Recapping the plays that keyed Washington Football Team’s 27-17 win vs. Eagles
By Jonathan Eig
The first play of the second half featured Landon Collins knifing through to drop Boston Scott for a 5-yard loss. The aggressive Collins had looked out of place early on, missing tackles and being beaten by Philly’s stand-out tight ends. But when he is flying around the field making plays, he can change momentum. This was a sign that Collins, as well as the entire defense, was starting to rev up.
Jimmy Moreland repeated the play Moreau had made at the end of the first half. Great read. Great reaction. Great hands. He broke on the ball and returned his pick to Philly’s 20. You could see Wentz’s frustration.
Peyton Barber, who I said would never make this team, pounded in the first of his two touchdowns. Barber may never have a run longer than four yards, but he looked good in short-yardage, finding ways to gain positive yardage and falling forward. That’s how he brought WFT to 17-14.
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Philly was in field goal range when a good tackle by Moreland left them with a third-and-8. Though most of the second half featured a great pass rush, this third-down play was a classic coverage sack. Wentz had nowhere to go with the ball, and pretty soon, Jonathan Allen et. al. got to him. The resulting loss of yardage was just enough to cause Jake Elliott’s long kick to fall short. It seemed as if luck was fate was finally siding with WFT.
Despite another offsides (by Matt Ioannidis) negating another interception, the pass rush was really clicking now. Replacement tackle Driscoll left the game and it began to look like Wentz was helpless against WFT’s relentless front. When Doug Pederson chose to try and convert a fourth-and-4, blitzing Jon Bostic got to him for a huge sack. It was Washington’s ball and another big momentum swing.
Third-and-8. The very play that WFT’s defense has made a habit of giving up over the past several years. The kind of play WFT’s offense could never seem to convert. A fine catch by Logan Thomas appeared to be a yard short. But then Thomas, realizing he had fallen down without being touched, scrambled to his feet and dove forward, getting the first down, and setting up…
WFT’s best one-yard run in a decade. Ron Rivera, a short FG away from taking a lead, decided to go for it on 4th down. Antonio Gibson ran right and seemed bottled up. But he juked and powered his way to the first down marker and got the ball just far enough. First down in the red zone. A huge gamble pays off when…
Peyton Barber again. Great blocks from Morgan Moses and Logan Thomas, and WFT has the lead!
I admit I was still worried. Then Pederson tried to convert a fourth-and-3 in his own territory – a bit of a panic move if you ask me – and Zach Ertz dropped the ball. That’s right, Philly’s star tight end, who had destroyed WFT too many times to count, dropped the first down. WFT’s ball. And for all intents and purposes, ball game.
Now down 10, Philly was desperate. And they were helpless in the face of WFT’s ruthless pass rushers. Ioannidis put on the early pressure. Young and Daron Payne combined on the strip sack. Ryan Kerrigan recovered. And then Kerrigan did something that finally proved this was no longer a team that would break your heart with stupidity.
Kerrigan thought about lateralling to trailing Kevin Pierre-Louis. Had it worked, Pierre-Louis may have scored and it would have looked great. But you know it wouldn’t have worked. It would have been a fumble and Philly would have gotten the ball back, then scored a TD to tie, and eventually win in overtime. But Kerrigan didn’t try the lateral. He held onto the ball.
And now WFT is in first place in the NFC East.