The Redskins came in with the NFL’s fifth-overall ranked offense, by far the best the Eagles had faced since the Week 4 loss to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Despite a harrowing fourth quarter that required a last-minute interception, the Eagles defense answered the call and showcased that it is, in fact, for real.
Everything was clicking for the Eagles defense early on. The pass rush was ferocious and recorded three sacks of quarterback Robert Griffin III, including two by linebacker
“Yeah, we did dominate for three quarters,” said Barwin. “We gave up a little bit in the run game, which we have to go look at. We can’t do that. When you have a quarterback like (Griffin III), he got out of the pocket on a busted play and once they got that first score, it kind of gave them some momentum and they were right back in the game.”
The play Barwin referred to, a 62-yard touchdown reception by Redskins fullback Darrell Young, occurred when Griffin III escaped the pocket and rolled to the far left sideline. He lofted a pass to Young, who caught the ball behind Trent Cole around the Eagles’ 30-yard line, then evaded a tackle attempt from
“Everybody just stayed the course,” linebacker
That second big pass the Redskins hit on was a 41-yard touchdown from Griffin III to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, who stopped in the end zone, let
“In the NFL, you have to play four solid quarters,” said defensive coordinator Bill Davis. “Four, not three. There are always going to be momentum swings. Our guys stepped up and were mature about it. Nobody ever really panicked. They were making some plays at the end, and we had to step up and make a play, and the guys did. We had some nice pressure at the end with a four-man rush, and then Brandon (Boykin) stepped up and made a great play.”
"We just had tight coverage and we were scrambling," Boykin said of the final play. "They were going no-huddle, and we were kind of in a double-team on my side so when the receiver went out I was free, and I just saw the ball floating in the air and I was like, “Is this real life? Wow.” I didn’t care if I had to run into my own teammate, I wanted to go up and try to make a play and end the game, and that’s what happened."
For the seventh straight game, the Eagles defense held its opponent to 21 points or fewer, as the team moved to 5-2 in that span. Gut-wrenching as it ended up being finishing off the pesky Redskins, the Eagles defense was able to close out the victory to ensure a 6-5 record and first place in the NFC East going into the bye week. All is well that ends well, as they say.
“It’s nice that the defense is getting better every week,” Davis said. “The points are what we really focus on, and the points were really low there for a while and then in the fourth quarter it slipped away from us. The guys just keep fighting, and they hang together. They’re growing as a group, and it’s fun to watch. We’ve got to finish this thing the right way.”
Five games remain in the 2013 season, and the Philadelphia Eagles, in large part thanks to a stingy, opportunistic defense that has come a long way, controls its own destiny.