Eagles’ 20-16 win over Washington proves they can make noise in the playoffs | 5 reasons
EARTH – Christmas has passed for over a week. Still, as I walked through the booths at FedEx Field, there was a sea of green and burgundy to watch Sunday afternoon’s game between the Eagles and the Washington football team, giving the crowd a festive air.
This was most evident when the crowd rose as the Eagles lined up for a fourth and important goal early in the third quarter. The Eagles had mixed success in the first half with a fourth down, converting one of their two attempts.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was looking to lead the team to a touchdown, began to turn around for a pitch but began to fall back after a lineman stepped on his foot . Not wanting the game to die before it started, Hurts threw the ball in the direction of full-back Boston Scott, who took the ball, ran to the right side behind the plight of the Eagles players who had attempted to seal the sideline, and dove into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.
Scott’s touchdown was symbolic of how the second half of the season has gone for the Eagles: a little skill and a little luck. The most recent example is their 20-16 victory over Washington, their ninth season. With the win, the Eagles are in a position to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2019. The Eagles have won four straight games and appear to be finding their rhythm heading into the playoffs. If the Eagles advance to the playoffs, it will be a tough draw for any opponent.
Here are five reasons the Eagles might make some noise if they made the playoffs:
The racing game remains effective when needed
The Eagles threw the ball more than they did in the second half of the season, mainly because they had success with the running game. Even without Miles Sanders, who missed the game with a hand injury, the Eagles were still able to effectively move the ball to the ground when needed. Scott was solid as a starter, gaining 38 yards on 11 carries. Jordan Howard, who was dealing with a dart, looked a bit slow on the ground, gaining just 10 yards. However, Hurts made up for that when it came to the designed tracks.
The best teams can run in the playoffs and control the battle time for possession. Another advantage for the Eagles chasing the run with the ball will also keep their defense cooler, which is necessary if they are to face quarterbacks like Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady or Los Angeles Rams signalman Matthew Stafford.
Jalen Hurts can keep the coins alive
Hurts looks like he’s recovered from his ankle injury, using his legs to play. Hurts ran, slipping past several Washington defensive linemen before finding wide receiver Greg Ward in midfield for a 27-yard gain. The play turned out to be important as it led to Scott’s one-yard touchdown run, putting the Eagles two points behind Washington. Hurts is a weapon on his own, and his legs give offense an extra dimension.. If he can continue to find players in the field after the scramble, it will put opposing defenses in a difficult position.
Defense play better in the red zone than in their twenties
The Eagles allowed Washington to move the ball early in the game. However, the unity of defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon tightened when Washington entered the red zone. The Eagles keeping teams on goals instead of touchdowns would go a long way in making them competitive in a playoff game.
Eagles get constant passing rush
The defensive line was one of their strengths before the season, and it’s finally living up to their bill. Defensive end Josh Sweat was very active on Sunday, collecting 1.5 sacks and putting his hand in the throwing lane of Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, deflecting several passes. The Eagles also got a push amid defensive tackles Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams. A consistent pass rush leads to more rolling opportunities, which the Eagles would greatly appreciate.
The team plays better in the second half
For some reason, the Eagles play much better in the second half of games. This is a positive sign as it looks like the coaching staff are doing a good job making the necessary adjustments to make sure this happens. The Eagles have yet to find ways to prevent this from happening, not letting it all boil down to final training as it did on Sunday against Washington.
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Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected].