Taylor Heinicke and the Washington Commanders handed the Philadelphia Eagles their first loss of the season as they came away 32-21 winners on Monday Night Football in Philadelphia.
Washington Dominated The Time of Possession
Outside of the sack fumble, one of Washington’s few mistakes all night, the Commanders were in complete control of the game.
The plan to keep Philadelphia’s top-five offense off the field worked to near perfection. After the fumble, Washington put together drives of 13, 12, 16, and eight plays for the rest of the first half, all of which ended with points on the board for the Burgundy & Gold. Even more impressive was how long Washington stayed on the field; three of those first-half scoring drives took at least six minutes off the clock.
Even when drives did not end in points, Washington did an excellent job of keeping things in its favor. The best examples came in the last six minutes when Washington was clinging to a five-point lead. Washington’s final two drives resulted in just 14 yards on nine plays, but the Commanders bled more than four minutes off the clock to make a comeback from Philadelphia impossible.
By the end of the game, Washington more than doubled the Eagles’ time of possession, 40:24-19:36, which is a credit to the 17:38 time off possession margin in the first half, which is the highest in franchise history.
Brian Robinson And Antonio Gibson Fueled The Offense
There is a reason why Washington was able to control the clock in such a dominant fashion: Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson were fueling a run game that put up 152 yards on the ground, which was the second-best performance of the season.
Fans of explosive runs would not have been thrilled on Monday night. The Commanders carried the ball 49 times — the most by a Washington team since 2001 — and only averaged 3.1 yards per attempt. Still, it was a dominant performance because of how the running game fought for tough yards.
The Commanders converted 12 third downs against the Eagles, and seven came from the rushing attack pushing forward to keep the chains moving. It was clear early on that Washington was going to stick to the run game, as Robinson plowed ahead on a third-and-one, while Gibson found spaced on a third-and-4 during the Commanders’ first scoring drive.
That philosophy did not change near the goal line, as Robinson and Gibson each picked up a one-yard rushing score. Robinson, who broke tackles from most of the Eagles’ defenders on an 11-yard rush two plays before, forced his way into the end zone after being stacked up at the 1-yard line to give Washington a 17-14 lead.
By the night’s end, Robinson and Gibson combined for 130 of the Commanders’ 152 rushing yards, but even more importantly, they helped the team find its identity.
Terry McLaurin Is Dominant
Only one receiver in the NFL has at least 80 yards in a single game against the Eagles this season. His name is Terry McLaurin, and he has done it twice.
In addition to smothering the Eagles on the ground, the other part of the Commanders’ offensive plan was to get the ball to McLaurin as much as possible. The stud wideout rewarded the Commanders by coming through on one clutch play after the next. On third-and-2 during the Commanders’ first scoring drive, McLaurin got open for a 26-yard pickup that put Washington at the Philly 18-yard line. Washington scored four plays later.
Next, McLaurin converted two third downs with four- and 14-yard receptions. The 14-yard grab set Washington up at the Eagles’ 30-yard line, and five plays later, Joey Slye cut into the Eagles’ lead with a 44-yard field goal.
But McLaurin was not done keeping the Commanders alive. He came down with two more catches — one on a third-and-5 for 18 yards and another on third-and-10. His nine-yard reception was not enough to convert, but it did get Washington close enough to try a successful fourth-down attempt.
McLaurin finished the game with 128 yards — his best performance since Week 15 of the 2019 season against the Eagles. It was his 13th 100-yard game and the fourth against the Eagles.
Defense Wins Games
Jonathan Allen says all the time: sacks and turnovers come in bunches. After Monday’s game, it is clear why he says it so often.
Before the primetime matchup, the Eagles had given up the ball just three times all season, and Jalen Hurts had not thrown an interception since Week four. Yet, by the night’s end, the Eagles had committed four turnovers, all of which came in critical moments.
The Eagles were looking to expand their lead after Washington’s first field goal attempt in the second quarter, so they naturally turned to A.J. Brown, who led the team with six receiving touchdowns. Unfortunately, it was a disastrous decision for Hurts, as Darrick Forrest ripped it away for his second career interception. Washington turned that into a touchdown 16 plays later.
It seemed like momentum was going to swing in Philadelphia’s favor after Heinicke’s fourth-quarter interception, but the Eagles continued to stumble with three turnovers on their final four possessions. John Ridgeway knocked the ball from Dallas Goedert’s grasp following the interception, which allowed Jamin Davis to scoop it up. Still, the backbreaker came on the next drive when Quez Watkins grabbed a 50-yard reception before Benjamin St-Juste forced the ball from his hands. Forrest picked it up for his third turnover of the season.
The final turnover came on the game’s final play when DeVonta Smith’s lateral pass fell at the Eagles’ one-yard line, allowing Casey Toohill to run it in for the touchdown.
History Still Intact
The loss means the 1972 Miami Dolphins maintain their record as the NFL’s only team to secure a perfect season. The 2007 New England Patriots came close, going 18-0 before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Passing: Taylor Heinicke, 17/29, 211 yards, 1 INT
Rushing: Brian Robinson Jr., 26 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD
Antonio Gibson, 14 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Terry McLaurin, eight catches, 128 yards
Passing: Jalen Hurts, 17/26, 175 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Miles Sanders, 12 carries, 54 yards
Receiving: Quez Watkins, four catches, 80 yards
DeVonta Smith, six catches, 39 yards, 1 YD
The Washington Commanders handed the Philadelphia Eagles their first loss of the season. Now they head into week 11 to hand the Texans their eighth! The game can be seen at 11 a.m. MST on Fox. The Commanders are a 2.5-point favorite in the game. And that’s…”The Lex Of It”