Good morning, Eagles fans! Happy Victory Monday to all! The Eagles defeated the Washington Redskins by a score of 37-27 on Sunday at FedEx Field with another end-of-game comeback. The Eagles are now 7-7 with a battle for first place in the NFC East against the Dallas Cowboys on the horizon. In this edition of Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft, we will cover all the action from the Eagles' second straight victory. Let's get right into the most notable stories.
1. Eagles set stage for NFC East showdown against Dallas with another Wentz-led comeback
A team that was 0-7 in games in which it trailed in the fourth quarter has now won two straight games when trailing in the fourth. quarterback Carson Wentz is the primary reason why, as he's been able to thrive with a constantly changing cast of characters catching the football. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro goes inside the locker room for the team’s immediate reaction to the comeback victory.
"I feel like Carson's done a great job trusting everyone," tight end Zach Ertz said. "The coaches have done a great job putting guys in position to be successful. The running game has picked up the past couple of weeks. Miles is playing his butt off, adding a spark. Boston, the same thing. I feel like we're hitting our stride at the right time, but obviously no bigger game than this week."
2. Eagles still control what happens in the NFC East
The Los Angeles Rams didn't provide the Eagles any help on Sunday, getting routed by the Dallas Cowboys, 44-21.
Both the Eagles and the Cowboys are 7-7. The two teams meet next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field at 4:25 p.m. The Eagles must beat the Cowboys. If they do, a win at the New York Giants in Week 17 secures the NFC East division title. If the Cowboys beat the Eagles, they clinch the NFC East no matter what happens in Week 17.
The Eagles need to have a better record than the Cowboys at the end of the regular season. If the Eagles win next week but lose to the Giants, then a Dallas win at home over Washington in Week 17 would still give the Cowboys the tiebreaker edge for the division crown.
Bottom line, if the Eagles handle their business, then they will be back in the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
3. Greg Ward's first touchdown comes at the perfect time
With 32 seconds left in the game, quarterback Carson Wentz lofted a 4-yard pass to the back, left corner of the end zone which wide receiver Greg Ward hauled in for his first career touchdown. That was Ward's fourth reception on that drive alone, adding to his 61-yard performance. The go-ahead touchdown ultimately secured the Eagles' win, keeping their playoff push alive.
"I don't know what they were doing, all I knew is I was getting open," Ward said. "I was just trying to make a play and me and Carson were able to connect. I got good leverage on Norman and it was a race to the pylon."
The wide receiver came up clutch when the team needed him, after spending most of the season on the team's practice squad. Ward was called back up to the active roster on November 23 (he made his NFL debut in Week 3 against Detroit) and saw limited action until the Monday night win over the Giants in which he had four catches for 34 yards. On Sunday, he tied Zach Ertz for the most receiving yards on the team with 61. His first career touchdown may be exactly what the Eagles needed, and the ball is going to the person who deserves it the most.
"Of course, I have it," Ward said when asked about his first touchdown football. "It's going straight to my mom (Mary). I'll probably ship it off tomorrow."
4. A record-setting day for Miles Sanders
In the aftermath of setting Eagles' rookie records previously held by the likes of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy, running back Miles Sanders stood at the press conference podium at FedEx Field and deflected the attention. He had just carried the ball 19 times for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown and he chipped in with six receptions for 50 yards and a score, and yet Sanders just wanted to move on to the next challenge – the Dallas Cowboys.
"It's a blessing, man. This stuff doesn't feel real, but I don't want to make this about me," Sanders said. "It's great to be mentioned with those guys, to be in the same conversation as those guys, but I was focused on getting this W. We know what we have at stake. We know what's in front of us and I was just trying to get the W."
Sanders' 172 total yards from scrimmage gave him 1,434 all-purpose yards, the most among 2019 NFL rookies. Sanders' 1,120 yards from scrimmage surpassed Jackson's 1,008 in 2008. Sanders now leads the Eagles with 667 rushing yards, passing McCoy's old rookie mark of 637 in 2009.
As he's done throughout the season, Sanders improved as the game went along on Sunday in Philadelphia's 37-27 victory. His 56-yard run in the fourth quarter set up a Carson Wentz touchdown pass to Zach Ertz to put the Eagles ahead 24-21 and he answered every call the offense had for him in his season-most 25-touch afternoon. In his rookie season, Sanders is becoming the workhorse running back, especially with his partner, Jordan Howard out since the Bears game in early November.
"I mean, obviously I'm going to go out there and do my job regardless, but when you have guys banged up like that and the type of season I'm having, I was going to go out there and say, 'Put the game on my shoulders and let's go ball out.' But I can't do that without the O-line doing what they do," Sanders said. "We have an all-star O-line and they played a hell of a game today.
"I'm working my way to be that (a workhorse back). I'm still a rookie, still learning, getting better each week, but this game is special. This is a dream come true to me, but I couldn't have done this without my offensive line and everybody on our offense."
Sanders was on the receiving end of a spectacular Wentz touchdown pass, a play that saw Wentz spin out of trouble in the pocket, roll to his right, and fire a laser to Sanders in the back of the end zone. Not known as an especially strong pass catcher coming out of Penn State, Sanders made the grab in the corner of the end zone and got his backside down inbounds for the 15-yard scoring play.
