This was a wild one.
This game script started all too similar to the Week 4 matchup between these two teams.
After shutting down the Miami Dolphins’ top-ranked offense last Sunday, the Eagles failed to slow down a Washington offense that managed to produce one measly touchdown against the New York Giants in Week 7. The Commanders scored touchdowns on their second and third drives to take a 14 to 3 lead, which is the same score that Philly trailed by to the same team earlier this month.
The Eagles were in position for their first touchdown before Kenny Gainwell, who was inexplicably in the game, fumbled the ball away. The Eagles made up for it on their next drive with A.J. Brown being awesome and making an incredible touchdown catch. But then Washington got some momentum back with a 61-yard field goal right before the half.
The Birds had a chance to tie it up with their first drive of third quarter. But a Brotherly Shove from the 1-yard line somehow resulted in Hurts fumbling the snap for a Washington recovery. It seemed at that point that this just wasn’t the Eagles’ day.
But Philly persevered. A Reed Blankenship interception set up an Eagles lead. Later on, a Haason Reddick sack on fourth down set up Philly’s offense to make it a two-score affair. The Eagles’ leaky defense gave up a touchdown that gave the Commanders an onside kick chance at the end of the game ... but DeVonta Smith was able to recover.
This was more of a battle than it should have been. The defense made Sam Howell look way too good. The offense turned the ball over twice in goal-to-go territory.
Ultimately, though, the Eagles found a way to get it done and that’s what matters most.
Next up is ... a Week 9 home game against the Cowboys. It’s Dallas Week.
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. Sam Howell went right to Curtis Samuel, who was lined up against Sydney Brown in the slot, for a seven-yard gain on a quick throw. Brown later exploded in the backfield to tackle Brian Robinson for a loss to bring up third down. On 3rd-and-2, the Eagles pressured Howell into an incompletion but Eli Ricks got flagged for pass interference. Brown made another good tackle for loss on a jet sweep to bring up third down. On 3rd-and-5, Ricks tackled Samuel for a loss on a bubble screen. Redemption! Really nice stuff from the rookie DBs.
- The Eagles took over at their own 8-yard line with Britain Covey forced to fair catch a Tress Way punt. Philly’s first play was a D’Andre Swift carry for three. Jalen Hurts dumped off to Boston Scott to bring up third down. On 3rd-and-3, Dallas Goedert dropped a would-be first down right at the marker. Seemed like the throw was a tad behind when it could have led the tight end a bit more. Three-and-out.
- Braden Mann booted a 58-yard punt that got returned 11 yards for a net 47. The Commanders got flagged for an ineligible man downfield ... and then the penalty was picked up without any explanation after it was announced? Uh, OK? Then Robinson broke off a big run and then Terry McLaurin beat James Bradberry on a double move for a Commanders touchdown. Really cool stuff! EAGLES 0, COMMANDERS 7.
Bradberry peaking the curl/slant the whole way lmfao https://t.co/hs9ApovDYn— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 29, 2023
That Brian Robinson 29-yard run was the longest against the Eagles this season. Only the second RB carry of 20+, fifth of 15+.— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) October 29, 2023
James Bradberry beat deep more in the last two weeks than he was in all of 2022.
- Hurts overthrew D’Andre Swift along the right sideline down the field to bring up third down. On 3rd-and-7, Hurts took off running left for a first down. Good to see him be able to use his mobility. Hurts to DeVonta Smith on the bubble screen with Goedert lead blocking resulted in another first. Hurts to Brown on the RPO throw, another first down. Hurts overthrew a covered Olamide Zaccheaus deep in the end zone. The Eagles burned their first timeout to talk something over. Hurts underthrew an open Goedert to where the tight end had to try to make a one-handed catch for a short gain and it ended up not being fully caught anyway. On 3rd-and-10 at the Commanders’ 35-yard line, a bubble screen to Swift only picked up two yards. DeVonta got beat on his block and Swift couldn’t break the tackle. Maybe consider throwing closer to the marker on third-and-long? Perhaps even beyond it? Jake Elliott came in to make the 51-yard field goal. Good thing he’s good. EAGLES 3, COMMANDERS 7.
Jake Elliott is 5/6 on FGs from 50+ this season in Week 8. He finished last season 5/6 from 50+.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) October 29, 2023
- Jalen Carter’s pressure up the middle prevented Howell from completing a deep pass to a wide open Byron Pringle with Darius Slay trailing far behind. Phew.
