In their second Monday Night appearance of 2018, the Redskins travelled to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the reigning Super Bowl Champion, Philadelphia Eagles. The matchup marked the first time that Washington has faced a defending champion since 2014, when the Redskins travelled to face the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
Washington put up a good fight but the injury bug was too much to overcome, and the Redskins fell 28-13. With the loss, their second straight against a division foe, Washington drops to 6-6, while the Eagles improve to a matching 6-6 record.
The Redskins’ Monday Night Football woes have been well-documented. Since 1998 they have gone just 4-22, with thirteen of those losses by double digits. Indeed, per the Washington Post: since 2008, the Redskins have lost six “Monday Night Football” games by at least 17 points, which accounts for 12 percent of all “Monday Night Football” losses by 17 or more points during that span.
Washington won the opening toss and opted to defer, allowing the Eagles offense to take over on the first opening drive. Carson Wentz led the offense down the field effortlessly, as they moved 75 yards over 12 plays resulting in a touchdown catch by newly-acquired Golden Tate to give the Eagles the 7-0 lead. The drive spanned nearly seven-and-a-half minutes, and Wentz was a perfect five-for-five through the air as Philadelphia put first quarter points on the board for the first time in six games.
On the Tate TD, rookie CB Greg Stroman slips as Tate breaks back outside, couldn't recover. pic.twitter.com/cnZt6N3ale— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 4, 2018
Both teams traded three-and-outs and the Redskins pressed into Eagles territory as the quarter elapsed, though they would settle for a 44-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins as quarter began to trim the deficit to four. Without registering any points in the first quarter, the Redskins’ scoreless streak in the first quarter has now stretched to five games, which perhaps calls into question their decision to defer the opening toss.
While the Eagles proceeded to move into Redskins’ territory, eyes were on the Washington sideline as Colt McCoy struggled to practice drop-backs due to an ankle injury and was forced to head to the locker room with the training staff. By halftime, it was announced that McCoy had fractured his right fibula, and like Alex Smith two weeks before him, has his season sadly ended prematurely.
After just two weeks on the Redskins’ roster, Mark Sanchez was called into active duty.
On the first play from scrimmage on the Redskins’ ensuing drive, Adrian Peterson made a single cut and blew through the Eagles defense and sprinted a career-long 90 yards for a go-ahead score to make it 10-7. The touchdown was the 106th of Peterson’s career, tying Jim Brown’s career mark.
Peterson TD - left side of the OL get kick outs, C Chase Roullier works up to the Mike and seals him off. RG Bergstrom does just enough on Cox to give Peterson a lane #Redskins pic.twitter.com/DSwMGGp5Tf— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 4, 2018
Philadelphia responded quickly in a drive reminiscent of their first of the game, but a huge stop by Zach Brown against Josh Adams on fourth and goal from the one yard line held the Eagles without points.
Washington did not escape the drive unscathed, as Ryan Anderson went down with a hamstring injury.
With over two minutes remaining, the Eagles quickly overcame the goal line miscue, moving 40 yards on just three plays, aided by a fifteen-yard roughing the passer penalty on Greg Stroman, and Darren Sproles scampered 14 yards off the left end to retake the lead, 14-10.
Mark Sanchez started to show some rhythm and moved Washington into Eagles territory with the help of a gritty pick up on several yards after the catch for a first down, though the drive stalled and Dustin Hopkins trimmed the deficit to one, 14-13, with a 47-yard field goal.
In addition, Sanchez gave us this special moment which proves, as I’ve said before, that time is a flat circle:
Through the first half of play, the Eagles out-gained Washington 218-199 in total yards, and doubled their first down production 14-7. In addition, Philadelphia maintained control of the clock by more than a eight minute differential, 19:20 to 10:40.
The Redskins squandered their opening drive of the second half, extending their streak of scoreless first drives of the second half to an astounding 24 games.
Philadelphia threatened to make Washington pay, going 70 yards on eight plays before they were stymied by Josh Norman who picked off Wentz in the end zone and returned it to the 38-yard line to avoid going down in a deeper deficit.
Huge INT for Josh Norman. Mason Foster works over to close the throwing window on the slant, Norman undercuts it and intercepts the throw, makes a great return too #Redskins pic.twitter.com/1KyYUpc1rD— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 4, 2018
The pick was Norman’s third of the season, the 13th of his career, and his first ever against the Eagles.
Washington was unable to capitalize on the turnover, and both teams went without scoring points in the third quarter.
On just the second play of the fourth quarter Jordan Matthews beat Danny Johnson on an inside slant route from six yards out. A two-point conversion was successful on an out route by Golden Tate to give the Eagles the two-score, 22-13 advantage.
The ensuing drive, Sanchez made his first critical mistake and was intercepted by Nathan Gerry on an out route as he looked for Maurice Harris, which turned into a 46-yard Jake Elliott field goal to up the Eagles’ advantage to 25-13 with under 12 minutes remaining.
Washington’s defense disappeared in the fourth quarter, and finished with just 36 second half yards. Much like in the first the Eagles controlled time of possession, ended up tacking on a field goal, and closed out the game to defeat Washington by a 28-13 final.
Colt McCoy was 4-of-4 passing for 50 yards in just one quarter of play before giving way to Sanchez who finished 13-of-21 with 100 yards through the air with no touchdowns and one interceptions in relief.
Against a banged up Eagles secondary that was missing six cornerbacks due to injury, Josh Doctson was Washington’s leading receiver with just three grabs for 51 yards, while Jamison Crowder recorded four catches for 36 yards in his return from injury.
On the ground, Adrian Peterson fought through an injured shoulder and tallied 98 yards on nine carries, which for those counting was eight yards on eight carries and his one 90-yard touchdown run. In addition, the veteran back becomes the first Redskins’ rusher to surpass the 800-yard mark since Alfred Morris in 2016. Chris Thompson returned after six games on the shelf to tally just three rushes for three yards, and three catches for 18 yards.
Defensively, Zach Brown and Fabian Moreau led the way with nine tackles apiece, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix posted seven stops, while Josh Norman recorded two tackles and a pick.
Carson Wentz finished 27/39 for 306 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Josh Norman was matched up almost exclusively on Alshon Jeffery who finished with catches for three yards, but 31 was the leading receiver for the Eagles with Golden Tate with 85 yards on seven grabs. Josh Adams led the Eagles rushers with 20 carries for 85 yards, Corey Clement added five rushes for 27 yards, and Darren Sproles chipped in with four touches for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Washington’s injury woes mounted. In addition to losing McCoy and Ryan Anderson, both starting guards went down: Jonathan Cooper in the first half, and Tony Bergstrom in the second.
The Eagles have now won five straight Monday Night games against Washington, who falls to 2-15 on Monday night games since 2008. Unquestionably, their postseason hopes are now on very thin ice. After leading the NFC East for most of the season, The Redskins’ division lead has evaporated with back-to-back losses, and they now find themselves in third place in the division. In addition, the loss of Colt McCoy, a quarterback who has bided his time as the backup for several season in Jay Gruden’s offense is cause for serious concern for the rest of the season. While the Redskins’ hopes are not completely extinguished, their hopes for success and their margin for error grows ever slimmer by the day.