*Jordan Reed continued his dominance this season, rattling off another record-breaking performance to help the Redskins become NFC East champions. *
After most of his teammates had left the locker room, and the celebratory dancing, music and slapping of hands had migrated with them, tight end Jordan Reed stood by his locker shaking his head and smiling, trying to contemplate the reality of the "NFC East Champions" hat on top of his head.
"It feels awesome. It feels amazing," Reed said. "Everything we've been through all year, all the injuries, all the ups and downs all season -- to come out on top it's a great feeling."
Reed knows about the bottom, about missing time to injuries for prolonged periods of time and seeing his team fall short, persistent suffering that has made his breakout 2015 season all the more gratifying, as an individual and as part of a team.
And so, in the Redskins' 38-24 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night, it seemed only acceptable that the culmination of an NFC East Championship would align with another record-breaking performance, the kind fans have grown accustomed to as the season came to its end.
Heading into Saturday with three touchdowns in his last two games, Reed continued his dynamic stretch of play against an Eagles defense missing some key starters and any sort of game plan to stop Washington's most potent receiving threat down the stretch. The tight end caught a team-high nine passes for a season-high 129 yards and two touchdowns, both of which he collected in the first quarter.
"Just being on the field, being available," Reed said of why he's had so much success. "I feel like I could have done this years in the past, I just kept getting hurt and things. God blessed me to stay healthy this season and I've been taking advantage of it."
His performance broke the Redskins single-season receiving yardage record of 849, set last by Chris Cooley in 2010. He also tied Cooley for most receptions by tight end in a single season with 83 and became the third member of the Redskins to post two or more receiving touchdowns in back-to-back contests in a single season.
In the last month or so, this kind of game has become the norm, thanks to an increased rapport between Reed and quarterback Kirk Cousins. As head coach Jay Gruden said last Wednesday, "it's really become a thing of beauty the last few weeks. It's just going to get better and better the more they work together."
The progression continued on the Redskins second drive of the game, first with a pass down the right seam that Reed collected for 28 yards and then three plays later, with a 22-yard strike over the middle of the field that Reed collected, then abruptly spinning his way through defenders for the first touchdown of the night.
With the score, Reed became the first member of the Redskins to record 10 receiving touchdowns in a single season since Gary Clark in 1991. It was just the eighth time a member of the Redskins recorded 10 receiving touchdowns in a season in team history, joining Jerry Smith (12 in 1967) as the only Redskins tight ends to accomplish the feat.
"I've seen a lot of confidence man, a lot of confidence and growth in him," Reed said of Cousins. "I think he's one of the best QB's in the league and he could beat one of the best and get us to a championship. So I trust Kirk a lot. I got a lot of confidence in him. He got a lot of confidence in us."
Three receptions later, Reed added his second touchdown of the day and 11th of the year, thanks to a 12-yard touchdown pass. Reed lined up to the left of Cousins in the slot, and used a stick move against linebacker Mychal Kendricks to get open for the score.
He finished his first quarter with five catches, 87 yards and two touchdowns, and gave the Eagles something to think about for the rest of the evening, opening up opportunities for wide receiver Pierre Garçon and running back Pierre Thomas.
The victory, hard-earned and easily handled, had made all those stats and records worth it. Acting as the backbone of a tight end position that had lost so many to injury this entire season, Reed remained sturdy, but for a moment, looking at a locker room that had found jubilance once again, took a load off.
"It's euphoria right now. It's a great feeling – amazing," Reed said. "We came out on top. We fought together, played a strong game all three phases, and we're the champs."