- Facing 3rd-and-4, Howell quickly hit Logan Thomas on a slant to beat new Eagle Kevin Byard for a first down. Thomas getting called for an illegal low block (bad call in the Eagles’ favor) set Washington back to 1st-and-25 outside of the red zone. No matter: two plays later, Howell hit Jahan Dotson wide open up the middle for a touchdown. Sydney Brown thought he had safety help that he did not actually have as he allowed the receiver to run right by him. EAGLES 3, COMMANDERS 14.
Eagles defense shuts down the Dolphins only to get torched by the Commanders offense that could only manage one TD (aided by a muffed punt) against the Giants last week.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 29, 2023
- Facing 3rd-and-4, Hurts found an open A.J. Brown for a first down. Nice route, nice throw. A carry for Gainwell resulted in no gain. Too often just a wasted play when No. 14 gets to touch the ball. Hurts found Brown for another conversion. Then he got sacked with Sua Opeta getting beat by Daron Payne. A short pass to Gainwell brought up third down with the running back unable to break any tackles. On 3rd-and-11, Hurts hit — who else — an open Brown to bring up goal-to-go at the 3-yard line. On first down, Gainwell looked like he was about to get tackled for no gain ... and he fumbled for a Commanders recovery. HOLY SHIT. STOP USING KENNY GAINWELL AT ALL HONESTLY BUT ESPECIALLY IN HIGH LEVERAGE SITUATIONS. HOW HAS THE COACHING STAFF NOT CAUGHT ON TO THIS BY NOW?! Pathetic.
- The Commanders went 53 yards in seven plays to get to 3rd-and-6 a little past midfield at the two-minute warning. Ricks put a big hit on Thomas with Bradberry and Dean rallying to prevent the tight end from getting a first down. Facing 4th-and-1, Ron Rivera decided to go for it. Howell’s fourth down throw resulted in a Bradberry dropped interception for a turnover on downs.
- Sua Opeta got banged up, prompting third-string rookie right guard Tyler Steen to come in. Facing 3rd-and-2, Hurts completed three straight passes to Gainwell with the second being a first down. Hurts with a strike to DeVonta put the Eagles in field goal range. Another strike to DeVonta over the middle put the Eagles just outside goal-to-go. Hurts threw into the end zone and Brown made a SPECTACULAR catch to the grab the ball with one hand before securing it for the score. Wow! There’s life. EAGLES 10, COMMANDERS 14.
- The Commanders took over at their own 25-yard line with 0:34 on the clock and three timeouts to work with. The Commanders drove 32 yards in four plays to set up a Joey Slye field goal from 56 yards out. A false start knocked the kick back to 61 yards away. And he made the career-long attempt anyway, because of course he did. You really would’ve liked to see the defense be able to close out the first half stronger than that. EAGLES 10, COMMANDERS 17.
WFT with a ridiculously high 0.36 EPA/dropback and 63% success rate on their 27 first half dropbacks. They're averaging -.07 (23rd) and 42% (28th) for the season... #Eagles defense has to wake up.— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) October 29, 2023
3 touches for D'Andre Swift to 6 for Kenny Gainwell in that first half.— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) October 29, 2023
- The Eagles began the second half by riding Swift with a Gainwell dumpoff that went for 17 yards mixed in. Facing 3rd-and-3 in field goal range, a Swift carry brought up 4th-and-2. Nick Sirianni decided to go for it. On 4th-and-2, Hurts went for it all by targeting Brown downfield and Benjamin St-Juste got called for two penalties on the same play. The Eagles went Brotherly Shove from the 1-yard line ... and it was a Hurts fumble recovered by Washington. Lol. Just not the Eagles’ day, man.
- Backed up against their own end zone, Howell was able to complete a pass to an open Dotson to give the Commanders a first down. Haason Reddick forced Howell into an intentional grounding to knock Washington back to 2nd-and-20. Facing 3rd-and-12, Fletcher Cox tackled Thomas from behind on a tight end screen to force a punt. Good stop.
- Strong punt return by Britain Covey picked up 25 yards. Could’ve been more if Covey wasn’t accidentally hit by Nolan Smith in some friendly fire. The Eagles took over at their own 49-yard line. Facing 3rd-and-6, a bubble screen to DeVonta went for just two yards. Still throwing way behind the marker. Facing 4th-and-4, Hurts completed a pass to a diving DeVonta and the Commanders sideline signaled incomplete. The Eagles hurried up to get a snap off ... and it worked to prevent a challenge that very likely would’ve overturned the on-field ruling. Fortunate. Facing 3rd-and-7, Hurts found Brown just shy of the bottom left corner of the end zone and the receiver made a leaping contested catch for another score. HE’S UNSTOPPABLE. EAGLES 17, COMMANDERS 17.
