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5 Takeaways From Washington's Week 1 Win Over The Eagles

Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) and nose tackle Daron Payne (94) tackle Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 in Landover, Md. (Alika Jenner/NFL)
Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) and nose tackle Daron Payne (94) tackle Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020 in Landover, Md. (Alika Jenner/NFL)

The Washington Football Team won its first game of the season, 27-17, against the Philadelphia Eagles after overcoming a 17-0 deficit. Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Ryan Kerrigan surpasses Dexter Manley as Washington's official career sacks leader.

Ryan Kerrigan was just 1.5 sacks away from becoming the franchise's official all-time leader entering Sunday. The 10-year veteran averaged 10.5 sacks per season, so it was seemingly only a matter of time before he surpassed Dexter Manley, who had 91 official sacks during his career.

As it turned out, it only took Kerrigan about three-and-a-half quarters to do so. A sack on the Eagles' second drive followed by another in the fourth quarter propelled him past Manley with 92 sacks. After the game, Kerrigan said he was happy he didn't have to wait too long to break the official record.

"It meant a lot. It's pretty crazy. This organization has been around for a really long time, seen a lot of really productive players come through. To be at the top of that list is pretty special for me."

With 3 minutes, 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Kerrigan helped seal the game by recovering a fumble from Wentz and returning it to the Eagles' 16-yard line. He finished the game with two tackles, two quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss.

"I don't know if I could've ever dreamed of anything like this," Kerrigan said.

2. The defensive front dominated the Eagles' offensive line.

Washington's defensive line was one of, if not the most highly-anticipated position group on the team. There was a mountain of expectations for a group that boasted five former first-round picks, and the group certainly delivered with eight sacks on quarterback Carson Wentz.

Kerrigan gave Wentz his first hit of the day with a 10-yard sack, and that was followed by a sack from Matt Ioannidis. First-round pick Chase Young also recorded his first-career sack, resulting in a fumble from Wentz that the Eagles recovered. Later in the first half, Montez Sweat bowled over Wentz for a 12-yard loss.

However, perhaps the biggest sack of the game came from linebacker Jon Bostic. On a 4th-and-4 on Washington's 45-yard line, Bostic came through unblocked and buried Wentz for a nine-yard loss. Washington tied the game on the ensuing drive.

With 3:18 left in the game, former Alabama defensive tackle Daron Payne delivered the strip-sack that Kerrigan picked up to seal the game.

"We expected to come out and make plays," Kerrigan said. "That's a good way to start the season. We've got a lot of productive dudes in this room, and I was just glad we were able to showcase that a little today."

3. Turnovers fueled Washington's offense.

Things did not look good for Washington as the first half was drawing to a close. The Eagles possessed a dominant 17-0 lead and had the ball with 1:44 left in the second quarter. But on a 1st-and-10 at the Eagles' 28-yard line, the momentum shifted when Fabian Moreau intercepted Wentz's pass to Jalen Reagor.

Five plays later, quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. delivered a six-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas, who was wide open in the back of the end zone, giving Washington its first score of the game.

Later in the third quarter, Washington had just punted the ball back to the Eagles with good field position at its own 45-yard line. But any momentum the Eagles regained was short-lived, as Jimmy Moreland grabbed his first-career interception and returned it to Philadelphia's 20-yard line.

Washington found the end zone again five plays later when Peyton Barber crashed through the end zone for a one-yard score, closing the Eagles' lead to 17-14.

Those two touchdowns were part of a 27-point effort to defeat the Eagles for the first time since 2016. The effort also helped snap Washington's winless streak against NFC East opponents that stretched back to 2018.

4. Peyton Barber was Washington's driving force at the goal line.

Barber's day might not look impressive on the box score. He had 17 carries for just 29 yards, and his longest run resulted in only eight yards. But he was the one the coaches called upon when Washington needed a score.

Following Moreland's interception, Washington only needed three plays to get down to the Eagles' 1-yard line. That's when Barber entered the game for the first time since the second quarter. Two plays later, Barber pounded his way into the end zone to cut the Eagles' lead down to a field goal.

Later in the fourth quarter, Washington was facing a pivotal 4th-and-1 at the Eagles' four-yard line. Rather than kick a field goal, head coach Ron Rivera chose to keep his offense on the field. The play went to Barber, who was able to convert the fourth down and keep the drive alive.

Two plays later, Barber dove into the end zone for the second time, giving Washington the lead for the rest of the game.

5. Washington wins its first home opener since 2014.

Washington's Week 1 win was a momentous occasion for several reasons. Not only did the team win its first division game since 2018 and defeat the Eagles for the first time since 2016, but it also won its home opener for the first time since 2014.

Rivera said multiple times leading up to the game that the Eagles were the "gold standard" of the NFC East, and if they wanted to be a playoff team, they would have to go through the reigning division champions to do so.

They have now done that, and Rivera believes Washington has set the tempo for the rest of the year.

"We showed that we can play with the best team in the NFC East," Rivera said. "It just shows what these guys are capable of. There's some good football players in that locker room that really haven't had the opportunity to express themselves as players. I think today's an example of guys really getting the chance to play, cut it loose and have fun."

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