What a night for Will Witherspoon. He recorded his first interception of the season, his first touchdown since 2005, and his second forced fumble of the season, but more importantly, he got his first regular season win in over a year.
Witherspoon, who was acquired by the Eagles in the waning moments of the trade deadline from the St. Louis Rams, was an absolute star in front of the national audience on Monday Night Football, making two huge plays and fitting in seamlessly to the Eagles' defense.
With one minute left in the first quarter, Witherspoon picked off a ball tipped in the air by a blitzing Quintin Mikell and sauntered into the end zone to give the Eagles a commanding 14-0 lead.
"First thing is, it's great to get a win again," said Witherspoon, who was last on the right side of the score on October 19, 2008. "That's always a wonderful feeling.
"It's a great feeling any time you get to put your hands on the ball, and especially when you get a chance to score ... It's kind of a little bit surprising I guess. You can't expect to get a sack, caused fumble, interception for a touchdown. I mean, who in their right mind would kind of think that (could happen) in their first game."
Witherspoon was all over the field Monday night, displaying both speed and awareness that were clear to the naked eye. It was almost as if he had played in the defense his entire career.
"There is some similarity in the schemes from what I was running in St. Louis," Witherspoon said, when asked what made his transition so seamless. "And then the guys in the locker room were great. Any time I had a question, any time I wanted to talk about things, they were great.
"I think (having played against Washington earlier in the season with the Rams) kind of helped me. It kind of took a little study pressure off me so I could focus on learning the defense."
"He exceeded all expectations," said safety Quintin Mikell of Witherspoon. "I knew he was going to do a great job tonight, but man, I was happily surprised with all those great plays he made."
Mikell and Witherspoon were quite the team against the Redskins, combining to create two turnovers. On the Redskins' next possession following Witherspoon touchdown, the newest Eagle strip-sacked Redskins' quarterback Jason Campbell of the ball, and Mikell recovered the ball.
"We were in one of our blitz pressures and things just opened up clearly for me," Witherspoon said. "When Jason (Campbell) took off on the run, I was like okay, I have to kind of cut this angle, make sure I get it. But when (Campbell) brought the ball down, I took a hack at it and got it."
But Witherspoon said that the defense's performance tonight is only the beginning of something special.
"This defense is hungry. This is a group of guys who really want to get out there and get it done and get after guys," Witherspoon said. "It's going to get better next week and better the week after."
One thing's for sure, Witherspoon's starting to feel like he could get used to this whole winning thing.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 1:50 a.m., October 27