He now has 42 receptions for the season, along with three touchdowns, and none were prettier than that one.
"I had a regular flat route. Carson started scrambling, so I tried to get in the back of the end zone. I tried to stay in the corner because the linebacker that was on me thought I was going to go across the end zone. I'm happy Carson saw me and I just tried to make a good catch."
He did, and he made plenty of other good catches and runs in a game when the Eagles leaned on the rookie running back and Sanders delivered every time, establishing himself in the franchise's record books on the way to Sunday's NFC East showdown at Lincoln Financial Field against Dallas.
5. Carson Wentz delivers another clutch performance
Trailing Washington 27-24 with 4:52 remaining and with three starters on offense inactive, quarterback Carson Wentz helped will his team to a win for a second week in a row. Wentz was 8-of-8 for 70 yards on the go-ahead drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ward. In the fourth quarter and overtime of the wins over New York and Washington in the past two weeks, Wentz completed 28-of-35 pass attempts (80 percent) for 284 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions for a 138.6 passer rating.
"The team's resilient. We realize our backs were against the wall just like last week," Wentz said. "It's do-or-die right now and make or break, our guys stepped up and kept making plays. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, our guys just kept believing."
Wentz proved to be resilient after losing a fumble that Washington recovered at the Eagles' 34-yard line. The defense held Washington to a field goal to make it 27-24.
"I was definitely frustrated with myself," Wentz said. "I have to protect the ball, especially given the situation we were in. Putting the defense in a tough spot. But, like I said, guys just kept believing. I didn't lose faith or confidence at all. I just wanted one more chance to go down and the defense gave that to us."
On the day, Wentz was 30-of-43 for 266 yards with three touchdowns for a 109.3 quarterback rating. It was his fourth game with three touchdowns as well as a QB rating of 100 or more this season.
Wentz's biggest throw was the game-winner to Ward, but his most impressive throw was the dart to running back Miles Sanders in the back corner of the end zone in the third quarter. Wentz spun out of trouble and threaded the ball along the sideline past two Washington defenders to Sanders, who secured the ball and fell on the ground in bounds to get the points.
"I saw him sitting in the back. I knew it was tight, I had to let it rip. I got a little nervous when I let it go, but I was pretty excited," Wentz said.
6. Doug Pederson continues to preach the 'must-win game' mentality
Head coach Doug Pederson has been able to keep his team's playoff hopes alive. After winning the second of the final four NFC East divisional matchups on Sunday, his sights are set on continuing that trend. The idea of controlling their own destiny is still very much in play. If the Eagles win out, they will be NFC East Champions. Pederson acknowledges that they have put themselves in this situation, but his team's resilience over the past two weeks has spoken for itself.
"I think where we were just a couple of weeks ago, we understood as a team we kind of dug ourselves in a hole," Pederson said. "We knew what was in front of us. Every week was a playoff-type game – I mean a must-win type game. It's just the way our schedule is right now. We are finishing with the last two and now two in front division games. It's something that we were dealt. We dealt ourselves this situation.
"I don't think it's going to take much motivation this week. Our guys are excited to get through this game and this win. It is difficult to win in this league, especially our division. We just got to come to work this week again in preparation for another hard-fought battle and a win."
7. Defense comes up big in the end
Washington's rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins had his best day as a pro, completing 67.9 percent of his pass attempts for 261 yards, two touchdowns, and a 121.3 passer rating. Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has a career day as well with 130 receiving yards on five catches and a touchdown. Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson added a touchdown on the ground.
The Eagles' defense struggled to contain Washington's offense, one of the league's worst statistically, for most of the day. The first four times following an Eagles scoring drive, the defense allowed Washington to get the ball and answer with points. But when the Eagles turned the ball over deep in their own territory with 6:28 remaining in a 24-24 game, the defense stepped up.
Cornerback Avonte Maddox made a key tackle on Washington wide receiver Steven Sims on a third-and-10 just short of the sticks to limit the damage to a field goal. Then, after Greg Ward's go-ahead touchdown, Maddox blitzed on the final play from scrimmage, a Hail Mary attempt. Haskins made his only mistake of the day, trying to lateral the ball in a panic. Linebacker Nigel Bradham scooped up the ball and returned the fumble 47 yards for a touchdown.
"As a team, we have to do whatever it takes to win," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "The style points don't give you an extra win."
Head coach Doug Pederson knows that the Eagles must shore things up with Dallas coming to town, a team that put up 44 points on Sunday in its win over the Rams and hung 37 on the Eagles earlier this season.
"I thought Haskins really stepped in and did a nice job, really today, and led his team," Pederson said. "It was something that you know he is capable of doing that obviously and he is in this league for a reason. We have got to do better, look at the tape, make the corrections, and we got to tighten some guys up."
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' Week 15 clash against the Washington Redskins.
8. Game Recap: Eagles escape Washington with a 37-27 victory!
Another unsung hero who pushed the Eagles closer to a playoff berth. Wide receiver Greg Ward beat former All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman on a 50/50 ball in the back, left corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown, a 4-yard score, with just 26 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles over Washington 37-27 on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field. Chris McPherson has the full recap here.