Redskins linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat remembered the size of Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters the most. Then a senior at the University of Texas, he watched him on television from the couch and began thinking, "That dude's big."
Saturday afternoon, nearly a year later, in his first primary stint on the active roster, Jeffcoat lined up against Peters and experienced his size first hand. In the second quarter of the Redskins eventual 27-24 victory, he found an opportunity to beat it.
Check out top photos from the Washington Redskins' Week 16 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at FedExField in Landover, Md.
In a 3rd and 4 situation, Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez dropped back and, after getting pressured, stepped up into the pocket. In the process he walked into Jeffcoat's first career NFL sack, a two-yard loss that forced out the Philadelphia punting unit.
"It felt great," said Jeffcoat, all smiles, after the game. "I just kept seeing [Sanchez] scoot up on me, 'Oh, he's right there. I've got to get him.' So I got out of my hold, got my hands free, got my body free."
Jeffcoat said the situation was "a pass rusher's' dream."
"It was just special to get that thing, special to help my team," he said.
On the next Eagles drive, another recent active roster promotion earned the same achievement.
Defending a nearly identical play, linebacker Trevardo Williams wrapped up Sanchez for his first-career sack, too, part of a three-tackle night that he's unlikely he'll forget.
"It's a blessing to be able to pursue my passion and to convince the coaching staff I'm a capable athlete," Williams said. "That play today was one of many to come. It was a play that was in the moment. I'm just thankful that I got a chance to go out there and play."
It seemed fitting that both Jeffcoat and Williams completed their first milestones together, both being players that have experienced the rigors and humbling realities of competing for roster spots in the NFL. Saturday, in the first of two final games to demonstrate their ability to wrap up the 2014 season, they knew they needed to make an impression.
When Jeffcoat recorded his sack, Williams felt compelled to keep pace.
"I was kind of envious of that because he went out there and did his thing and got himself a sack," Williams said. "I felt like it was my turn because we both are in the same position. We both love to have fun playing ball. It was just a miracle in disguise."
Even in the midst of cornerback Bashaud Breeland's late-game interception and wide receiver DeSean Jackson's two big pass completions, the linebackers' accomplishments weren't overlooked by their teammates.
As Jeffcoat answered questions, defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Chris Baker couldn't contain themselves. "Jeffcoat to the podium!" they yelled joyfully.
He was content to discuss his sack by his locker, however.
"Oh yeah, it loosened me up a lot," Jeffcoat said of tackling Sanchez. "I'm like, 'Man, I can do this'…to play my assignments freely without having to overthink, just settle down and play."
Williams, of course, felt the same way.
"It really broke some barriers down," he said. "At first I was concerned about my injuries and stuff like that, concerned whether I'm going to be able to compete with these guys. But I proved that wrong today."