Philadelphia Eagles rally past Washington Football Team, clinch win with game-saving interception

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  • Philadelphia Eagles
    Philadelphia Eagles
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  • Rodney McLeod
    Rodney McLeod
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LANDOVER, Md. – The Philadelphia Eagles knew they had a chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday, but that had to begin with a win against Washington.

And once again, it was a slog.

Facing Washington for the second time in 12 days, the Eagles once again fell behind by 10 points in the first half.

This time, they rallied for a 20-16 win Sunday. That was finalized on Rodney McLeod's diving interception in the end zone with 24 seconds left as WFT desperately tried to score the game-winning touchdown.

The Eagles (9-7) can clinch a playoff spot with a Minnesota loss and either a San Francisco win or New Orleans loss later Sunday.

The Eagles weren't as dominant on the ground, in part because of Miles Sanders' absence and Jordan Howard somewhat limited with a neck injury.

But they twice scored touchdowns on fourth-down runs by Boston Scott, then got two field goals from Jake Elliott to eke out the victory.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott (35) scores a touchdown against the Washington Football Team during the first half.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott (35) scores a touchdown against the Washington Football Team during the first half.

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In all, the Eagles rushed for 119 yards, well below their average of 204 yards over the previous eight games.

The Eagles got the yards – and the defensive stops – when they needed them most. Jalen Hurts, limited the previous two games with an ankle injury, had 45 yards rushing while completing 17 of 26 passes for 214 yards.

And the defense, gashed for 230 yards in the first half as the Eagles fell behind 16-7, allowed just 82 yards in the second half.

When the two teams met 12 days ago, Washington had 237 yards total.

Sure, WFT quarterback Taylor Heinicke didn't play in the first meeting because he was on the COVID-19 list. He was 27-for-36 for 247 yards.

But the defense stiffened in the third quarter, helped by two sacks on third down – the first by Josh Sweat, the second by Genard Avery.

In addition, the Eagles stopped Washington on 4th down from their 49 as Avonte Maddox broke up a pass with 7:31 left. At the time, the Eagles were leading by a point.

Then McLeod stopped Washington's last chance.

The Eagles were able to move the ball on offense, but they came up short on a 4th-and-1 from the WFT 24 in the first quarter when Jordan Howard was stopped for no gain.

WFT's loss ended its slim chances for a playoff spot.

Now, the Eagles will wait.

"When I first heard about (clinching a playoff spot), it was every scenario was like, ‘OK, if this happens and this happens and this happens, we’re in,'" Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. "OK, what else? 'If this happens and this happens and this happens, we’re also in.’

"But every one of those things requires us winning and that’s all that we can control."

Fourth-down TDs

The Eagles could have kicked two chip-shot field goals Sunday. Instead, they went for it on 4th-and-goal and succeeded each time behind Scott.

The first time, the Eagles trailed 10-0 early in the second quarter when Scott ran the ball in from the 2. The second time, the Eagles trailed 16-7 in the third quarter when Scott ran the ball in from the 1.

Had the Eagles settled for field goals in both situations, they would have trailed by 10 entering the fourth quarter. Instead, they trailed by 2.

Another poor start by Eagles

For the second time in 12 days, the Eagles fell into a 10-0 hole against Washington.

This time, it was because of a poor defensive performance as opposed to Eagles turnovers. WFT took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, getting a touchdown on Jaret Patterson's 11-yard run.

The Eagles were then stopped on downs at Washington's 24 as Howard, playing despite a stinger suffered last week, couldn't convert on 4th-and-1.

Washington once again marched down the field. This time, the Eagles defense held once WFT got into the red zone as Slye kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2 minutes left in the first quarter.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Eagles beat Washington, await word on playoff spot