Entering this game as 9.5-point home favorites with multiple matchups working in their favor, there was reason to believe the Eagles could win big.
But Sunday did not prove to be the cakewalk that fans hoped for. The Commanders started the day with long touchdown drive. The Eagles answered with one of their own but then costly penalties and poor execution contributed to Philly falling behind, 17 to 7.
The Eagles battled back and took their first lead midway through the third quarter. With a chance to go up two scores, though, the Eagles inexplicably called a running play to Kenny Gainwell on 3rd-and-11 and settled for a field goal.
Punishing the Eagles for their cowardice, the Commanders put together another drive to tie the game.
The Eagles responded with a Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown touchdown where the wide receiver got flagged for taunting. That penalty ultimately contributed to a game-tying touchdown drive led by Sam Howell to send the game to overtime. The Eagles were fortunate that Ron Rivera opted not to go for a two-point conversion for the win.
By the skin of their teeth, the Eagles’ defense forced a three-and-out in overtime to give the offense a chance to score. Hurts getting hit with an intentional grounding penalty forced Jake Elliott into a 54-yard field goal, which he fortunately made for the win.
And this ultimately leaves the Eagles in a bit of a weird spot. They’re 4-0, which is the goal. But they have yet to play their A-game. They came very close to losing this game that they should’ve been able to put away. Can the Eagles eventually find their rhythm? Or is this just who the 2023 Eagles are, an inconsistent team that’s just not as good and well-coached as they were in 2022?
They’re going to need to be much better to beat the better opponents coming up on their schedule.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage, including the BGN Radio postgame show.
- The Eagles won the coin toss and elected to defer to put the Commanders’ offense on the field first. Sam Howell’s first pass hit Terry McLaurin on a slant for 15 yards with Darius Slay trailing. McLaurin Moss’d Josh Jobe, starting on the outside with James Bradberry playing nickel cornerback, for another Commanders first down. A nice pass breakup by Jobe and a scramble by Howell brought up 3rd-and-7 just outside of the red zone. On third down, the Commanders ran a screen to bring on 4th-and-1. On fourth down, Brian Robinson was able to push through for a conversion. Howell overthrew Jahan Dotson in the end zone to bring up 3rd-and-6 at the 10-yard line. Logan Thomas false started to bring up 3rd-and-11. On third down, Howell took off running short of the marker but Zach Cunningham was called for defensive holding (broadcast with no replay of the penalty, very cool ... until finally showing it later and it was on Nicholas Morrow instead and a real weak call) for a new set of downs. The Commanders handed off to a motioning Curtis Samuel for an easy touchdown. Ideal scenario for Washington: keep the Eagles off the field with a long, time-consuming scoring drive. 14 plays and 7:08 off the clock. EAGLES 0, COMMANDERS 7.
- Looked like Jalen Hurts might’ve had DeVonta Smith open deep but he checked down to D’Andre Swift for a nine-yard gain. Hurts then connected with A.J. Brown for 10 yards and a first down. The Eagles got set back with a Landon Dickerson false start but the Birds moved the chains with a Hurts completion to Brown on 3rd-and-8. Protection held up nicely against the blitz for Hurts to get it out quick enough on that throw. Swift got facemasked (twice) to put the Eagles just outside the red zone. A Swift carry took the Eagles into the red zone but then a screen was sniffed out for a loss to bring up 3rd-and-7. On third down, Hurts was able to hit Dallas Goedert in a tight window over the middle for a conversion. Accurate throw and tough catch in traffic. Two plays later, the Eagles’ offensive line paved the way for a Swift touchdown run to tie it up. Good answer to the Commanders’ opening drive. Hurts with seven completions on seven passing attempts start to the game. That’s what you want to see. EAGLES 7, COMMANDERS 7.
- Multiple missed tackles by the Eagles’ defense allowed a 10-yard Gibson run. The first quarter ended at 1:31 PM Eastern ... pretty fast.
