Best and worst moments from Washington’s 27-20 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Best Summary: Wooooooo baby. That was sort of exciting at the end there, huh????!!!!!! “You’ve got to get used to winning those tight games,” Mike Shanahan said after it was finally over. “I think that’s where our football team is right now. They expect to win. That’s where you feel really good about the character of your guys.”
Best Three-Man Rush: The Eagles decided to mount an amazingly slow-developing yet effective final drive, setting up a 1st-and-goal in the final 15 seconds. On 2nd-and-goal, Stephen Bowen — torn biceps and all — managed to pressure Nick Foles into an intentional grounding penalty that ended the game. And….exhale. And/or vomit.
Worst Execution: That said, the Eagles’ final few plays weren’t exactly Super Bowl stuff. Foles missed a wide-open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone. Evan Moore dropped a strike that likely would have been a score. And Foles could have easily gotten rid of the ball before Bowen wrapped him up on the final play. Lot of possible nightmares saved by the Eagles being the Eagles.
Best Play: Robert Griffin III’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss could not have been more gorgeously delivered to a more perfect spot. Moss’s catch-and-foot-drag could not have been executed more perfectly. Everything about it was perfect.
Worst Conventional Wisdom: The conventional wisdom entering this game was that if the Redskins gave the Eagles a few shots in the mouth, and took a big second-half lead, the beaten Eagles would give up and go away quietly. The conventional wisdom seems to have been incorrect.
Best Game: Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks and a forced fumble, and a third pseudo-sack when he pushed back his lineman into Nick Foles’s feet. He also seemed to be in the backfield about every other play, giving Foles a major case of happy feet. Well, sad feet, more likely.
Best Audio: Chris Cooley caught his first pass of the season in the fourth quarter. It only gained eight yards, but it went for a first down. Even better, it brought on a huge roar of “Coooooooooley” from the fans, even though the game was on the road. Cooley didn’t seem particularly pleased, but that must have felt good.
Best Quote: “I’m in love with Alfred Morris,” Fox’s Brian Billick said late in the game. Get in line, dude. The rookie runner ran 22 times for 91 well-earned yards, his fifth straight game with at least 85 rushing yards. He also recorded the fifth 1400-yard rushing season in franchise history, and has a legit chance to set the team’s single-season rushing mark next week. (Morris needs 104 yards to tie Portis, and 105 to top him.)
Worst Vomiting: Don’t click on this if you don’t like vomiting shots. I’m serious. I’ve warned you. London Fletcher’s habit of vomiting before and during games is well-documented. Fox decided to show the man at work, with a pleasant Happy Holidays greeting.
Best Streak: Right tackle Tyler Polumbus was inactive due to a concussion suffered last week in Cleveland. Which made Sunday’s game the first in which the Redskins did not start their Week 1 offensive line. That’s a pretty amazing amount of consistency.
Best Emerging Star: Rob Jackson did it again, showing up all over the field yet again. On consecutive plays in the first quarter, the linebacker stopped LeSean McCoy behind the line of scrimmage and then knocked down a pass intended for Jeremy Maclin. McCoy later caused several parts of Jackson’s uniform to fall onto the field, but still.
Best Tip: London Fletcher intercepted a pass for the third straight game, giving him five on the season. But this one could have been grabbed by reasonably adept first-grader. Full credit goes to Barry Cofield, who got his finger on the ball at the line of scrimmage.
Best Tackle by a Huge Man on a Receiver: Cofield again! The nose tackle also showed terrific speed near the end of the first half, flying down the line of scrimmage to tackle Jeremy Maclin on a wide receiver screen. His belly was jiggling, but he was moving faster than most men 100 pounds lighter.
Worst First Drive: The Redskins allowed the terrible Eagles to drive 76 yards for a touchdown the first time they touched the ball, converting two fourth-and-short attempts along the way. You’ll recall that Philadelphia only scored six points the last time these teams played; this time, they had seven points before Washington touched the ball.
Best First Drive: Washington’s first drive of the second half was the kind of post-halftime drives that good teams mount. It lasted just five plays, and every play worked: 29-yard pass to Garcon, nine- and 3-yard runs from Morris, 21-yard pass to Paul,10-yard run from Morris. Everything looked easy.
Best Hole: And nothing on that drive looked easier than Alfred Morris’s touchdown run. Four Redskins running backs could have held hands and skipped merrily through the hole opened up by Washington’s offensive line on that play. Did not seem fair.
Weirdest Decision: Not sure if this is a best or a worst, but DeAngelo Hall seemed to want Jeremy Maclin to get up after the receiver caught a 38-yard pass early in the second half. Maclin — untouched — indeed got up, and Hall then tackled him perhaps a yard further than where Maclin had landed. I didn’t get it.
Worst Challenge: While I understand the desire to reverse a disastrous lateraled “pass” that loses 17 yards and puts you in the shadow of your goalposts, replays quickly confirmed that Robert Griffin III had, in fact, thrown that weird third-quarter “pass” thing backwards. Didn’t get that challenge at all. Timeouts matter in this league. They should not be frittered away with such regularity.
Best Turnover: The momentum was all with the terrible team for most of the first quarter. But the Eagles turn the ball over, and the Redskins force turnovers, so a reversal was probably inevitable. It came on the final play of the quarter, when Ryan Kerrigan chased down Nick Foles from behind, knocking the ball out. It bounced directly into the arms of Richard Crawford. That was Philly’s 22nd lost fumble of the season.
Worst First Run: RGIII’s first running attempted netted five yards and ended with him out-of-bounds and untouched by the Eagles. Those were good things. But he looked kind of gimpy and uncomfortable getting there, with few hints of his normal electricity. Those were bad things. Griffin carried the ball just one more time.
Best Forbath: Kai Forbath still hasn’t missed a field goal. And his successful kicks include field goals from 50, 45, 43, 45, 48, 47, 48, 48, 49, 44, 45 and 42 yards. And he set an NFL record for the most made field goals without a miss to start a career. He has to be among the 10 most important members of the team.
Worst Throwaway: The Fox announcers suggested that RGIII was just throwing the ball away in the second quarter, when he flung the ball side-armed toward the middle of the field as he was heading out-of-bounds. If he was throwing it away, I suggest he could have done a better job of it. Throw the ball away out of bounds, not in between a crowd of Eagles.
Best First Run: Joshua Morgan’s seven-yard run in the second quarter won’t leave much of a mark on the final season stats. But considering Morgan needed to hurdle a defender to avoid losing a bunch of yards, and then escaped about half of the Philly defense, helping Washington get into field-goal range, it seemed like a pretty crucial play.
Best News Having Nothing to Do With This Game: “Jason Garrett will return as Dallas Cowboys coach.” This is only according to a Jay Glazer report thus far, but if true, Redskins fans everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief.
Worst Camera Angle: If every scoring play is going to be reviewed, and if some of them might have a massive impact on the outcome of football games, seems like it’d make sense to have cameras pointing straight down the goal line at every NFL stadium. Due to an angled shot, there was no way for officials to tell if Joshua Morgan had gotten the football across the line before his knee hit the ground in the second quarter. That likely had no affect on the score in this game — it would have been 1st-and-goal from the half-yard line — but someday, somewhere, it could.
Best Other Stuff: The Redskins will finish with a winning record. They romped through their second-half schedule. They swept the Eagles. They’ve won four straight within the NFC East. And they will play their arch rival in the final week of the season with a chance to clinch a home playoff game. Fun stuff. Which is supposed to be the point.