washington took over at their own 25-yard line with 2:21 left in the game. They methodically drove to 1st-and-10 from the 20-yard line with 30 seconds and no timeouts to work with. Heinicke took a shot over the middle ... and it was tipped and picked off on a diving catch by Rodney McLeod! Game.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES WIN, 20 to 16.
- Nate Herbig got banged up late in the second quarter. Sua Opeta came in for him.