A look at the good (Hail!) and bad (Fail!) from the Redskins' 28-13 loss to the Eagles on Monday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Hail: Chaos in the NFC East
Buckle up, because the final four weeks of the regular season are going to be a wild ride. The Eagles' win on Monday further muddied an already tight division race, moving Philadelphia into a tie with Washington for second place at 6-6, one game behind the Cowboys. The Eagles visit Dallas next week, while the Redskins host the Giants. Washington and Philadelphia meet again in the regular season finale, and at this rate, Washington will trot out Nathan Peterman or Todd Collins at quarterback with a trip to the playoffs on the line. Playoffs?! The Redskins have a 26 percent chance to make the postseason and a 7 percent chance to win the division, according to 538. The Eagles, the NFC East’s last repeat champion way back in 2004, improved their chances to 28 and 21 percent, respectively.
Fail: The Injury Bug
Sports are cruel sometimes. After spending four years as a backup in Washington, a season-ending injury to Alex Smith opened the door for Colt McCoy to lead the Redskins down the stretch. McCoy didn’t last two games, breaking his right fibula on a sack early in the second quarter and forcing the Redskins to turn to Mark Sanchez. ESPN shared all sorts of fun facts about Sanchez over the remainder of the game. Did you know that he joined Rodney Peete as the second player since 1970 to throw a pass for three different NFC East teams, or that his last touchdown pass was in Week 12 of the 2015 season, or that his last touchdown pass inside the two-minute warning was in Week 6 of the 2012 season? Pretty fun.
Hail: Tress Way
It was a big night for the Redskins' punter, even before he passed Sammy Baugh and moved into third place on the franchise’s career punting yards list. ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” featured a segment on “What’s Your Bid,” the trivia board game that Way developed during training camp in 2016. Way demonstrated the game for ESPN’s Michelle Beisner-Buck, with an assist from Vernon Davis, Dustin Hopkins, Nick Sundberg and Jamison Crowder. Way punted six times for 290 yards and had two of his kicks downed inside the 20. His final punt came with three minutes remaining and the Redskins trailing by two scores, a curious decision by Jay Gruden that amounted to waving the white flag. Yes, Washington was facing fourth-and-24 from its own 22-yard line with Mr. Butt Fumble under center, but this was the same stadium where Freddie Mitchell converted on fourth-and-26 in 2004. Take a shot and pray for a miracle, or a penalty. What did the Redskins have to lose? (Maybe that should have been a fail.)
Fail: Third Down
The Eagles racked up 436 total yards and 28 first downs, and they nearly doubled the Redskins in time of possession. Washington was unable to sustain drives, converting only two of its 10 third downs and managing only 36 yards after halftime. The defense made some big plays, including Zach Brown’s stop on fourth-and-goal and Josh Norman’s interception in the end zone, but the Redskins couldn’t get off the field on third down. The Eagles converted 7 of 13 third downs, as Washington’s defenders missed tackles and were a step behind all night.
Hail: Adrian Peterson’s Fourth Carry
It was a thing of beauty, and it came at an opportune time, with the Redskins backed up to their own 10-yard line and Sanchez about to take his first snap in a regular season game since 2016. Peterson took the handoff from Sanchez, found a hole on the left side and outraced everyone to the end zone for a 90-yard touchdown run. The Internet lost its mind; the Eagles fans at Lincoln Financial Field went silent. It was the longest touchdown run in Redskins history and the longest touchdown run of Peterson’s career. It also moved the 33-year-old running back into a tie with Jim Brown for fifth on the NFL’s all-time rushing touchdowns list with 106 and gave Washington a 10-7 lead.
Fail: Adrian Peterson’s Eight Other Carries
It’s difficult to fall short of 100 yards in a game in which you rush for 90 yards on one carry, but Peterson pulled it off, as he managed only eight yards on his other eight carries. If you happen to own Peterson in a fantasy league that awards a 100-yard bonus, it’s been a maddening season. Peterson has gone over 100 yards in two games this year; in four other games, including Monday, he’s finished with between 96 and 99 yards. The last time a running back had a touchdown run of at least 90 yards and failed to reach the century mark in a game was on Nov. 27, 1994, when the Eagles' Herschel Walker had three carries for 98 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown, in a 28-21 loss to the Falcons. According to NFL Research, Peterson and Walker are the only two players to, um, accomplish that feat since 1950.
The execution was lacking, but credit to Gruden for breaking out a trick play in the fourth quarter. On third-and-14 from the Washington 21-yard line, Sanchez threw a quick pass to emergency quarterback Jordan Reed in the right flat. Reed pivoted and threw a lateral pass across the field to Chris Thompson, who would’ve picked up the first down and a whole lot more if he hadn’t been tripped up by Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas.
Fail: These Redskins Don’t Go to 11
The loss, which dropped the Redskins to 5-23 on “Monday Night Football” since 1998, ensured Washington will not win at least 11 games during the regular season for the 27th consecutive year. Every other team has accomplished that at least once during that span. Yes, even the Browns.
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