3 instant over-reactions to Washington's NFC-East clinching win


For the first time since the 2015 season the Washington Football Team won the NFC East. 

Sure it took a weird and wonderful Week 17 win in Philadelphia to clinch the division title, and sure Washington took the crown with just a 7-9 record, but still, it's been an improbable and enjoyable run. 

Ron Rivera's team will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Saturday night, and Washington has much to work on if the Burgundy and Gold is to take down Tom Brady in a postseason game. 

Let's dig in:

1) Washington either needs Alex Smith to get much, much healthier before the Bucs game, or the team will have to consider going to backup QB Taylor Heinicke. Smith had some good moments against the Eagles and finished the night 22 of 32 for 162 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. But for large stretches of the game it was obvious Smith's mobility was quite limited and he was unable to get much push off his right leg to drive the ball down the field. Against a terrible Eagles team, Smith's limitations didn't cost Washington. Against a Tampa team that's averaged more than 35 points-per-game in their last two contests? That could be a different story.

2) Chase Young is the defensive star that Washington has lacked since Sean Taylor's untimely death. Against the Eagles, Young registered a sack and a fumble recovery, but more than that, he has electric enthusiasm on the field and on the sideline. He motivates this team and the defense seems to rally around him. Don't sleep on another defensive rookie in Kam Curl, who for a second straight game grabbed an interception. 


3) What the hell was Doug Pederson doing? The Eagles coach pulled QB Jalen Hurts midway through the third quarter to bring in Nate Sudfeld. Hurts wasn't having a ton of success through the air as a passer but was the Eagles' best offensive threat on the ground. He ran for 34 yards and two TDs. Sudfeld was awful - accounting for two turnovers in his first six snaps.

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Listen - Washington was not impressive offensively in this game. At all. But defensively it clamped down on the Eagles when it mattered.

This was all about winning the division and getting to the playoffs. For a young team, that could hold immense value in the future. 

Plus it's really, really cool that Washington gets to host Tom Brady for a playoff game.