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Redskins keep playoff hopes alive as they eke out win over Eagles

Redskins keep playoff hopes alive as they eke out win over Eagles

PHILADELPHIA— The Redskins can’t do anything the easy way. They went into Lincoln Financial Field, fell behind early, got a rally together and took the lead. But Kirk Cousins threw a pick six in the fourth quarter and things got interesting.

But they were able to hang on and escape Lincoln Financial Field with a 27-22 win that keeps them squarely in the middle of the NFC playoff picture. The winning score came on a 25-yard Chris Thompson touchdown run with 1:53 left.

The key plays were an 80-yard touchdown bomb from Cousins to DeSean Jackson and a botched snap on an Eagles field goal attempt that set up another Redskins touchdown. Those scores turned a 13-7 deficit into a 21-13 lead late in the third quarter.

[MORE: Cousins sets new franchise passing mark]

But then Cousins threw a sideline pass that Leodis McKelvin picked off and returned 29 yards. It was a two-point game after the two-point pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles, however, got the ball back and drove for a field goal that put them up by a point.

It was the Redskins’ turned to respond. A 33-yard pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder was called incomplete but a successful replay challenge overturned it. A few plays later it was fourth and one and Cousins picked it up with a six-yard pass to the 29. Two plays later Cousins pitched to Chris Thompson and he picked his way through the defense for 25 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles had a last chance to take the win with a late drive. They moved into Washington territory at the 14 but Ryan Kerrigan saved the day with a sack and strip of Wentz. Trent Murphy recovered and the Redskins just had to kneel down once.

The Redskins are 7-5-1 and they host the Panthers next Monday night.

Injury Updates:

LB Su’a Cravens left the game in the first quarter with a bicep injury; his return was listed as questionable. He did not return to the game.

ILB Will Compton left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, he was announced as out for the game.

RB Mack Brown left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter           

FG Sturgis 45

Drive: 10 plays, 46 yards, 5:14

Drive summary: The Eagles took the opening kickoff and moved right in for the score. A pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz picked up 13 yards and then Wentz converted a third and six on a 10-yard pass to Jordan Matthews. They worked their way down to a third and three the 27 before  then Ryan Kerrigan pressured Wentz into an incompletions. Sturgis came in a kicked the field goal.

Eagles 3, Redskins 0 9:46

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Second quarter

FG Sturgis 36

Drive: 10 plays, 53 yards, 5:36

Drive summary: The Eagles got the ball after a missed Dustin Hopkins field goal. The eked out a first down with a two-yard gain on third and two and then Wentz launched a 29-yard strike to Zach Ertz for a first down at the Washington 32. The Eagles were lined up to go for it on fourth and three but after a false start Sturgis came on the field and kicked the tree-pointer.

Eagles 6, Redskins 0

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Kelley 22 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 10 plays, 69 yards, 6:18

Drive summary: The Redskins finally scratched the scoreboard with a second-quarter drive. Cousins got the initial first down with a one-yard run on an option play then he passed to Rob Kelley for 11 and to Jordan Reed for 10. Kelley converted a third and one with a five-yard run and then on the next play he popped a 22-yard run off of left tackle into the end zone.

Redskins 7, Eagles 6 4:11

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Sproles 4 pass from Wentz (Sturgis kick)

Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards, 3:43

Drive summary: The Eagles answered the Redskins’ score with a late drive. Wentz went to Jordan Matthews for 14 and then he converted a third and nine with a 16-yard pass to Trey Burton. That put them in Redskins territory at the 43. On third and three at the 36 Wentz threw to Paul Turner for 16 yards. A third-down pass to Burton set up a first and goal at the four. On the next play Wentz threw to Darren Sproles for the touchdown.

Eagles 13, Redskins 7

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Third quarter

Jackson 80 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 2 plays, 81 yards, 0:43

Drive summary: On the second play of their drive Cousins launched a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. Like few others can he tracked the ball down shook the defender, and ran the last 30 yards into the end zone.

Redskins 14, Eagles 13 9:14

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Cousins 15 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 54 yards, 3:14

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position after the Eagles botched a field goal snap. Starting from their own 46, Cousins went to DeSean Jackson for 21 yards. The receiver made a tiptoe catch on the sideline and the catch survived replay review. Then it was Rob Kelley catching a pass for 14 and then running for 10 for first and goal at the nine. A penalty pushed them back but on second down at the 15 Cousins lofted a pass to Garçon in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

Redskins 21, Eagles 13

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Fourth quarter

McKelvin 29 interception return (pass failed)

Drive: --

Drive summary: Kirk Cousins tried to go to DeSean Jackson on the sideline but McKelvin jumped the route and streaked down the sideline for 29 yards and the touchdown

Redskins 21, Eagles 19

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Cousins 1 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 11 plays, 37 yards, 6:28

Drive summary: The Eagles got a jump-start on their drive thanks to a personal foul penalty on Deshazor Everett that set up the start of the drive at their own 40. They converted a third and seven on a 14-yard pass from Wentz to Ertz and then Wentz snuck to pick up a fourth and one. They faced another fourth and one at the 24 and this time they kicked the go-ahead field goal with just under five minutes left.

Eagles 22, Redskins 21 4:59

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Thompson 25 run (pass failed)

Drive: 8 plays, 77 yards, 3:06

Drive summary: The Redskins responded to the Eagles’ score. It started with what was originally called an incomplete pass but replay overturned it and it turned into a 33-yard pass from Cousins to Crowder. A few plays later it was fourth and one at the 35. They picked it up with Cousins to Garçon for six yards. Two plays later Cousins pitched to Chris Thompson and he picked his way through the defense for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Redskins 27, Eagles 22

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Gallery: NFL WEEK 14: REDSKINS 27, EAGLES 22​ 

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Brandon Scherff could very well ask for a contract that tops the one Brandon Brooks just signed

Brandon Scherff could very well ask for a contract that tops the one Brandon Brooks just signed

On Monday, one Brandon in the NFL signed a deal that another Brandon in the NFL absolutely noticed.

