Week 17 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 31, Philadelphia Eagles 20
What you need to know
Fighting for a post-season berth, the Redskins came out surprisingly flat in this important contest. Their defense allowed the Eagles to move the ball with surprising ease in the first half, and their offense was held largely in check by the Philadelphia defense. In the end, six Philadelphia turnovers and a strong performance by Clinton Portis fueled a Washington comeback and helped them secure a wild card spot.
Brunell was efficient in the game, making a few big throws and avoiding any critical mistakes. His only touchdown pass came on a short throw to tight end Mike Sellers for a four yard score. Santana Moss led all Washington receivers with 83 yards.
Clinton Portis was the focal point of the Washington offense. He carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards and scored two touchdowns. He left the game briefly with an apparent back strain, but returned to the contest and continued to be effective. However, he left the game again with 4:30 remaining and did not return.
Playing the potential role of spoiler, the Eagles gave the Redskins a scare in this game. In the first half, Philadelphia played well on both sides of the ball and jumped out to a 17-7 lead. Ultimately, Philadelphia turnovers proved to be the difference, as six Eaglesí turnovers led to 21 Redskins points and cost the Eagles the game. In losing, the Eagles became the fist team ever to go winless in their division in the year after a Super Bowl appearance.
McMahon continued to struggle behind center, despite throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Reggie Brown. On many of his throws, McMahon was well off the mark. He threw an interception and fumbled twice, losing one, which ultimately earned him a seat on the bench.
The Eaglesí running attack centered around Bruce Perry, a former seventh round pick. Perry ran well when given the opportunity, finishing with 70 yards on 15 attempts. Meanwhile, Ryan Moats struggled to find any running room, gaining just 23 yards on seven attempts. Neither running back found the end zone.
What you ought to know
|QB Mark Brunell, Pass: 9 - 25 - 141 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0|
Brunell started the game despite being hampered by a knee injury. The knee limited his mobility, especially early in the game, and also seemed to contribute to some errant throws. Brunell did just enough in this game to allow his team to win, throwing a nice deep ball to Santana Moss and avoiding any critical errors. Brunell threw a short touchdown pass to Mike Sellers for the Redskinsí first score. He was intercepted late in the first half on a deep pass.
Portis carried a heavy load, rushing the ball 27 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a two-yard run early in the third quarter. Portis left the game with an apparent back injury after a horse collar type of tackle, but came back into the game to score a touchdown on a 22 yard run. On the play, Portis was bottled up at the line of scrimmage, but was able to break free, run to the outside, and dive for the pylon. Portis returned and ran effectively, but again was forced out due to injury late in the fourth quarter.
Betts entered the game in the third quarter when Portis was shaken up, and promptly ripped off a 16 yard run. He finished with 30 yards on five carries.
Moss had a relatively quiet game, as he managed only four catches and did not find the end zone. He did contribute a 54 yard catch on a deep sideline route that set up a short Portis touchdown. Moss also attracted a lot of attention from Eaglesí defenders downfield even when he wasnít targeted, creating opportunities for his teammates.
Thrash had only one catch on the afternoon, but it was a season-long 41 yard reception that converted a third and 11 for his team and set up a John Hall field goal.
Cooley was targeted often, but had little to show for it at the end of the day. He finished the game with just two catches for eight yards.
Sellers made the most of his lone reception of the day, catching a four yard pass in the flat for a touchdown. Sellers also recovered the Eaglesí muffed kickoff return that set up the touchdown.
Hall connected on a 25 yard field goal and made four extra points.
A potential point of concern for the playoff-bound Redskins, Philadelphia ran the football well most of the game. Although the Eagles were held to under 100 yards on the ground, this can be attributed largely to Andy Reidís preference for the pass.
After giving up two passing touchdowns in the second quarter, the Redskinsí pass defense stepped it up, despite the loss of Shawn Springs to a groin injury. The Redskinsí passing defense finished with four sacks, two interceptions, and three recovered fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
|QB Mike McMahon, Pass: 16 - 31 - 234 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0|
McMahon continued to struggle with inconsistency, mixing in high, errant throws with occasional precise passing. On one red zone series, McMahon fumbled the ball on a quarterback draw, and then tripped over his own feet for a loss two plays later while rolling to his right. McMahon threw two scores on the afternoon, both perfect balls thrown to Reggie Brown. McMahon was also in the giving spirit, as he fumbled twice, lost one, and threw an interception. He was replaced by Koy Detmer after his second fumble.
Detmer saw action in the fourth quarter after McMahon put the ball on the ground for the second time. Detmer fared as poorly as his woeful counterpart, throwing an interception and losing a fumble in less than one quarter of work.
Perry, a Philadelphia native and seventh round draft pick, performed well in his late season audition. When given the opportunity, Perry ran with power and showed good vision finding holes. He finished with 70 yards on 15 carries.
|RB Ryan Moats, Rush: 7 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 4 - 0 (3 targets)|
Moats took a back seat role to Bruce Perry in this game, carrying the ball only seven times for 23 yards. Of the two rushers, Moats had more difficulty finding running room. Moats was also targeted four times in the passing game, but found little success there as well. Moats also fumbled, but was able to recover the ball.
With a strong performance, Brown tried to make the case that he can be the number one receiver in Philadelphia next year. He showed good speed on his first touchdown of the day, as he broke free down the middle of the field for a 33 yard score. He found open space on a drag route across the middle for his second touchdown of the day. Brown also had a touchdown catch negated by an illegal shift penalty.
Lewis caught a 25 yard pass on a corner route on the first play of the game. He finished the game with a respectable 62 yards on four catches.
McMullenís lone highlight of note was not a positive one. He lost a fumble with the Eagles driving into Redskin territory late in the first half.
Smith had a season long 48 yard reception. Smith was also targeted on a corner route in the red zone which led to a pass interference penalty. He finished the game with 73 yards on three catches, but did not find the end zone.
Lewis did not figure prominently into the Philadelphia game plan, catching just one pass for 13 yards.
Akers was perfect on the afternoon, hitting a pair of field goals, including a 49 yard try that bounced over the cross bar. Akers was two of two on extra point attempts.
The Philadelphia rush defense was tested in this game by a heavy dose of Clinton Portis. The unit played well early in the game, but wore down as the game went on. They allowed two rushing touchdowns and 151 yards on the ground.
The Eagles did a good job of containing Santana Moss and Chris Cooley, allowing them a combined 91 yards and six catches. They only sacked Brunell one time, but gave up just 141 yards passing on the afternoon. They also intercepted Brunell late in the first half on a deep pass.