In today's Rewarding Moments In Washington History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back to the 2005 season when Sean Taylor returned a fumble for a touchdown, securing a spot for Washington in the playoffs.
Sean Taylor could always be counted on for a memorably play, and he delivered one of his greatest when Washington needed in the 2005 season finale.
After losing in overtime to the San Diego Chargers, Washington won four straight games to improve to 9-6. It was still in need of one more win to secure a spot in the playoffs, and the only team that stood in its way was the 10-5 Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
The game was a battle from start to finish. Washington held a 7-3 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter, but Philadelphia quarterback Mike McMahon connected with wide receiver Reggie Brown on back-to-back touchdown passes to put the Eagles on top, 17-7.
But Washington, thanks in part to Clinton Portis' 112 rushing yards, wasn't done yet. After a 25-yard field goal from John Hall to end the first half, Portis scored a two-yard touchdown on Washington's opening drive to tie the game, 17-17. Eagles' kicker David Akers hit a 35-yarder to retake the lead, but Portis responded again by rumbling into the end zone on a 22-yard run to make the score 24-20 in Washington's favor with 12:19 left in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles received one last chance at a comeback with less than three minutes left to play. Backup quarterback Koy Detmer stepped up to the Eagles' 36-yard line to attempt a pass, but defensive end Phillip Daniels worked his way into the backfield and knocked the ball loose on a strip-sack. Taylor then scooped up the ball and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
It was Taylor's only touchdown of his career, and not only did it secure Washington's fifth consecutive win, but it also gave the team its first postseason berth since 1999.