- The Commanders got to 3rd-and-4. On third down, Howell was able to find a wide open McLaurin over the middle with Nolan Smith as an off-ball linebacker underneath. Nolan Smith then got flagged for being offside to move Commanders to the Eagles’ 30-yard line. Howell got hit as he threw but completed a pass to Logan Thomas. Terrell Edmunds got called for unnecessary roughness by the same refs who let a helmet-to-helmet shot on DeVonta Smith go unflagged earlier, cool. Edmunds was then unable to catch a Howell pass that hung up in the air after the quarterback got hit while throwing (finally, some pressure!). Lucky! Robinson fumbled near the goal line and McLaurin was able to recover for the score. Lucky again! EAGLES 7, COMMANDERS 14.
Washington is living a charmed life. Bogus penalty on the first TD drive. Dropped INT on this drive. Then recovered a fumble in the end zone. Defense hasn't had any luck, but they also are not playing well. Must do better. Eagles down 14-7.— Tommy Lawlor (@lawlornfl) October 1, 2023
I’m not sure what the NFL wants a defender to do here pic.twitter.com/rvXejeIhay— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
- The Eagles drove to 4th-and-1 at midfield and went for the sneak. Landon Dickerson was flagged for being offside, setting the Eagles back to 4th-and-6. Nick Sirianni decided to punt. Braden Mann only managed to boot it 34 yards. Bad. That cannot be fair caught outside of 20 yards.
lol at flagging an OG whose hand is in line with the football but not the DT doing the exact same thing with his hand AND his helmet pic.twitter.com/1ul6jNdKKQ— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
- The Commanders took over at their own 21-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, Nicholas Morrow got to Howell on a blitz for the game’s first sack. Much-needed stop by the Eagles’ defense.
A well-timed blitz by Sean Desai on third down gives Nicholas Morrow his first sack since 2020 and the fifth of his career.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) October 1, 2023
- The Eagles took over at their own 43-yard line following a seven-yard return by Britain Covey. Hurts took off running and had his facemask grabbed by a defender in the open field, no call. Hurts got sacked to bring up 3rd-and-12. On third down, Hurts had DeVonta Smith open deep but considerably overthrew him. Another bad punt from Mann, who kicked a line drive with no hang time that set up a Commanders 14-yard return. Two 35-yard net punts from Mann on his first two tries.
- The Commanders got to 3rd-and-4 and Howell hit a wide open Dyami Brown for a first down and then some. Looked entirely too easy. The Commanders got to 3rd-and-8 on the 19-yard line. On third down, Howell was pressured into an incompletion out of bounds ... that was overturned by a weak pass interference call on James Bradberry. The ref show, baby, dontcha love it?! The combination of a Josh Sweat sack and a short run where Gibson dropped a toss but the ball naturally bounced right back up into his hands for an eight-yard gain brought up 3rd-and-goal at the 12-yard line. The Eagles were able to limit Howell to a checkdown that brought up a short field goal. Crucial to hold it to a kick. EAGLES 7, COMMANDERS 17.
Nobody in the same zip code as the WR pic.twitter.com/x29Lc4QEsI— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
- The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:39 on the clock and just one timeout to work with. Hurts threw too wide of Dallas Goedert to have the ball go off the tight end’s hand and almost get picked off. Bad miss. Hurts connected with Brown and then took a 4th-and-1 carry for a first down.
Hurts chucked it downfield and his pass was short due to getting hit while throwing ... but still caught by DeVonta Smith! Baller. Incredible jump ball play. The catch went under review ... and the ruling stood as it should. A short pass to Kenny Gainwell brought up 2nd-and-7 with 0:10 left as he was able to get out of bounds. Hurts rolled right and threw the ball away to bring on the field goal team. Ron Rivera called a timeout to try to ice the kicker. Didn’t work: Jake Elliott made his 41-yard attempt. EAGLES 10, COMMANDERS 17.
What a catch by DeVonta Smith! pic.twitter.com/pEUciMU1K3— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
- Sua Opeta began the second half as the Eagles’ right guard. Hurts had a real nice, accurate pass to A.J. Brown in stride along the left sideline for a first down. On 3rd-and-3, Hurts held onto the ball for some time and got hit as he threw for an incompletion that wasn’t too far away from being a fumble. The Eagles settled for a 47-yard Elliott field goal attempt when Nick Sirianni probably should’ve went for it from the Commanders’ 30-yard line. Also probably could’ve set up a shorter fourth down (at worst) with a run on 3rd-and-3. EAGLES 13, COMMANDERS 17.
