Sitting at 6-2 after last week’s defeat of the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins march onto Lincoln Financial field in Philadelphia to battle the Eagles for 1st place within the NFC East. The Skins have amazing stats thus far this season which hint at the club’s great record. The Skins are the third least-penalized team in the NFL, they lead the league with 9 interceptions, their offense is the 8th best and their defense 7th best. Joe Gibbs is looking to continue their streak of perfection within the NFC East and improve to 7-2 for the year.
The Eagles 1st play of the game is a Michael Westbrook run up the gut for a 7-yard gain. On 2nd down, Adam Archuleta hunkers down to Andre Carter and shows his intent to blitz. In reaction to Archuleta, McNabb audibles; Adam runs to the opposite side of the line and gets into the backfield as soon as the ball leaves the center’s hand. #59 Cole, who was supposed to pull/block for Westbrook, has to go into the backfield to block Archuleta, allowing Griffin to run free and tackle Westbrook for a loss of 1 yard. On 3rd and 4th, McNabb tosses a screen to Westbrook who converts after dragging Carlos Rogers for 2 yards. It is apparent that Westbrook is going to get plenty of work in today’s game as nobody else has touched the ball yet. The Eagles stay in a 3WR set and have a fresh set of downs. Lemar Marshall, who is lined up behind Andre Carter, comes in on the blitz on 1st down. He meets Kenny Wright at the QB and gets the sack for a loss of 7 yards. On 2nd down, Archuleta tackles Westbrook on a dump-off play for minimal gain. On 3rd and 17, Marshall blitzes but is picked up; the confusion allows Carter to get to McNabb and force the pass. The hurried pass is thrown behind Donte Stallworth, who has to run back to the ball, ending up 2 yards shy of the conversion because of it after being shoved out of bounds by Springs.
The Eagles are forced to punt from their 39-yard line; Antwaan Randle El is back to receive the punt and gets a 4-yard return.
The Redskins look to feature their prized RB in today’s game, and as usual, hand off to him to start the game. Portis shimmies past over-zealous Eagles who over-pursue and allow Portis 6 yards on his 1st run. On 2nd down, Brunell’s 1st pass to Lloyd is almost picked by #51 McCoy, but he drops it to the relief of Mark Brunell. 3rd and 4 on the WAS 30-yard line, Brunell hits Antwaan Randle El out of the slot position with a strike at the 44-yard line to convert the 3rd down out of a 3WR set. Brunell fails to connect with a wide open Moss on 1st down; the ball sailing well over his and the defenders’ head. With 2nd down and 10 yards to go, Portis gets a run, cuts it back to the left and gets 8 yards. On 3rd and 2, Brunell has Lloyd and Moss to the left. The Eagles are in a zone. Thanks to great coverage, Brunell runs it for a conversion. 1st and 10 at the Eagles’ 30-yard line, Brunell drops back with Lloyd and Moss to his right. Portis runs out into the flats, Moss drags to the left, and Lloyd streaks up the sideline. Brunell cocks back and slings a bomb over top of #24 Sheldon Browns’ head; Lloyd makes a leaping catch for the TD. Eagles’ fans boo as is the custom in Philadelphia.
Philly takes the ball at their 20-yard line after Novak’s kick sails into the end-zone. Brian Westbrook runs to the right, stiff-arms Springs and runs over Adam Archuleta before being wrestled to the ground for a 9-yard gain. Another run by Westbrook to the left is for a loss of 2 yards after Sean Taylor catches him being indecisive in the backfield, punishing him for it. On 3rd and 2, the Skins get caught in a bad position as McNabb tosses a scoring TD to #84 Baskett. Baskett is being covered by Taylor, who is not able to catch up to him and gets caught looking into the backfield.
Antwaan Randle El takes the kick-off at the 1-yard line, against the advice of Rock Cartwright, and returns it to the 29-yard line.
Brunell hands off to Portis and loses a yard on a run to the left, and is tackled by McCoy. On 2nd down, he loses another yard as the Eagles defense is getting a push on the Skins offensive line. At 3rd and 12, Jon Jansen is beat badly by Jevon Kearse, forcing Brunell to throw a pass into the dirt.
The Redskins punt from their 27-yard line, which is returned for 18 yards to the Eagles’ 45.
On 1st down, Brian Westbrook runs for 10 yards and the 1st down. A counter to the left with Westbrook is considered a loss of one yard as Marcus Washington and the rest of the Skins LB read the play and get into the backfield. On 2nd and 11, the Eagles run play action; Westbrook is handed the ball and runs into Andre Carter, allowing Marcus Washington to grab his arm and slow him enough to allow Springs to spin him around and to the ground.With 13 yards to go on 3rd down, McNabb’s aim is to connect with #83 Lewis on a slant, but he slams into Kenny Wright. McNabb throws the ball in anticipation of Lewis’ arrival, with only Adam Archuleta there. However, Adam fails to intercept the ball, instead he simply bats the ball down, forcing to Eagles to punt.