- Facing 3rd-and-6, a quick Howell pass over the middle turned into a first down. Howell went right after Nakobe Dean’s guy again for another first down.
- The Commanders began the fourth quarter with 1st-and-10 at the Eagles’ 39-yard line. Washington drove into the red zone. Sydney Brown nearly gave up a touchdown to McLaurin on a slot fade but the ball was a little too far out in front. Facing 3rd-and-4, Howell took off running to set up goal-to-go. Cox got his hand up to deflect a Howell pass to bring up third down. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Howell hit Thomas in the end zone for the touchdown. 13-play, 68-yard TD drive. EAGLES 17, COMMANDERS 24.
- Opeta false started to knock the Eagles back to 2nd-and-14. Hurts connecting with Brown made NFL history with the receiver becoming the first player since the merger to go six straight games with at least 125 receiving yards. A coverage bust from Washington resulted in DeVonta Smith being WIDE OPEN down the field for an Eagles score. EAGLES 24, COMMANDERS 24.
- The Eagles really needed a defensive stop. An illegal man downfield penalty (not picked up this time) set the Commanders back to 2nd-and-15. Howell’s pass was picked off by Reed Blankenship! With the throw going a little high and through his target’s hands. The Commanders also got called for a personal foul after the pick.
- The Eagles took over at first-and-goal from the 7-yard line. A carry for Swift went for no gain. Then Hurts threw to JULIO JONES, who made the contested catch in the end zone for a touchdown! Great grab. EAGLES 31, COMMANDERS 24.
- Facing 3rd-and-8 from the Eagles’ 40-yard line, Howell’s pass to McLaurin was low and not caught. Rare mistake from a great player, should’ve been a completion into field goal range. Rivera took a timeout and decided to go for it. Facing 4th-and-8, Howell’s pass ... was unnecessarily low and bounced off McLaurin again! Turnover on downs! Eagles got fortunate there.
- The Eagles took over at their own 40-yard line with 4:13 on the clock. A run to Swift picked up one yard. Hurts to Goedert was broken up with the tight end getting tackled at the catch point. Facing 3rd-and-9, Hurts merely threw the ball out of bounds. Sack is better there in terms of running clock. Missed opportunity by the offense to end the game on their terms and bail out the defense.
- The Commanders took over at their own 20-yard line with 3:09 left. Syndey Brown put a BIG hit on McLaurin after a short catch to bring up third down. Facing 3rd-and-5, the Commanders converted at the marker and Darius Slay got hurt while making the tackle. The refs then ruled it incomplete, forcing the Commanders to challenge. The ruling on the field was upheld, leaving Washington with just one timeout. Facing 4th-and-5, Haason Reddick — THE CLOSER — got to Howell to force a strip-sack that was recovered by Washington for a turnover on downs.
- The Eagles took over at the enemy’s 16-yard line with 2:13 left. Swift ran with authority and steamrolled a defender to get down to the two-minute warning. Another Swift run forced Washington to take their final timeout with 1:53 left. Facing 3rd-and-2, the Eagles lined up to go for the Brotherly Love and turned it into a Swift sweep run for a touchdown! Boom. EAGLES 38, COMMANDERS 24.
- The Commanders did not give up. They used four plays to drive 72 yards in 49 seconds to make it a one-score game again with Howell hitting Jamison Crowder for the touchdown. EAGLES 38, COMMANDERS 31.
- The Commanders lined up for an onside kick and the Eagles took a timeout to look at Washington’s formation. The Commanders kicked it and ... DeVonta Smith made the clutch grab on a bouncing ball to allow the Birds to run out the clock. Phew.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES WIN, 38 to 31
EAGLES LINEUP NOTES
- Jordan Davis started the game despite being ruled questionable to play.
- Kevin Byard and Reed Blankenship started at safety with Sydney Brown (!) starting at nickel cornerback.
- Nakobe Dean and Zach Cunningham started at linebacker. Nicholas Morrow and Cunningham were the linebackers on the second drive. Continued LB rotation.
EAGLES INJURY NEWS
- Jalen Carter visited the injury talent after the Commanders’ first drive. He stayed in the game. Carter then left the field late during the third quarter. He was ruled questionable to return with a back injury.
- Milton Williams left for the locker room during the first quarter. He was ruled questionable to return with a shoulder injury. He returned to the game.
- Grant Calcaterra left for the locker room towards the end of the first quarter. He was evaluated for a concussion. He was downgraded to out.
- Sua Opeta got banged up late in the second quarter. He returned to start the second half.
- Jalen Hurts was limping at various points in this game.
- Darius Slay got banged up late in the fourth quarter.