---> WAS (17) @ PHI (10) <---— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) October 1, 2023
PHI has 4th & 3 at the WSH 30, Q3 11:38
Recommendation (VERY STRONG): Go for it (+5.4 WP)
Actual play: J.Elliott 47 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-R.Lovato, Holder-B.Mann. pic.twitter.com/oTPiqHDnnZ
Hurts is having a very touch game inre: pocket management. Leaving pockets that he should hang in and hanging in pockets he should leave. Feels like his internal clock is really struggling.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 1, 2023
- Darius Slay broke up a short pass over the middle ... and then the refs threw a late flag for a defensive pass interference on him. And it was a bad call! Very cool. The Commanders got to another 3rd-and-4 scenario. On third down, Jahan Doston had a bad drop to bring up a punt. Legitimately shocked there was no flag after the play.
- The Eagles took over at their own 26-yard line. In a shocking reveal that the refs can call penalties on the Commanders, Swift drew a defensive holding call on a play that could’ve been bigger if not for a missed throw by Hurts. DeVonta Smith got tripped up on a bubble screen that maybe had a chance to go the distance. Another fortunate development for the Commanders. Hurts pump-faked to help get Brown open deep and then hit the receiver, who weaved his way through the secondary for a TOUCHDOWN. Great blocking by the WRs to help out Brown. There was a flag on the field in the backfield ... and it was roughing the passer on Montez Sweat. That set the Eagles up for a two-point try from the 1-yard line, which they converted with a Gainwell carry. Boom. Big drive to take control of the game. EAGLES 21, COMMANDERS 17.
DB bites on the TE screen and springs AJ Brown. Shoutout to OZ for fantastic effort blocking downfield to turn a big play into a TD. pic.twitter.com/hlAMV8RjAX— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
That's the best drive of Brian Johnson's short career as an NFL play-caller. Getting easy throws to the boundary dialed up for Hurts: Devonta screen, Swift wheel, and then the TD. Protecting the OL, which is struggling as well. Huge drive.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 1, 2023
- The Commanders got to 3rd-and-1 and took their first timeout of the second half. They ran a sneak with Logan Thomas under center for the first down. Reed Blankenship nearly had a pick on a deep Howell pass but got credited for the PBU instead. On 3rd-and-4, Howell escaped a sack from Fletcher Cox only to get taken down by Morrow (!) again. Morrow’s been pretty awesome for a player who spent the first game on the practice squad.
Nick Morrow is the first Eagles off-ball LB with two sacks in a game since Michael Kendricks against the Bears in that 54-11 game in 2013.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) October 1, 2023
- Gainwell started the drive with a big run through good blocking. Hurts made a really nice first down throw to Goedert with the ball JUST beyond the outstretched arm of tight coverage by a Commanders defender. Also a very good catch. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-5 at the Commanders’ 31-yard line and Hurts aired it out to Brown, who at first appeared to make an awesome sideline catch but it was ruled incomplete. No matter with the Commanders committing holding to give the Eagles a first down. Balanced officiating?! What a concept. A called QB run went for a one-yard loss to end the third quarter. Eagles really need to figure out their QB running game.
- Facing 3rd-and-11 from the Commanders 16-yard line, the Eagles ran ... a run to Gainwell ... who FUMBLED ... and was lucky to have Lane Johnson be able to recover that ball. What the hell was that call with a chance to go up two scores? Throw the ball! Elliott made the 36-yard field goal. EAGLES 24, COMMANDERS 17.
- The Commanders got to 3rd-and-3 ... and converted with a short Howell pass on the run to Gibson. Pressure got near Howell but couldn’t get to him. Edmunds missed a chance to sack Howell to instead allow a short run. The Commanders got to 3rd-and-4 yet again (so many 3rd-and-4s) ... and Howell escaped nearby pressure again to pick up the first down out of bounds. Plus 15 more yards with a late hit by Edmunds. The Commanders tried to sneak it on 3rd-and-1 but got hit with an illegal formation penalty (not false start) to make it 3rd-and-6. Sirianni could’ve declined it to make it 4th-and-2 but did not do that. On third down, Curtis Samuel was wide open underneath for a short completion and first down. Robinson broke through the Eagles’ run defense — with Blankenship not being able to make a tackle (rare sight) — for a touchdown. Tie game. The Football Gods justifiably punished the Eagles for that pathetic Gainwell run on 3rd-and-11. EAGLES 24, COMMANDERS 24.
- Hurts avoided an unblocked rusher and took off running for a 24-yard gain. Turned a potential loss into a big gain, huge play. Mailata false started to knock the Eagles back to 2nd-and-14. Facing 3rd-and-14, Hurts nearly got picked by Emmanuel Forbes but Brown helped play defensive back to break it up. Very risky YOLO ball.
- Good 47-punt by Mann (!) with lots of hang time pinned the Commanders at their own 7-yard line with 6:28 on the clock. Weird that the Commanders weren’t penalized for their returner calling a fair catch and then actually returning the ball. Howell’s deep shot to Byron Pringle was covered well by Slay to bring up 3rd-and-7. Needing a stop, the Eagles allowed Howell to run for 21 yards up the middle. Haason Reddick picked up his first sack of the season to put the Commanders at 3rd-and-17. Then Andrew Wylie false started to make it 3rd-and-22. Howell ran out of bounds for five yards to bring up a punt. Much-needed stop.
- Covey took a return 20 yards to give the Eagles the ball at their own 43 with 3:20 on the clock. Covey continues to make good things happen. Hurts ran for two yards and then threw behind Olamide Zaccheaus, who still could’ve caught the ball, to bring up 3rd-and-8. The Eagles used their first timeout to discuss a crucial third down play. On third down, Hurts accurately hit OZ over the middle this time to move the chains and bring the game to the two-minute warning. Hurts to Brown, another first down at the opponent’s 34. A six-yard carry by Swift prompted the Commanders to take their second timeout. Hurts then aired it out to, who else, an open Brown in the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN. Brown was flagged for taunting. EAGLES 31, COMMANDERS 24.
Washington is playing downhill hard and the Eagles dial up a double move to Brown. Great check into this play by Hurts, good job blocking by the OL and the Eagles take the lead. pic.twitter.com/j4kTzEVhIQ— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) October 1, 2023
- Brown’s taunting penalty set the Commanders up with a chance to return Elliott’s kickoff. The Commanders took over at their 36-yard line with 1:36 on the clock and one timeout to work with. Washington picked up a quick first down by then Morrow sacked Howell for a THIRD TIME to force the Commanders to take their final timeout with 1:09 remaining. The Commanders got to 4th-and-2 and converted to get to the Eagles’ 29-yard line with 0:35 left. The Commanders got to 1st-and-goal at the 10-yard line with 0:05 on the clock. Sirianni called a timeout to get a look at how the Commanders wanted to line up on a final play. Howell’s pass to Samuel short of the goal line was ... incomplete. But game not over with 0:01 on the clock. On the final play, Howell hit Dotson for a touchdown. Wow. The Commanders opted for the extra point for overtime instead of going for two. EAGLES 31, COMMANDERS 31.
- The Commanders won the OT coin toss and elected to receive, obviously. The Commanders were three-and-out after a Howell pass to McLaurin along the left sideline was caught ... but ruled incomplete. The play went under review ... and the ruling stood as called. It was out ... but it was close.
- The Eagles took over at their own 41-yard line after a bad 29-yard punt from Washington. Hurts to Brown went for seven yards. Hurts aired it out deep to Brown and overthrew him by a lot. Facing 3rd-and-3, Hurts’ quick throw to DeVonta only brought up 4th-and-1. The Brotherly Shove worked for the first down. A Hurts dump off to Swift went for a catch-and-run first down. Hurts got called for intentional grounding on a deep throw to no one to knock the Eagles back to 3rd-and-17 from the Commanders’ 45-yard line. Bad. Hurts to DeVonta gained nine yards to set up a 54-yard field goal attempt. And the kick was ... good. Phew. Where would the Eagles be with Jake Elliott? EAGLES 34, COMMANDERS 31.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES LOSE, 34 to 31
EAGLES INJURY NEWS
- Sua Opeta began the second half at right guard in place of Cam Jurgens. Jurgens was ruled questionable to return with a foot injury. He was later ruled OUT.
- Darius Slay went down after making a tackle late in the third quarter. He missed a play before returning.