The Refs place the ball where it went out of bounds at the 25-yard line. The Skins’ inability to run the ball as they see fit continues as Portis is met in the backfield by #98 Patterson for a loss of 3 yards. The Skins’ offensive line is simply not showing up today. On 3rd and 13, Brunell is flushed from the pocket to his left. Moss is running a drag route 2 yards beyond the 1st down marker and gets a strike from Brunell. He was left wide open as Lloyd breaks from his route, taking 3 Eagles’ defenders with him down the sideline. It is clear that Lloyd’s last TD is still fresh in the minds of the Eagles’ defense. On 1st down, Portis gets 7 yards on his run up the gut. The Skins continue to run the ball regardless of its effectiveness. On 2nd down, Brunell connects on a 12-yard pass to Sellers for the 1st. The ball is on Philly’s 36-yard line with 3 minutes left, and Brunell is sacked on a jail-break by Kearse. On 2nd and 16, Portis gains 5 to make it 3rd and 11. Patten drops a beautiful pass at the Eagles’ 18-yard line, forcing the Skins to punt.
Frost punts the ball, and it is downed by Jimoh at the Eagles’ 4-yard line with 1:50 to go in the half.
The Skins’ defense audibles, forcing the Eagles to jump off-side, placing themselves back at their 2-yard line. Brian Westbrook gets 4 yards to give the Eagles more breathing room. Philly false-starts again, pinning themselves at their 3-yard line on 2nd down. Westbrook gets another run, gaining 8 yards. 3rd and 3, and the Eagles put Stallworth in motion to the left. The play is a handoff to WB, who is met by an untouched Marshall for a loss of 3.
Eagles punt. Antwaan Randle El misjudges the punt, and it goes over his head and rolls to the Skins’ 35.
Brunell comes right back and connects with Antwaan on a 20+ yard pass to the Eagles’ 41 with 39 seconds left. Brunell has a pass batted down after being blitzed. Passing from midfield, Brunell hits Moss with a strike at the Eagles’ 25-yard line, going of bounds with 32 seconds left. After 2 incomplete passes and poor clock management, the Skins come away with zero points. Brunell is sacked with no timeouts remaining and with no time left to usher his team back to the line of scrimmage.
Looking to show the offensive production of games past, the Redskins plan to right their run blocking problems encountered in the 1st half. Portis gets 3 yards on his 1st play of the half; as the Eagles blitz, the Skins run to the opposite side. Portis gets 6 yards on 2nd down and converts on 3rd with a yard to go. Portis gets 5 yards on 1st down and goes off for a rest. TJ Duckett comes in for Portis. Duckett gets the ball on 2nd down, powering through #97 Walker for the 1st down. The Skins are on their 44-yard line. Duckett runs a counter to the right, running right through Dawkins and dragging Lewis, for a gain of 5 yards. The Eagles cannot stop the run as Duckett powers through Dawkins and Lewis again for 5 yards up the gut. TJ gets 3 yards on his next run on 1st down. Portis comes back in after his breather and loses the 3 yards. making one wonder if the issue lies with Portis or the line. On 3rd and 10, Brunell has his pass to Cooley batted away, and the Skins punt.
Donovan McNabb moves all the way down into Skins’ territory, hoping to take advantage of the Skins’ inability to score and to take the lead. He is consistently picking on Rogers and the right side of the Skins’ defense. The Eagles are advancing in larges chunks until the Skins’ defense tightens up at the Skins’ 40-yard line. Apparently enough is enough when they send an all-out blitz on 2nd down, putting the Eagles in a 3rd and 13 situation at the 47-yard line while McNabb is sacked by Wright. On 3rd and long, Adam shows that he still has the dropsies as he drops another potential interception, causing the Eagles to punt.
The Skins have a nail-biter of a possession at their 24-yard line. The Skins know they need to score here as the Eagles continue to creep closer to the goal-line with every possession. Portis loses 3 yards on 1st down, but Moss takes a tip rope pass on 2nd to leave inches for 3rd down. Brunell changes the play at the line and runs Portis up the gut for the conversion. The viciousness of the hit he takes from Trotter forces Portis to leave the game again, heavily winded. TJ runs a sweep for minimum yardage, and the Skins are in a 3rd and 6 situation. Brunell scrambles out to his left and lofts a ball to Lloyd, over Sheppard and McCoy who are guarding the 1st down marker. The ball is now at the 40-yard line after the 22-yard catch; TJ gets seven yards and looks to finish the game as Portis ails on the sideline. TJ runs it to the 26-yard line, bruising over defenders with each step. It is clear that the heavy-handed approach is a better attack against the Eagles’ defense. On 1st down, Brunell fakes a run to TJ, stunning the Eagles; he pump-fakes, allowing the DB to catch up. Moss is wide open in the end-zone for the TD. On 2nd and 10, TJ takes a misdirection play to the left; he has Sellers and Thomas out front and drags Dawkins 5 yards to the 15-yard line and the 1st down. Brunell calls his own number on 1st down and runs it for 6 yards. With the ball at the Eagles’ 9-yard line, TJ runs it up the gut and down to the 2-yard line. After getting tagged by both Trotter and Dawkins on the last play, TJ has to limp off the field. Portis comes back in with fresh legs and gets the TD on the next play. The score leaves the Eagles with exactly two minutes left to tie the score.
The Eagles have the ball at their 20-yard line, and after 2 passes, McNabb has them at their 47-yard line. McNabb’s 3rd pass isn’t on target, and Lemar (who is spying McNabb) steps in front of #86 Brown. Taylor is headed over to the area, but Lemar gets the pick and returns it for zero yardage.
TJ is back in the game, and Gibbs goes for the throat on a play action to Moss. The pass is incomplete with one minute left on the clock. The Skins continue to handoff to TJ until time expires.
– Christopher Allen
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Christopher Allen