Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a closer look at Sunday’s Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia:
Six weeks ago, the Redskin started an improbable run of perfection, thumping the Philadelphia Eagles 31-6 at home en route to a five-game, season-saving winning streak. When the dust settled, the Redskins had gone from worst to first in the NFC East, clearing a path to the postseason.
Today, the Redskins looked to sweep the Eagles in the season series for the first time since 2008, a feat that would bring them one step closer to clinching the division. It was a Washington team rolling on all cylinders vs. a team in total disarray, but both teams came to play this afternoon.
The Redskins needed one more score for comfort in the final minutes of the third quarter, and quarterback
PLAY OF THE GAME
Although the play appeared negative after a 12-yard gain, Redskins safety
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III may not win Rookie of the Week with his numbers today, but his effort will go down as one of the grittiest of his young career. After a first-quarter run left him grimacing, Griffin stayed in the game and threw 16-for-24, 198 yards and two touchdowns. His four yards on the ground was a career-low, but he excelled in the category that mattered the most: the scoreboard. Griffin III led his teammates on five scoring drives and led his team to a critical ninth win, preserving a win-and-in playoff scenario for next week against the Cowboys.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
--Redskins running back
--After the Redskins struggled to move the ball on the ground early, they found success with the end-around by receivers Santana Moss and
--The prototypical 3-4 nose tackle isn’t known for his lateral athleticism, but
--Redskins running back Alfred Morris continued his incredible rookie season this afternoon, gaining 91 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown. That touchdown gave him 10 on the season, tying the franchise rookie record for all-purpose touchdowns set by future Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor in 1964. He also went over 1,400 yards on the ground this season, putting him in good position to break the Clinton Portis single-season franchise record of 1,516 yards with a good game next week vs. Dallas.
--Redskins performed well against the tight end today, limited the Eagles to three receptions for 39 yards. Brent Celek has struggled for the Eagles this season, but the Redskins have improved in each of the last two weeks against opposing tight ends. Hopefully this can carry over to next week when Jason Witten and the Cowboys come to town.
WHAT WENT WRONG
--The Redskins have frequently jumped out to big scores in the middle of games this season, but have allowed the other team to get back involved in the fourth quarter. Today’s game was a one-sided affair, with the Redskins outscoring the Eagles 20-3 during the middle 28 minutes of the game. Against a more formidable offense, today’s game could have gone to overtime. The Redskins held on to win today, but need to bring 60 minutes of football next week in order to seal the division.
--Despite getting good pressure on quarterback Nick Foles, the Redskins made some costly mistakes in coverage, yielding 70-plus yards to three different Eagles’ receivers, including Jeremy Maclin to the tune of eight receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Maclin is a talented receiver, but with Dez Bryant next on the schedule, the Redskins need to bring their A-game.
With the combined performance of Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III on the ground today, the duo broke the franchise mark for rushing yards by two teammates in a single season. Griffin III and Morris have combined for 2,165 yards, smashing the record (2,119 yards) set by running backs John Riggins and Joe Washington 2,119 in 1983.
The Redskins have one game left to decide the fate of the season, hosting the Dallas Cowboys at home for a chance to win the NFC East. The Redskins already defeated the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving and have a chance to be moved to primetime on Sunday Night Football (NFL/NBC decision pending). With a win today, the Redskins remain in control with their playoff destiny, but need a win to ensure their path to the playoffs.
No road game is ever easy in the NFL, especially against division opponents. But the Redskins came to Philadelphia on a mission and accomplished what they set out to do. The Redskins secured their ninth win of the year today, ensuring their first winning season in five years, and at least a four-game improvement over 2011.
More importantly, the Redskins rattled off their sixth-consecutive victory to remain on a path for the playoffs, their first such hunt since 2007. The Redskins have found success by creating an exciting atmosphere for winning, all while remaining calm and businesslike. For a young team, they have the mentality of a veteran unit, and have all the confidence necessary to win a do-or-die game over the Cowboys.
Throw out the records, throw out the numbers and look for a smash-mouth football game next Sunday. To all in Redskins Nation, happy holidays and happy Dallas Week.