Three plays in the final quarter cost the Commanders Sunday when they lost 38-31 to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.
Tied 24-24, Washington faced a 2nd & 15 at its 20. Sam Howell had the underneath route open but chose to go to Terry McLaurin. The pass sailed a bit high and was intercepted by Reed Blankenship. Two plays later, the Commanders were down 31-24.
On a 3rd & 8 at the Eagles 40, Howell had McLaurin open and breaking toward the sideline but did not lead him well. The ball was still catchable when McLaurin didn’t make the catch.
On the next play, Howell again had McLaurin for the first down; again, the pass was not the best, but was catchable, and again, McLaurin did not make the play, turning the ball over on downs to the Eagles.
Frankly, another way of looking at the game is remembering the Eagles twice had the ball inside the Washington five and fumbled away possessions, coming away with no points on either possession.
Earlier in the 2nd quarter, the Commanders led 14-3 when the Eagles drove 68 yards and enjoyed a 1st & goal at Washington’s 3. Kenneth Gainwell got the carry, but Kam Curl stripped Gainwell of the ball, and Phidarian Mathis recovered.
But another aspect of the story was that the Commanders defense couldn’t stop the Eagles all day. Hurts passed for 319 yards, completing 29 of 38 passes for four touchdowns.
A.J. Brown was, again, a man among boys, catching 8 passes for 130 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Sam Howell finished 39-52 for 397 yards, 4 touchdowns, one interception, and one sack. Jahan Dotson led the Commanders with 8 receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown.
With the loss, the Commanders fall to 3-5, and the Eagles are now 7-1.
Frankly, had they played this way in a couple of other games, they would easily be 5-3. But for now, I suppose the phones will be ringing tomorrow as teams seek to trade with the Commanders.