The Redskins faced a 21-3 first-half deficit, but they didn't quit. Instead, they showed patience and resiliency in scoring 16 unanswered points against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at FedExField.
Philadelphia had built its lead on touchdowns, but the Redskins mostly settled for field goals in their comeback effort. In the end, the Eagles ran out the clock--converting three first downs and holding on to the ball for the final 4:52--and defeated the Redskins by a 21-19 score.
The loss dropped Washington's record to 4-9 on the season.
The defeat was especially frustrating because the Redskins dominated in most statistical categories: first downs (20-14), total yards (415-263), rushing yards (210-99) and time of possession (37:46-22:14).
Mistakes doomed the Redskins. Jason Campbell threw a pair of first-half interceptions that led to two touchdowns for the Eagles. Washington committed 11 penalties for 68 yards.
"We really hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "That part of it we can correct. We're going to have to. But I was proud of our guys and the way went after it.
"To our fans, I just want to say to them that I'm sorry we have lost this many games and certainly it's disappointing for all of us. For our team, I was proud about the way that they went after it and I think that anyone could see that."
Ladell Betts, fresh off a contract extension, proved his worth by rushing for a career-high 171 yards on 33 carries, an impressive 5.2 yards-per-carry average. Antwaan Randle El made an impact, hauling in six catches for 85 yards and a 34-yard touchdown. He also threw a 40-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd to set up a score in the second half.
The Redskins opened the game with a strong drive, mixing in runs to Betts with passes to Santana Moss and Randle El. Betts broke off runs of 19 and 13 yards, running right up the middle of Philadelphia's defense.
At the Eagles' 13-yard line, Jason Campbell overthrew a third-down pass to Brian Kozlowski, so the Redskins settled for a 31-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.
Campbell made a mistake on the Redskins' next drive. He threw a pass to Moss running a short pattern, but rookie linebacker Omar Gaither stepped in front of the throw for an interception. Gaither returned it 16 yards to the Redskins' 31-yard line.
Philadelphia took advantage of the turnover as quarterback Jeff Garcia tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end L.J. Smith.
Early in the second quarter, Washington began to move the ball again behind Betts, who picked up 20 yards on a carry to get the Redskins into Eagles' territory. On 3rd-and-12 at midfield, Moss pulled in a high throw from Campbell for an acrobatic 16-yard reception.
Later in the drive, the Redskins faced another third-down play at the Eagles' 23-yard line. Campbell threw a sideline pass to Chris Cooley, but Eagles' cornerback William James tipped the ball away and safety Michael Lewis grabbed the ball mid-air for an interception.
Lewis had open space ahead. He out-raced the Redskins down the sideline for an 84-yard return for a touchdown.
Midway through the second quarter, the Redskins got a break when Khary Campbell jarred the ball loose from the hands of punt returner Reno Mahe. Ade Jimoh pounced on the ball for the fumble recovery at midfield.
The Redskins' offense could not take advantage, though. On 3rd-and-9, Campbell's deep pass to Randle El was overthrown.
After the punt, the Eagles responded with a deep bomb from Garcia to wide receiver Reggie Brown, who hauled in the 60-yard pass ahead of Carlos Rogers and Vernon Fox. Brown was tackled at the Redskins' 16-yard line.
Three plays later, Garcia found wide receiver Donte Stallworth in the left corner of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. The score gave the Eagles a commanding 21-3 lead.
Late in the second quarter, Betts guided the Redskins' offense downfield, picking up 17 and 12 yards on two carries to move the ball into Eagles' territory again. Two false start penalties forced the Redskins in a 3rd-and-17 at the Eagles' 36-yard line.
Campbell dumped off a pass to Betts in the flat for a 9-yard pickup, getting the Redskins into field goal range. Suisham responded with a 45-yard field goal. The Redskins headed into halftime trailing 21-6.
The Redskins opened the second half with another solid drive. On his first two carries, Betts followed blocks for 14- and 11-yard pickups yards. Then, on a 3rd-and-3 play, Campbell found Randle El for a 15-yard reception to the Eagles' 22-yard line.
The Redskins were stopped short of the end zone. Facing a 3rd-and-12 at the Eagles' 24-yard line, Campbell scrambled past a tackle and turned up-field for a 10-yard run. Suisham came on for a 32-yard field goal attempt, and he connected.
Campbell began to establish a rhythm in the passing game late in the third quarter. With the Eagles keying on Betts and the running game, Campbell completed passes to Randle El for eight yards and Cooley for 20 yards.
