FEDEX FIELD -- There was some ugly and there was some bad, but in the end, there most certainly was fight.
The Washington Football Team held on for a wild, hard fought 27-17 win against Philadelphia on Sunday, and new head coach Ron Rivera cemented his stature as the leader of a new era of Burgundy and Gold football.
Plenty of reasons why Washington won, but more than anything, Rivera's message to never quit seemed the overwhelming reason his team stayed in the game despite an early deficit and rolled off 27 unanswered points to get the win.
It also helps to have a dominant defensive line. Here we go:
- Dominant D-line - Washington's defensive line is the strength of the team, and they certainly showed up on Sunday. Led by veteran Ryan Kerrigan the team sacked Eagles QB Carson Wentz eight times and roughed up the Philly passer countless other times. The hits were violent, and played a huge role in keeping Washington in the game when hope looked lost early on.
- Riverboat Cruise - They don't call him Riverboat Ron for nothing. With a tie game late in the fourth quarter and a 4th down deep in the red zone, Rivera decided to go for it rather than attempt a chip shot field goal. Why? Because he trusted his defense to stop the Eagles if needed. That Washington got the first down and got the touchdown was just gravy. He's an aggressive coach and in the NFL aggression often wins. It worked this time.
- Win the battle, win the game - Back in August, Ron Rivera talked about winning the turnover battle as a way toward winning the game, and his assessment seemed prescient on Sunday. Wentz threw two interceptions and Washington converted both for scores.
- The Alex Method - Dwayne Haskins wasn't great against Philadelphia, but he was plenty good when he needed to be. The Washington offense rolled off 27 unanswered points to come back and win the game. Haskins had no turnovers and used his legs at key moments when Washington needed the yardage. His final stats won't show that he played smart and under control. Is there room for improvement? Sure. But he got the win.