PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1), NFL's last unbeaten team, fell Monday night, Nov. 14, to the Washington Commanders (5-5) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. Sloppy play throughout the contest, uncharacteristic turnovers, and a costly penalty with under two minutes to go doomed the Eagles' perfect season, 32-21.
This year's best chance of matching the 17-0 1972 Miami Dolphins fell by the wayside as the Eagles failed to recreate the explosive magic on offense that had sustained them so far in the 2022 season.
With the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys losses on Sunday, the NFC East remains wide open in the second half of the season. The Commanders' Twitter celebrated at the Eagles' expense after the game.
Philadelphia led early after the Commanders fumbled in the shadow of their own goal line. Defensive end Josh Sweat sacked Washington’s Taylor Heinicke, who then fumbled and Sweat recovered at the Commanders’ 18-yard line. Three plays later, Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts scored from 1-yard out to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Commanders tied the game on their next possession. They marched 75 yards on 13 plays, methodically draining away the 1st quarter on their way to Antonio Gipson’s 1-yard touchdown run. That style of the offense defined the Commanders all night. They strung together several 10+ play drives that kept the explosive Eagles’ offense on the sideline.
The Eagles scored again on their ensuing possession and did not score again until five minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles went 78 yards on nine plays to retake the lead, 14-7. Tight End Dallas Goedert caught a 6-yard pass from Hurts for the score.
Washington scored 16 unanswered points and led 23-14 late in the 3rd quarter. Hurts zipped a pass to wide receiver Devonta Smith to pull within two points, but the Eagles failed to recapture the lead.
After adding another field goal, the Commanders led 26-21 late in the 4th quarter. Philly needed a stop from their defense to give the offense one more chance to win the game. With all three of their timeouts, stopping the Commanders with enough time remaining seemed like a viable option. That is, until Eagles’ Brandon Graham got called for unnecessary roughness on a sack on third down. Heinicke rolled out of the pocket with nowhere to go with the football and gave himself up by falling to the ground. Graham hit Heinicke, and the referees threw the flag.
The penalty gave the Commanders a first down, and the Eagles failed to get the stop they needed with enough time remaining. Philadelphia got the ball back with only five seconds to go and fumbled on the last play. The Commanders returned the fumble for a touchdown, and the Eagles lost 32-21.
Jalen Hurts had a sub-par performance going 17/26 for 175 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The Eagles had also had three fumbles in the game that doomed their chances at victory.
Taylor Heinicke started for injured quarterback Carson Wentz and went 17/29 for 221 yards. Wide Receiver Terry McClaurin led the Commanders with 128 yards receiving. Runningback Brian Robinson Jr. carried the ball 26 times for 86 yards and a touchdown.
The real difference in the contest boiled down to the efficiency in the run game. Long sustained drives kept the explosive Eagles' offense on the sideline.
Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to the media after the game, "The guys stuck to the plan. The coaches stuck to the plan. We found one of the best ways to slow Jalen Hurts down and keep him off the field. We felt if we could control the line of scrimmage and run the ball, then we could slow things down." The game plan worked to perfection as the Commanders controlled the time of possession 40:24 to the Eagles' 19:36.
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) travel to face the Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1) next Sunday, Nov. 20, at Lucas Oil Stadium at 12 p.m. CST.
The Washington Commanders (5-5) travel to Houston to take on the Houston Texans (1-7-1) on Sunday, Nov. 20, at NRG Stadium at 12 p.m. CST.