The Philadelphia Eagles were expected to blow the Washington Commanders out of Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football, and for the first two minutes, it looked like all those predictions were about to come true.
Disaster struck for the Commanders just four plays into the game. Josh Sweat breezed by Charles Leno and walloped Taylor Heinicke, who fumbled the ball as he crashed to the ground. Three plays later, Philadelphia was in the end zone off a touchdown run from Jalen Hurts.
And yet Washington, which has kept itself in games for the past month with a strong run game coupled with a defense that seems to have found itself after a poor start to the season, was not rattled by the early deficit.
That formula is what Washington stuck to all night, and by the end of the primetime matchup, the Commanders came away from Philadelphia with a 32-21 upset win over the Eagles.
Check out the photos of the Washington Commanders taking on the Philadelphia Eagles for their night matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
The plan for Washington (5-5) heading into the game against what many consider to be the best team in the NFL was to give Hurt as few opportunities as possible. That is exactly what the Commanders did after the 7-0 deficit, and they proceeded to dominate the time of possession, 40:24-19:36. They insisted upon pounding the ground game to the tune of 49 attempts, which is the most for a Washington team since 2001.
Half of the Commanders' yardage came from the run game, which was anchored by the tandem of Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson, who combined for 130 of the team's 152 yards.
The other half of the offensive production came mostly from Terry McLaurin, who had one of the best performances of his career with eight receptions for 128 yards -- the most he has had in a single game since Week 15 of the 2019 season.
Defensively, Washington remains the only team to hold the Eagles to less than 100 rushing yards in a game with 94 yards allowed. But the real story is the turnovers that Washington created against a team that had infamously excelled at protecting the football. The Commanders created four takeaways -- one interception and three fumble recoveries -- which is more than the Eagles had given up all year.
The Commanders wasted little time in getting on the board after their rough start. They marched 13 plays downfield and capped off a 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown to Gibson. It became a common theme for the Commanders, as they orchestrated four straight drives of at least eight plays and scored on all of them, including a career high 58-yard field goal from Joey Slye.
Meanwhile, the Eagles were on a roller coaster. A pass interference call led to them retaking the lead off a pass from Hurts to Dallas Goedert. That is when the turnovers started, because after Washington had cut into the lead with a field goal, Darrick Forrest grabbed his second pick of the season on a pass intended for A.J. Brown.
Washington scored 10 more points in the final two minutes, including a one-yard rush by Robinson -- the second of his career. Slye's 58-yarder gave the Commanders a 20-14 lead at halftime.
Washington tacked onto its lead with another field goal from Slye -- a 32-yarder. Washington had a nine-point lead, but fans remember being in a similar position last week against the Minnesota Vikings. The Commanders blew the lead in the Week 9 matchup, and it looked like that was going to happen again.
First, DeVonta Smith scored on an 11-yard reception to top off an 80-yard drive. Heinicke threw an interception on the following drive, giving Philadelphia a massive swing in momentum.
But turnovers, which Philadelphia had avoided all year, finally caught up with the team. John Ridgeway forced a fumble from Goedert six plays into their drive. Washington lost yards on the play but still managed to extend its lead with a 55-yard field goal from Slye. The Eagles then fumbled again after a 50-yard bomb to Quez Watkins, and while Washington did not do much with the opportunity, it did bleed more than two minutes off the clock.
Washington got the chance to essentially ice the game with 1:45 left to play after Brandon Graham hit Heinicke, who had already given himself up, for an unnecessary roughness call. A desperate attempt by Philadelphia to pull off a comeback with five seconds left ended about as bad as it possibly could for the home team, as Smith's lateral pass fell harmlessly to the ground and was picked up by Casey Toohill and recovered in the end zone.
There are no more undefeated teams left in the NFL, and you can thank the Commanders for that.