Simply call the Washington Football Team division champs.
Alex Smith tossed two score passes and Washington beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 Sunday night to catch the modest NFC East.
“This one’s special just because of how hard it was,” said Washington coach Ron Rivera, who overcame a form of skin cancer during the season. “How tough everything was, how it’s been on the guys, the organization. There’s a great group of young men in there and we’re trying to do things the right way. It’s really a cool thing to come out and get the division.”
The Washington establishment, which changed its moniker in July following quite a while of fights about it, turned into the primary group in the Super Bowl period to arrive at the end of the season games following a 2-7 beginning. Washington procured the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will have Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in a special case game next Saturday night. A misfortune would’ve given the New York Giants (6-10) the division title.
It didn’t hurt the guests that Eagles mentor Doug Pederson changed to third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld right off the bat in the final quarter, which didn’t turn out well with Giants players posting their response on Twitter. Sudfeld hadn’t tossed a pass since 2018 and was singled out his subsequent endeavor. He likewise lost a bobble.
Damages’ passer rating of 25.4 was the most minimal by an Eagles beginning quarterback since Nick Foles posted a 9.3 rating in the last standard season game in 2017. Foles finished that season as the Super Bowl MVP.
“Yes, I was coaching to win,” Pederson said. “Yes, that was my decision solely. Nate has been here four years and I felt he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps.”
Driven by Smith and Rivera, Washington (7-9) is the third group to win a division title with a losing record during an entire 16-game season. Seattle (2010) and Carolina (2014) recently did it and each dominated a season finisher match.
Smith tossed a 13-yard TD pass to Logan Thomas in the subsequent quarter to give Washington a 17-14 lead it never surrendered after Jalen Hurts scored on a couple of 6-yard TD runs for Philadelphia (4-11-1).
The 36-year-old Smith started the season as the No. 3 quarterback, an amazing rebound following 17 medical procedures on his leg and a dangerous contamination put his profession in peril. He drove Washington’s turnaround, going 4-1 preceding missing the past two games with a calf strain.
“A lot to be grateful for, starting with the guys in the locker room,” Smith said. “Excited for them. We had some bumps early, kept fighting and here we are.”
Smith threw a 5-yard pass to Terry McLaurin to give Washington a 7-0 lead in the main quarter. After Kamren Curl blocked Hurts’ pass, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 42-yard field objective to make it 10-0.
Smith completed 22 of 32 for 162 yards and two picks with the two TDs.
“We feed off their energy,” Smith said about a ferocious defense led by rookie Chase Young.
Rivera wore a division champions T-shirt during his post-game news gathering while players were hooting and hollering and celebrating out of sight.
“It goes back to the hard work,” Rivera said. “I praise the players, I praise the coaches, I praise the support staff. I want to give a big shoutout to our coaches. They picked up a lot of slack for me. Just having to fight through what I did, they were there. They did a tremendous job.”
Down 17-14, the Eagles had an astounding open door at Washington’s 15 after Marcus Epps selected Smith’s pass that ricocheted from J.D. McKissic’s hands. The Eagles had a first down from the 5 yet picked up just 1 yard. Pederson left behind a short field objective and starter Jalen Hurts tossed deficient on fourth down from the 4.
Damages completed 7 of 20 for 72 yards, one capture attempt, 34 yards hurrying and two scores on the ground.
Sudfeld, who was dormant for the past 14 games, saw his first activity this season. After T.J. Edwards caught Smith, Sudfeld gave it back with a bobble recuperated by Young. That prompted Hopkins’ 42-yarder and a 20-14 lead for Washington.
Washington opened the season with a 27-17 triumph over the Eagles. Dwayne Haskins began that game for Washington and Carson Wentz for Philadelphia. Haskins was delivered a week ago. Wentz was sidelined a month ago and was inert for this one.
The misfortune gave the Eagles the 6th pick in the NFL draft. It’ll be Philadelphia’s fifth top-10 pick since 1999. The others were: QB Donovan McNabb (No. 2, 1999), DT Corey Simon (No. 6, 2000), RT Lane Johnson (No. 4, 2013), Wentz (No. 2, 2016).
Rivera helped change the losing society in Washington after nine seasons as Carolina’s mentor. He did it while doing combating squamous cell carcinoma. Rivera missed some training time yet no games and finished his treatment in October.
Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor left in the main half with a head injury. … A few starters sat out with wounds, including DT Fletcher Cox, DE Derek Barnett, TE Dallas Goedert, WR DeSean Jackson, T Jordan Mailata, RB Miles Sanders. S Jalen Mills and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman were on COVID-19 rundown.
Washington: enters the end of the season games unexpectedly since 2015.
Eagles: They face troublesome choices in the offseason, including sorting out which quarterback they intend to work around for 2021. They’ll additionally have to recruit another cautious facilitator to supplant Jim Schwartz, who intends to take a season off.
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