The Washington Redskins found comfort in their return to NFC East play Sunday. They ran into a team with struggles even more pronounced than theirs and took full advantage, beating the Philadelphia Eagles with ease, 31-6, as quarterback Robert Griffin III threw four touchdown passes in a nearly flawless outing at FedEx Field.
Griffin had touchdown passes of six yards to fullback Darrel Young, 49 yards to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, 61 yards to wideout Santana Moss and 17 yards to tight end Logan Paulsen as part of his 14-for-15, 200-yard passing day. It was the first four-touchdown passing game in the NFL for Griffin, who didn’t throw an interception. He had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and also rushed for 84 yards.
“Well, except for that one incompletion,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said, “I thought he was okay.”
The Redskins, coming off their bye week, ended their losing streak at three games and improved their record to 4-6. In the oh-so-forgiving NFC East, that’s good enough to be two games behind the idle New York Giants and a game behind the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins play a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas.
“I told them to enjoy their win for a short time, 12 [or] 14 hours, and get ready to go,” Shanahan said.
It was the Redskins’ largest margin of victory under their third-year coach. Their most lopsided win under Shanahan previously had been 14 points.
After a bye week that began with the commotion of Shanahan saying he wasn’t giving up on the season, clarifying the comments that he made after a loss to the Carolina Panthers, Redskins players said all that matters now is the on-field result.
“We just want to play,” Young said. “We don’t care what people say. Now they’re going to talk probably about how good Robert played and all that. We’ve got a game Thursday. . . . It’s all good. We can still be the underdogs. That’s what we always were.”
The last-place Eagles (3-7) extended the longest losing streak of Coach Andy Reid’s tenure to six games. Nick Foles, Philadelphia’s rookie starter at quarterback, threw a pair of early interceptions and led the Eagles to only a pair of field goals.
Tailback LeSean McCoy lost a fumble in the final seconds of the first half to set up a Redskins field goal.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall and safety Brandon Meriweather had the Redskins’ interceptions, but Meriweather, playing his first game this season, also suffered what the team called a sprained right knee.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon returned to the Redskins’ lineup after missing four games because of an ailing right foot. He was mostly a non-factor, with three catches for five yards.
Tailback Alfred Morris ran for 76 yards for the Redskins.
“We’ve got to play no matter what’s said,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “Everybody’s got a mouth and a voice, so everybody is going to talk. But you really can’t pay that much attention to it. We just know we’ve got to win. Time’s running out.”
Sunday’s contest began a stretch of three straight games against NFC East foes, which has given the Redskins hope of reassembling their season.
They had lost their last eight games against rookie starting quarterbacks, dating from 2006. But Foles, making his first NFL start because first-stringer Michael Vick sustained a concussion a week earlier in a loss to the Cowboys, gave the Redskins plenty of help by throwing interceptions on the first two possessions.
Hall’s interception set up Griffin’s touchdown pass to Young. Meriweather’s interception spoiled a drive that had reached Redskins’ territory.
The Eagles drew to 7-3 in the opening minute of the second quarter on a 41-yard field goal by place kicker Alex Henery. But the Redskins had a swift reply on their next drive when, on a first-down play from the Eagles 49-yard line, Griffin faked a handoff to Morris, then faked an end-around to wideout Brandon Banks. Robinson was wide open behind the Philadelphia secondary, and Griffin lobbed a pass that Robinson hauled in for the touchdown.
McCoy’s fumble in the final minute of the first half set up a 25-yard field goal by kicker Kai Forbath and fave Washington a 17-3 lead. Henery had a third-quarter field goal for the Eagles. But the Redskins steadied themselves when Griffin launched a long throw into double coverage that Moss grabbed for a touchdown after outmaneuvering cornerback Brandon Boykin and safety Kurt Coleman.
“It was, ‘Oh, no’ [and then], ‘Oh, yes.’ . . . It was a great play at a very needed time,” Shanahan said.
Griffin finished his big day with a dart of a touchdown throw to Paulsen. “I’m extremely excited about how hard they played,” Shanahan said. “Obviously not a perfect game. None of them are. But I like what I saw.”
More Redskins and NFL coverage:
Game summary: Redskins 31, Eagles 6
The Takeaway: Griffin is the difference maker
Thomas Boswell: It helps if the competition is bad