The first Brandon is Brandon Brooks, a guard whom the Eagles gave a four-year contract extension worth just more than $56 million that'll kick in starting in 2021. His current agreement with Philadelphia runs until 2020 and carries remaining base salaries of $8 million and $7.5 million.

The second Brandon is Brandon Scherff, also a guard and one who's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in a few months. If Scherff truly gets a chance to negotiate with the Redskins or on the open market, he'll likely look for something very close to or even exceeding the numbers Brooks got from Philly.

Brooks' extension has a $14.05 million annual value, which slots just ahead of the Cowboys' Zach Martin when it comes to the highest-paid guards in the sport. Scherff absolutely deserves to ink something that puts him right next to those players, if not ahead of Brooks and all others at the position.

One thing that works in No. 75's favor is his age. Scherff is about to turn 28 years old. Brooks, meanwhile, is already 30. Washington's lineman should have plenty of productive campaigns in his future, wherever that future is. 

Another interesting similarity between Brooks and Scherff is their durability. Both have have returned from a significant injury they suffered in 2018 — Scherff tore his pectoral, while Brooks tore his Achilles — that look like outliers in otherwise reliable careers.  

Scherff is certainly in the same realm when it comes to talent and production as Brooks, too. They've each earned two Pro Bowl nods, and while Brooks may be thought of as the best guard in the league, Scherff isn't far behind.

Plus, as anyone who's followed NFL contracts this decade knows, it often doesn't really matter if the next elite guy to sign is truly better, it just matters that he's elite and he's next to sign.

Those are all factors Scherff could point to when it's time for him to cash in. When will that time come, though?

The Burgundy and Gold, who reportedly offered Scherff an extension worth $13 million a year this past September that didn't really do much for the 2015 first-rounder, could franchise tag him if they want. That move, of course, would be profitable for Scherff but limit his ability to negotiate. 

Now, whether the Redskins go that route or give him something more stable, it's hard to imagine them letting him get away. Trent Williams will very likely never suit up for Washington again, and having to roll out an offensive line in 2020 without Williams and Scherff would be a very unfortunate situation.

Scherff, however, will likely make the organization pay up to ensure that doesn't happen. He said in October he hopes to be a Redskin until he retires, but it doesn't appear he'll do that on a discount. With the way he's played and how his peers are being compensated, he shouldn't have to, either.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

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Bill Callahan explains exact moment Dwayne Haskins proved ready to be QB1

Bill Callahan explains exact moment Dwayne Haskins proved ready to be QB1

It took 10 weeks, but the Redskins finally turned the franchise over to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

On Monday, Washington interim head coach Bill Callahan stated that Haskins will be the team's QB for the remainder of the season and that the organization is ready to move forward with the 15th overall pick starting this Sunday against the Jets. It's a major moment for the team and for their future, as well as for Haskins. 

"Let’s face it, let’s give Dwayne an opportunity. We’re at a juncture where we don’t want to be record-wise, so this is a good opportunity for him to take advantage of every rep, practice-wise and game-wise, so we can see growth in his play," Callahan said Monday.

The decision to go with Haskins comes after the rookie appeared in three NFL games, including his first start Week 9 in Buffalo. Against the Bills, Haskins played the best football of his brief NFL career. Though his team lost and he didn't throw any touchdowns, Haskins looked in command of the team's offense and capable of running the team. 

That was big, because it didn't always look like that. And for Callahan, the coach shared a moment with Haskins after a poor performance that set the stage for the rookie's growth. 

"It was interesting, he came in a few weeks ago and wanted to know what he could do better to win. That was after the Minnesota game," Callahan explained via the Redskins Talk podcast.

"He took it to heart. That loss stuck deep into him. He wanted to know exactly what he could do. He came in on a Saturday, on our off day, and we visited for a good hour or so and just talked about what he could do better, how he could perform better, how he could prepare better."

Week 8 the Redskins played the Vikings on Thursday Night Football and got back to Ashburn very early Friday morning. For Haskins to be in the building that Saturday showed that his performance bothered him. It was obvious after that loss too, as the rookie seemed quite upset in the locker room after an ugly performance that included a bad interception in a big spot for his team. 

"I think that resonated," Callahan said. "He came in at 9 o'clock, so he was up early. It meant a lot, it had to be bothering him from the game Thursday night into Saturday morning. It meant a great deal to him."

The Redskins coach explained that it wasn't just the interception that was bothering Haskins, but his overall level of play in the loss.

"He took the loss really, really hard. He's a prideful guy," Callahan said. "But in a nutshell, when you get stung like that, he didn't want to see that happen again. It was a good sign, a real positive sign."

For Redskins fans searching for reasons for optimism in a lost season, Callahan's story might be an important one. Plenty of rookie passers struggle, but what's important is what comes after the struggles. 

Haskins was not good in his first two appearances this season. Neither spot was ideal, coming in off the bench, on the road, and his team trailing. Still, he struggled, throwing four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts. 

In his first start, however, things looked different. There were no interceptions. He completed 68 percent of his passes. 

Haskins wasn't great against Buffalo, but he had improved. He looked like a different player than the upset rookie that lingered at his locker late into the night in Minnesota. 

What happened in between? That meeting with Callahan, not to mention a full week of practice with the first-team offense. 

Going into the Jets game on Sunday, Haskins will have gotten all the first-team work for nearly a month. That should help.

Something else happened too. As Callahan explained it, Haskins got stung, and the rookie quarterback doesn't want to feel that way anymore. 

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