At the Eagles' 34-yard line, Campbell ran play-action and threw deep to Randle El, who was matched one on one with cornerback Sheldon Brown. Randle El was able to get a step on Brown just before the ball arrived, and he pulled the ball in for a 34-yard touchdown.
All of a sudden, the Redskins had narrowed the Eagles' lead to 21-16.
Washington got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter. This time, the offense used some trickery to get into scoring range again.
Campbell handed off to Randle El, who rolled left with the ball. He threw a deep sideline pass to Brandon Lloyd, who was wide open. Lloyd caught the pass and was knocked out of bounds for a 40-yard gain.
The offense was stopped short of the end zone again. On 3rd-and-goal at the 8-yard line, safety Brian Dawkins blitzed into the backfield and sacked Campbell for a 9-yard loss. The Redskins had to settle for Suisham's 35-yard field goal by Suisham.
Philadelphia's lead was cut to 21-19, but the Redskins could not get closer. The Eagles took over possession with 4:52 on the clock and converted three first downs against the Redskins' defense, essentially running out the clock.
Washington would not have a chance to finish off the comeback.
The Redskins close out their three-game homestand by hosting NFC East rival Philadelphia this Sunday, Dec. 10 at FedExField. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
The Redskins are 1-3 in NFC East play this year, and lost to the Eagles by a score of 27-3 in Week 10 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eages are 2-1 in the NFC East.
The Redskins-Eagles game will be broadcast on FOX. Locally, WTTG-FOX 5 will televise the game. Kenny Albert calls the play-by-play with color analysis from Brian Baldinger. Jay Glazer serves as sideline reporter.
On radio, the game will be broadcast on Triple X ESPN Radio (94.3, 92.7 FM and 730 AM). Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary from Redskins legends and NFL Hall of Famers quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and linebacker Sam Huff. Bram Weinstein will serve as sideline reporter.
The Redskins are coming off a 24-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField.
The Eagles got back into the playoff hunt with a victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football: 27-24 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jeff Garcia has taken over at quarterback for the injured Donovan McNabb, out for the season. Garcia was 21-of-39 for 312 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Panthers, while the defense yielded 108 rushing yards and intercepted Jake Delhomme twice in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins and Eagles have met a total of 141 times over their long rivalry, which dates back to 1934. The Redskins hold the series edge 75-64-5.
In Week 10 of this season, the Eagles defeated the Redskins 27-3 at rainy Lincoln Financial Field.
The Redskins and Eagles have clashed once in the postseason, with Washington winning 20-6 in the Wild Card playoff round on Jan. 4, 1990.
NEWS & NOTES
-- Redskins-Eagles Recap
A Redskins' win over the Eagles would:
-- Give the Redskins two consecutive wins over the Eagles at FedExField
-- Give head coach Joe Gibbs an all-time record of 20-11 vs. the Eagles
-- Give head coach Joe Gibbs a 3-3 record against Andy Reid-coached teams
-- Former Eagles On the Redskins
Redskins safety Troy Vincent played for the Eagles from 1996-2003 and had five consecutive Pro Bowl berths from 1999-2003.
Redskins wide receiver James Thrash played for the Redskins from 2001-03.
And Redskins linebacker Jeff Posey played with the Eagles briefly in 2001.
-- Smith's Special
Special teams coordinator Danny Smith coached special teams in Philadelphia from 1995-96, then switched to defensive backs coach from 1997-98.
He coached in Philadelphia under Ray Rhodes, who was the Redskins' defensive coordinator in 2001.
-- Garcia's Mark
Jeff Garcia is a 2-1 all-time in games against the Redskins, but he has never played a game at FedExField.
The last time Garcia played against Washington was in October 2004 when he played for the Cleveland Browns. He led the Browns to a 13-10 victory.
Garcia was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 26, 1999, when the Redskins clinched the NFC East title with a 26-20 victory.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE EAGLES
Middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter played for the Redskins from 2002-03. He was originally drafted by Philadelphia in 1998, signed with Washington in 2004 as a free agent, then returned to the Eagles in 2004.
Kicker David Akers played for the Redskins in 1998.
Linebacker Shawn Barber played for the Redskins from 1998-2001. Barber was the Redskins' fourth-round draft choice in 1998.
Linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo was a player personnel intern with the Redskins in 1983.