Here's five takeaways from the Washington Redskins' Week 14 27-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles that took place at Lincoln Financial Field.
1. Ryan Kerrigan ends the Eagles' comeback attempt with a strip sack.While the Redskins took back the lead on the first play after the fourth quarter's two-minute warning, the Eagles still had time to potentially produce a game-winning drive.
The chances of that appeared increasing as the minutes ticked down, as the Eagles marched into Redskins territory after just four plays.
Then, Philadelphia got even closer to scoring range, getting the ball down to the 14-yard line with 21 seconds left.
But as Carson Wentz dropped back to survey the field on second down, Kerrigan went around the right tackle unimpeded not only for his 11th sack of the season, but he also forced the ball out of the rookie quarterback's hands before Trent Murphy recovered the ball to seal the Redskins' victory.
"[I] had him pretty squared up at the point, and I'm just saying [to myself], 'Hold on to the ball, hold on to the ball,'" Kerrigan said after the game. "Fortunately was able to get it out, and ultimately get it back. We've forced a lot of fumbles this year as a team, but we haven't recovered a lot of them. That was equally as big, the recovery."
It was the kind of play the Redskins' defense needed after a few recent tough outings, highlighted by the struggles to create turnovers.
"We gave them a couple of chunk yards there and they drove down the field, but they still had to get it in the end zone and we knew that," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of the final drive. "We just kept rushing and changing up our coverages a little bit. [We] played some man, played some zone and got the sack [by] Ryan Kerrigan, of course."
2. DeSean Jackson reminds Philadelphia about his game-changing speed and ball tracking.
After the offense failed to gain any traction out halftime with a three-and-out on the unit's first appearance of the third quarter, Jackson showcased once again his ability to change games.
With the Eagles still up 13-7 midway through the third frame, Kirk Cousins dropped back to let go of a deep pass intended for Jackson. While it wasn't Cousins' most accurate throw, Jackson adjusted with a Willie Mays-like catch over his shoulder before jogging into the end zone.
"Like I said, the route and the play is a vertical, then go to the middle of the field," Jackson said of the play. "I didn't see the safety, the safety wasn't there. I guess he was pulled down by Jamison Crowder, and that's a lot of room out there with no guys around. The safety was gone so it was just me and the cornerback, so I ran it to the post. It was slightly thrown to the backside shoulder so I just made an adjustment. I don't know how clean I caught it, but I caught it and the rest speaks for itself."
It was Jackson's 22nd touchdown of 60 yards or longer, putting his second in NFL history. He's only one behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most.
The three-time Pro Bowler also had a toe-touching 21-yard catch later in the quarter to give him more than 100-yards on the game.
"It was actually an all-go special switch route," Jackson said of the grab. "You have Vernon [Davis] and Jamison coming up the field, they were switch releasing. The corner got pulled in and took Vernon Davis, and I kind of just had a wide and split. The corner sunk in on Vernon and I was wide open. He threw a ball in there and I just tried my best to keep my feet in there. They challenged it and I'm just happy to say that it was upheld and [the officiating crew] gave me a catch."
The two plays showed off his "elite traits."
"That's tough to defend when you're running with him stride for stride trying to run full speed, and you also have to find the football, and also have to try and play the ball," Gruden said of Jackson's 80-yard touchdown. "Great play by DeSean, and one of the reasons he's an elite player."
3. The running back tandem helped balance the offense.
No, the Redskins didn't rush for 200 yards like they did the last time they faced the Eagles, but Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson both had effective days out of the backfield.
Kelley's hard running on his 16 carries for 63 yards was highlighted by a 22-yard touchdown run, while Thompson finished off the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown off a pitch.
It was the first time since Week 7 of the 1991 season that the Redskins had multiple players score rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or longer in a single game.
Additionally, Kelley caught two passes for 25 yards after failing to get his hands on a few catches in recent weeks.
"I think the best part, was for me to go out there and show that I can catch the ball a little," Kelley said. "I had a few games where I dropped the ball, so I had to focus on catching balls and making plays in the passing game a little more today."
As for Thompson, his touchdown run allowed the shifty fourth-year veteran the opportunity to get out into open space. From there, few can match his speed.
"I was hoping for five, six, seven yards and run the clock down to get a field goal but the touchdown was great," Gruden said.
Added Kelley: "I've been telling them all the time, I can't wait to see him get in open field, cause I already know what he can do."
"Other people probably don't know what he can do, but I knew what he can do and that was a prime example," Kelley said. "I wish they would have called it like on our own 20 and let him go out there and run. That's someone we're praising all year and he finally gave it to him and he made it happen."
4. The entire offense benefitted from the return of Trent Williams.
For the first time since the Redskins' 27-27 tie with the Bengals in late October, Williams was back on the field Sunday after serving a four-game suspension.
Check out the images from the postgame celebration after the Redskins win against the Eagles!
While Ty Nsekhe admirably held down the left tackle position in Williams' absence, the 2010 first-round pick played like the All-Pro he's become in recent seasons.
He anchored an offensive line that allowed Cousins ample time to get off some key throws while the running backs really enjoyed his blocking on outside runs.
On Thompson's touchdown off the pitch, Williams was out front pushing Eagles defenders out of the way.
"He kept backing up because you don't want to take that on," said Thompson, referencing Williams' lead block. "He was just trying to make a play to wait for his guys to come up. … You all guys know what he can do. What he's been doing for years now. He just told me before the play, he said 'Follow me.' So that's what I did. I didn't have to do any work on that play but run fast. Do what I get paid to do."
Williams' impact, though, went beyond what happened between the lines, as he also gave a fiery pregame talk to the team before kickoff.
"Trent gave a speech pregame about there's always going to be adversity when you go out there playing in the NFL," center John Sullivan said. "So how we handle that, when times get tough – do we execute and stay the course? When you do that, like today, good things happen and you come out with wins."
5. Deshazor Everett made a key interception, but was also apologetic for what happened on Darren Sproles' punt return.
About halfway through the first quarter, the Eagles were looking to extend their already 3-0 lead to an even bigger advantage. With the Redskins' back against the wall on third-and-goal, it was an almost certainty that Philadelphia would come away with at least three points.
Then Everett took advantage of increased playing time with Will Blackmon inactive, scooping up his first career interception.
"I was just working my technique all week and I've been working with J-No [Josh Norman] on my coverage," Everett said. "You know that's what they brought me in the game for, just to specifically cover the tight end. I studied that a lot and based on the split and the stem that I got, I just was really just sitting and [Wentz] threw the ball. You've got to make a play when you get an opportunity and I made the play when I needed to."
Everett's day was far from over, though, as his name would resurface in the fourth quarter after a 15-yard penalty was called on the Texas A&M product after he made contact with Sproles before he could haul in the ball.
A brief scuffle ensued after the play before the teams were split up and told to go back to their own benches.
"I did not see him fair catch for the ball at all," Everett admitted. "I thought the ball was right there in front of me when I went for the tackle. But, unfortunately, it was not. The ball hit me in the back as you can tell. Football is a split-second game and unfortunately I did not make the right decision but I was just giving my full effort to go out there and make the tackle."
While Everett wasn't able to speak with Sproles after the game, he sent his condolences to the 12th-year veteran.
"It definitely wasn't intentional for me to just try to take a guy out of the game or anything like that," Everett said. "I was just out there trying to play football."