The Philadelphia Eagles were threatening late in Washington Redskins’ territory, but Trent Murphy came through with the game-sealing fumble recovery to give D.C. a critical NFC East victory.
The Redskins trailed for much of Sunday’s contest against their divisional rivals, but the team showed it’s true colors down the stretch, delivering clutch plays in an exciting battle that went right down to the wire. Washington was clinging to a five-point lead on its own 14-yard line with 21 seconds to go, when Ryan Kerrigan strip sacked rookie Carson Wentz, and Trent scooped up the loose ball to seal a 27-22 victory.
“It helps that we’ve had a couple [close finishes], that they know how to react and how to respond,” head coach Jay Gruden said of the final 15 minutes of play. “It’s just guys stepping up and making plays and not blinking. It was great. It was a great game.”
Trent and the Redskins D held the Eagles to three points in the first quarter—the only score of the opening 15 minutes. Philly added to their early lead in the second quarter with another Caleb Sturgis kick, before the Redskins offense rallied for their first touchdown of the day—on a 10-play, 69- yard drive capped by a Robert Kelley rushing score. Wentz and the Eagles were able to respond with just 28 seconds remaining in the half with their first touchdown of the day, a 4-yard pass from the rookie QB to running back Darren Sproles. The halftime score saw the Redskins trailing 13-7.
Washington came out firing after the break, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter. Trent and the defensive front continued to apply stifling pressure to Wentz, who was sacked four times and hit on ten different plays. Kirk Cousins turned it on in the third, connecting with DeSean Jackson for an 80-yard TD strike, and later to Pierre Garcon for a 15-yard scoring throw. As time expired in the third quarter, the Redskins had taken a 21-13 lead.
Philly showed resilience in the final quarter, scoring a touchdown less than two minutes into the frame—this time Cousins was intercepted by Leodis McKelvin, who returned the pick 29 yards to cut the lead to two. With 4:11 remaining in the fourth, Wentz led another drive that resulted in a field goal, allowing the Eagles to take a late 22-21 lead. On the ensuing possession, Cousins and the offense delivered in the clutch, scoring the game-winning touchdown on eight plays for 77 yards, capped by a 25-yard rushing score from Chris Thompson. Trent, who recorded two tackles and two QB hits on the day as well as a tackle for loss, fell on the game-winning fumble forced by teammate Ryan Kerrigan to seal the deal.
“Pleased with the pass rush and the way they got home,” Cousins said. “You hate to put it in the defense’s hands, we’ve probably done that too many times this year, we’d like to finish games on offense. But the Defense stepped up and it was awesome to see.”
With the win, the Redskins improved to 7-5-1. If the season ended today, they would be in the seventh spot behind Tampa Bay—but if Washington wins out, it’s hard not to like their chances to make the field.
“It’s great because our heart’s still beating and we’re still rolling,” Gruden said. “We’ve got Carolina who’s an excellent football team with reigning MVP Cam Newton coming to town. That gives us all something to be excited about. But we still have a lot of work to do, without a doubt. I think everyone trusts one another in this locker room. They play for each other, which is fun to watch, but we still have a lot of improving to do.”
D.C. hosts Cam Newton and the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers next Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.