It was not pretty. There may or may not have been a on purpose tank by the Philadelphia Eagles. Alex Smith did not look mobile at all and the defense struggled at times containing Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. But the most important stat is that Washington won an NFL football game and won the NFC East Division on Sunday Night.
The story for Washington Football fans is in year one of the Ron Rivera regime and culture change, the team exceeded expectations. This team was 3-13 last season won four more games this season. After being swept in the division last season, this team goes 4-2 against the NFC East. This defense has progressed and has an identity and mindset. The offense is more sound and less erratic. This is everything that you would want for a rebuild.
For the first time all season the offense scored on their opening drive with Alex Smith connecting with Terry McLaurin for a 5 yard touchdown. That drive was 15 plays, went 91 yards, and took 8 minutes and 13 seconds off the clock. That was the best drive this team has had in weeks and looked like Washington would have a dominant victory.
After a Jalen Hurts interception Washington kicked a field goal to go up 10-0. After that the team started committing penalties that allowed the Eagles to score and take the lead. Hurts’ legs were the main factor has he scored two touchdowns on the ground. But the defense got a quick 3 and out and Alex Smith a two minute drill drive down the field and connected with Logan Thomas for a touchdown. That gave Washington the 17-14 halftime lead, and settled the team or game down.
The second half was ugly with turnovers on both sides as the game got sloppy. Alex Smith looked immobile and threw an interception in the 3rd and in the 4th quarter. The Eagles used the first interception late in the third quarter to get all the way to the two yard line, however instead of kicking the game tying field goal the Eagles went for it on 4th down and didn’t get it. After that drive the Eagles inexplicably benched Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld. While Hurts wasn’t lighting up the stat sheet, he had the Eagles threatening the entire game. Sudfeld had turnovers on his first two drives which effectively ended the game for the Eagles.
Certainly there will be questions going forward in the Saturday’s Wild Card home game against the 5 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers about Smith’s health. If he can not move in the pocket then the Bucs will just blitz all day. Also hopefully Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin can get healthier as well. But for tonight everyone should celebrate the turnaround, and the 2020 NFC East Championship. With all the controversies that 2020 brought the Washington Football Team is a playoff team and not many people thought that would happen.