The chances were there, and the Eagles almost seized them. But in the end they came up three points short, falling to Washington 27-24 on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia's playoff hopes now hinge on Sunday's Colts-Cowboys game. With a Colts win, the Eagles can still take the NFC East in Week 17. However, the Cowboys can wrap up the division title with a victory. The Eagles cannot earn a Wild Card berth.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for 374 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive late-season performance and tight end Zach Ertz caught 15 passes, a franchise record, for 115 yards.
But Washington managed to do just enough to counter the Eagles on offense, scoring a pair of short-range touchdowns and avoiding too many costly miscues.
The first quarter flew by in just 38 minutes as both teams pounded the rock on the ground, playing hard-nosed football in the cold. Washington drove 40 yards in 12 plays on its first drive of the game and hit the scoreboard first with a 25-yard field goal after Ryan Kerrigan forced a Sanchez fumble.
On the ensuing Eagles drive, Sanchez and the offense made their jobs look easy as they marched 79 yards in just over four minutes and running back LeSean McCoy punched it in from 11 yards out for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. The Washington defense had no answer for McCoy on the whole drive, who picked up 32 yards before the first quarter was out.
Washington responded with a touchdown of its own with 19 seconds to play in the first quarter, a three-play drive that capitalized on big plays including a 28-yard touchdown run from Alfred Morris. Washington took a 10-7 lead into the second quarter.
From there, the two teams traded punts before the Eagles launched another impeccable drive. Sanchez and company ran off 15 plays in seven minutes, starting at their own 7-yard line and ending with wide receiver Riley Cooper in the end zone. The 3-yard touchdown reception gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead with just under four minutes to play, a lead they took into halftime.
The Eagles traveled to Washington to face their NFC East rivals in a crucial Week 16 showdown. Making the affair much more special, is that it's Saturday afternoon football ...
The second half began with a fumbled kickoff for Washington, but the Eagles' offense was unable to capitalize on the field position as Cody Parkey suffered a rare miss from 34 yards out.
Washington made the Eagles pay for the missed opportunity, scoring a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs from running back Darrel Young sandwiched between another Parkey miss from 46 yards to turn the 14-10 Eagles lead into a 24-14 Washington advantage with 26 seconds to play in the third quarter.
But the Eagles weren't about to let their division rivals seal the win that easily.
The offense responded with a bang to start the fourth quarter, gaining 85 yards in 11 plays punctuated by another Cooper touchdown catch, this time an impressive adjustment to a lofted Sanchez throw. The catch made it a 24-21 game, and after forcing Washington into a three-and-out, the offense launched another, even quicker drive, this time resulting in a 22-yard field goal from Cody Parkey to tie the game.
And, again, the defense came up big when it needed to, forcing Washington into yet another punt with just under three minutes to play in the game.
But the Eagles' potential game-winning drive was cut short when Sanchez threw an interception in Washington territory. Washington made use of a big catch-and-run from wide receiver Pierre Garcon to get into field goal range. From there, Forbath kicked the game-winner from 26 yards out.
The Eagles (9-6) will head to MetLife Stadium next week for the final game of the regular season against the New York Giants (5-9).