Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is no stranger to finding the end zone once he has the ball, notching his third career pick-six in Sunday's game against the Eagles.
When Ryan Kerrigan gets his hands on the ball, watch out.
The 6-foot-4, 259-pound linebacker recorded his third career interception Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. While three interceptions is not a career mark that leaps off the stats page, it is worth noting that all three have been returned for touchdowns.
Sunday's installment in the Kerrigan pick-six story took place after defensive lineman Stacy McGee tipped a pass from Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz intended for running back Darren Sproles. The pass, thrown from Philadelphia's own 15-yard line, wobbled short of its target and instead landed in the waiting hands of Kerrigan. From there it was a short sprint to the end zone for the seven-year veteran, who had a sea of burgundy-clad fans cheering him on.
"It's what you practice every day, just catching the ball and taking it to the house," Kerrigan said. "Fortunate to find myself in that situation and fortunate to make the play."
The pick-six could not have come at a more critical moment. The Eagles led the Redskins 13-0 and another score from Philadelphia's fast-paced offense seemed imminent.
"That kind of put us right back in the game," Kerrigan said. "Wish we could've ultimately capitalized. I think it did give us a little momentum for a time, because then we went up 14-13, but ultimately it didn't do enough."
Turnovers plagued both teams all afternoon. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an interception inches away from Philadelphia's goal line. Cousins also lost two fumbles, along with Jamison Crowder on a muffed punt.
The Eagles were not immune either. After Kerrigan's interception, linebacker Mason Foster recovered a fumble by Wentz, but the Redskins could not capitalize on the potential momentum shift.
"We had opportunities," Kerrigan said. "When we had the momentum going up 14-13 after Chis [Thompson]'s touchdown, if we could've gotten off the field there, and defensively not let them kick that field goal, then we might be looking at a different outcome to this game."
Despite making a splash in the turnover battle, critical third downs kept the Redskins defense on the field for too long. Philadelphia went 8-of-14 on third down, compared to Washington going 3-of-11. Washington's defense looked fatigued after 34 minutes of Philadelphia's offense flying up and down the field.
"I think it's just kind of like it was last year with third downs," Kerrigan said. "We've just got to get off the field."
Kerrigan also gave credit to the elusiveness of Wentz, who often extended plays, escaping pressure long enough to find open receivers. The second-year quarterback showed off his improved mobility on the third play of the Eagle's opening drive, spinning and shifting his way out of the pocket and finding receiver Nelson Agholor for a 58-yard touchdown pass. Wentz held on to the ball for a full 10 seconds after the snap, something Kerrigan was both impressed and frustrated with.
"He really is elusive," he said. "We had some chances to put him on the ground and didn't. That really hurt our guys in the back end."
On a more positive note, the Redskins contained the Eagle's running backs to 54 yards on the ground. Kerrigan applauded his fellow defenders on being stalwarts in the running game, but again empathized the importance of getting off the field, something he said he was the deciding factor in the Week 1 loss.
"I didn't think we played bad defensively," he said. "If we can get off the field on just a couple of those third downs that we let them convert, then we might be looking at a different game."