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Defense Sets Tone In Win Over Eagles

Posted Nov 18, 2012

The Washington Redskins’ defense forced three first-half turnovers and limited big plays in a 31-6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField.

London Fletcher gathered his fellow Redskins linebackers just before taking the field Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and delivered a simple message.

“Somebody’s season is ending today,” the 14-year veteran said. “Let it be theirs.”

Fletcher and the Redskins’ defense then delivered on that backs-against-the-wall theme, forcing three first-half turnovers, limiting big plays and not allowing a touchdown in Washington’s 31-6 win over Philadelphia in front of an energetic FedExField crowd.

“It feels great,” Fletcher said after the game. “To be clicking like we were on defense, playing the way we were playing, creating turnovers, getting the offense a short field – those are key things.

“Those are things that you want to do in order to win games.”

The Redskins (4-6) also received a spark from safety Brandon Meriweather, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who was playing his first game with the Redskins on Sunday.

Meriweather ended Sunday’s game with seven tackles, two passes defensed and an interception before leaving the game in the third quarter for precautionary reasons.

After the game he declined to take credit for being a sparkplug for a Redskins’ secondary that came into the game ranked 30th in the league in pass defense.

Against the Eagles (3-7) on Sunday, the Redskins allowed a season-low 177 passing yards.

“It actually felt better just to see the defense play the way we did,” Meriweather said. “Just to see us come together as a unit, put distractions in the background and actually play.”

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, meanwhile, was quick to throw praise Meriweather’s way.

“[Meriweather’s] a guy that loves to fly around, is real physical and has a ball of energy,” said Alexander, who had one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits on Sunday. “He was real fresh today, and you could see that.

“That's a guy that you want to have out there because he plays with a lot of passion and makes a lot of big plays for us. That's somebody we definitely need, and I think he really helped our defense get off to that great start today.”

Alexander also credited defensive coordinator Jim Haslett with a solid game plan that kept Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles on his toes – and, at times, on his back.

The Redskins special teams captain said the Washington defense also made key adjustments, such as when the Eagles (3-7) found success on two straight screen plays from Foles to running back LeSean McCoy.

“I don't think [Haslett] allowed them to get him out of his game plan,” Alexander said. “Even though they got a couple plays on us, he stuck to his guns and guys got out there and executed and made some plays.”

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan led onslaught on Foles, registering two tackles, a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

After the game, Kerrigan said the Redskins defense finally performed up to expectations with room for improvement.

"That's the kind of football we've wanted to play all year," he said.  "Forced turnovers, and especially with Philly having a young quarterback, we wanted to really get after him.

"Force some turnovers and steal every possession for our offense."

With a quick, four-day turnaround until their next game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins’ defense hopes to carry this feeling of confidence into Cowboys Stadium and escape with a Thanksgiving Day victory.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “We need more of them. I think the win gives us a lot of momentum, and we definitely need to keep it going.”

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