By: Joe Dillard Jr.
Photos courtesy of Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team, Elijah Griffin Sr./Washington Football and Courtney Rivera/Washington Football Team)
The Washington Football Team came into Sunday night as the last game of the regular season with everything on the line. Win and you are in the playoffs. With a depleted division, Washington took advantage of the opportunities given as it seemed like nobody wanted to win the NFC East division.This game versus the Philadelphia Eagles explained the whole division in one game. Who could throw opportunities away the most was the theme this season? So with a home playoff game one win away, Washington did what the rest of the division could not do, which was limit your mistakes and take advantage of opportunities. Now if you look at it from another perspective is that this team got better as the year went on. Despite below-average quarterback play this season, Washington had many emerging stars carrying the load that propelled them to a divisional championship. Chase Young, Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and many others have proven themselves in Ron Rivera’s system.
In this last game of the season, Washington traveled to Philadelphia and took on a Jalen Hurts led Eagles team….. Or so we thought. Philadelphia, being eliminated from the playoffs the prior week choose to use this week as an evaluation week of their quarterback play? Really??? As if the division was won yet with this approach I would say survived!! Washington jumped out to a 10-0 start as Smith hit McLaurin early and a turnover led to 3 more. As if roles were reversed from week 1 when they squared off where Philly jumped out early to see Washington fight back in the second half. Jalen Hurts was the only sign of offense showing that his legs could sustain drives along with 2 rushing touchdowns on passing play breakdowns. So, at 14-10 Philly seemed poised to run right by Washington with the performance of Hurts. Washington turned the ball over and then the defense got it right back just before the half.
This was vital as Washington marched down the field and scored on a strike to Logan Thomas taking the lead into the half 17-14. That would be the score well into the 4th quarter as Washington’s offense became stagnant and Philly decides to go experimental on Washington and pulled Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld?? Well without a mobile quarterback Washington’s defense pinned their ears back and took off and led by Chase Young the defense made plays. Washington added a field goal and won 20-14 to win the NFC East Division.
Washington fan or not you have to admit watching that defense of theirs is something special when you have a dinosaur quarterback that is not mobile. As I type that I ponder how Tom Brady must be thinking as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be traveling to Washington for the division round wildcard game??? Well, we know what Chase Young has already done and that is pin back those ears lock-in and be ready to feast on a non-mobile quarterback that is in the way of Washington advancing to another week of football.
So, there you have it, a 7-9 divisional champ will host the 6-time winning, avocado-eating, non-mobile, 11-5 Bucs team that seems to be Harvey Dent and have 2 personalities. I had to add that piece as our Legacymaker Sports Network Co-Editor… No names needed, but is a diehard Tampa Bay fan and well before TB 12 arrived so respect but wink. This should be a great matchup, however food for thought is the last time Washington won a playoff game it was against??? You guessed it back in 2006 against those Tampa Bay Bucs. So, with at least one more week to discuss the growth of this Washington Football Team, what will be the outcome of this game? That’s why they play the game people.