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Clutch Defense Leads Eagles To Week 1 Win


The Eagles halted their five-game losing streak to Washington and improved to 1-0 in thrilling fashion after a 30-17 win at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

Defensive end Brandon Graham and tackle Fletcher Cox teamed up for what would be the game-clinching play. Graham wrestled his way to lay a violent hit on quarterback Kirk Cousins that forced the ball to come free, Cox cleaned up the mess and returned the ball 20 yards for the game-sealing touchdown. Quarterback Carson Wentz led the Eagles on offense, going 26-of-39 for 307 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Tight end Zach Ertz led the way with eight receptions for 93 yards, while Nelson Agholor and LeGarrette Blount each netted receiving touchdowns.

Wentz started the Eagles' offense off on a promising note on the team's opening drive. Wentz danced his way through the pocket, dodging back-to-back sack attempts and while off-balanced, threw a beautiful pass to find Agholor along the left side for a 58-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

On the ensuing Redskins possession, Cox beat his man inside to strip-sack quarterback Kirk Cousins. The ball was recovered by linebacker Jordan Hicks at the Philadelphia 37-yard line. The offense, however, would put the defense back on the field sooner than expected as a backwards pass from Wentz was thrown just outside the reach of Agholor and resulted in a fumble. Redskins linebacker Mason Foster recovered the ball at the 50-yard line.

With just three minutes to go in the first quarter, the Redskins forced an Eagles punt, but returner Jamison Crowder muffed the ball and it was recovered by tight end Trey Burton at the Redskins' 39 yard-line. Early in the second, the Eagles struck the scoreboard again. This time, Wentz found Blount for a 1-yard touchdown pass that gave the Eagles a two-score lead. Caleb Sturgis missed the extra point which kept the score at 13-0.

Later, on second-and-10 at the Philadelphia 20, Wentz had his pass intended for running back Darren Sproles deflected by defensive lineman Stacy McGee and intercepted by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who returned the ball 24 yards for a Redskins score. Dustin Hopkins connected on the extra point which made the mark 13-7 with over eight minutes to go in the half.

With just over a minute left in the first half, running back Chris Thompson gave the Redskins the lead off a feed from Cousins. Thompson broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone for a 29-yard score which gave Washington its first lead of the game at 14-13. Sturgis, though, connected on a 50-yard field goal as time expired which gave the Birds the lead heading into the locker room.

The Eagles ended the half with a few injuries. Cornerback Ronald Darby went down with an ankle injury early in the second quarter and was carted off the field and did not return. Tackle Jason Peters also left the game late in the second period with a groin injury and was replaced by Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Peters played one snap in the third quarter before going back to the bench for good.

To start the second half, Sturgis knocked in a 42-yarder that put the Birds up 19-14. On the Redskins' next drive, Tim Jernigan tussled his way inside to drag down Cousin for a sack and 6-yard loss on the play midway through the third at the Washington 19-yard line. The Redskins later trooped their way to Eagles' red zone, but the defense came away with a stop on third-down and forced a Washington 33-yard kick that made the tally 19-17 in favor of the Eagles.

In the final period, the Eagles' defense made a defining statement, holding the Redskins scoreless in the fourth. Cornerback Jalen Mills made his presence known when he intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for Crowder. Sturgis gave the Eagles a five-point lead on another field goal, his third of the day. The Redskins had one final attempt to win the game, but Graham's strip and Cox's touchdown scoop-and-score cemented the game. Graham put the finishing touches on the game when he sacked Cousins yet again in the final seconds.  

The Eagles improved to 1-0 on the season and will head to play Kansas City in Week 2.

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Washington Redskins, 30-17, at FedEx Field in their season opener. Check out photos from the victory.

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