The Washington Football Team is the 2020 NFC East Champions. No one outside of Ashburn or the imagination of the fanbase thought this would happen. This is an accomplishment that should celebrated. And while the narrative outside of the Washington fanbase was the tank, no tank issues in Philadelphia and the coronation of Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, Washington has had a great season. Let’s look back one final time at the division clinching win.
- Kamren Curl- Chase Young is the defensive rookie of the year by far. And the person that should be second on that list for that award is Kamren Curl. Curl added another interception in the first quarter to bring his season total to 3. Curl finished the regular season with 88 total tackles (63 solo) after starting the season in a nickel safety role then taking over for Landon Collins. Curl should be the entrenched starter next season and Collins should be moved to linebacker.
- Montez Sweat- Chase Young may get a lot of the headlines, but his running partner Montez Sweat is having a masterful season. Sweat added another sack to bring his season total to nine and three more QB hits to make 20 on the season. Sweat is thriving and playing well for Washington.
- 1st Drive Score- For the first time all season the Washington offense scored on their first drive. And not only was it a touchdown drive but it was an eight minute, 15 play drive that led to a touchdown. Alex Smith was accurate with the football, play calling was good, 3rd downs were converted, and finished off with a touchdown to Terry McLaurin. That is what we have been waiting for all season.
- Alex Smith’s Mobility- Now let me get this out the way, Smith has been amazing for this team. Smith is a big reason that Washington is division champs. Smith is not 100% at the moment and it is starting to be a detriment to the team. Smith in the first half was good with two touchdown passes and efficient moving the offense. In the second half the Eagles just pressured Smith up the middle and he could not move. Coach Rivera said he was thinking about taking Smith out and the Bucs will do the same thing until Smith can beat it.
- Running Quarterbacks- The defense did a good job in the passing game yesterday. Philadelphia’s quarterbacks were a combined 13 for 33 for 98 yards and two interceptions. Jalen Hurts scored both touchdowns yesterday by using his legs which has been a problem for the defense. In the second half Jack Del Rio made adjustments to make Hurts a pure thrower and it worked. This will not be an issue this week.
- Penalties- Part of the reason the Eagles got back into the game yesterday was the defense and their silly penalties. On the Eagles first touchdown drive, which was 10 plays, there were three drive extending penalties, two of those on third down when they could have gotten off the field. You can’t have those this week in the playoffs and that must be cleaned up.
- Tank?- Whatever was going on in the Philadelphia organization didn’t make sense to me. Jalen Hurts had the Eagles competitive and in the game but that changed when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson put in Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld, the 2016 Washington draft pick, turned the ball over on his first two drives and never put the Eagles offense in a threatening position. Pederson said he wanted to play Sudfeld before the game, and he did, however a lot of outside people were not happy. However that is an Eagles situation and hopefully for them they had a plan.
- Second Half- The Washington defense played well in the second half but that was some pretty not appealing football. The game became sloppy and became a microcosm of the season for the NFC East as a whole. The defense pitching a shutout in the second half of a second straight game is impressive and shouldn’t be understated.
- ‘Tompa” Bay- Washington last earned a playoff game in 2015 ,and in that game they faced Aaron Rodgers who defeated them 35-18 at FedEx Field. This year Washington gets the winningest quarterback in NFL playoff history with Tom Brady and the Bucs at home. Most people will be picking Brady and company, however with Coach Rivera this team fights hard. Stranger things have happened.