Greg Ward catches the winning touchdown pass with 26 seconds left to give Eagles a thrilling victory
by Jeff Kerr
For the second consecutive week, the Philadelphia Eagles had a tricky time against one of the worst teams in the NFL. But by the end of the day, they’ve ensured they’ll hold at least a share of the divisional lead heading into a pivotal matchup in Week 16.
Carson Wentz threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Ward with 26 seconds left to give the Eagles a thrilling 37-27 victory over the Washington Redskins. The Eagles scored a defensive touchdown on the final play of the game for the 10-point victory. Ward, who was on the Eagles’ practice squad for three years, made his first career touchdown catch to give the Eagles the lead for good on a floater to the back left corner of the end zone from Carson Wentz. The Eagles quarterback made up for a lost fumble earlier in the quarter that gave the Redskins a 27-24 lead by going 8 for 8 for 70 yards on the final drive to give Philadelphia the lead for good. This was the second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback for Wentz and the second straight game he threw a tying or winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes.
Wentz finished 30 of 43 for 266 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ward finished with seven catches for 61 yards in the win, the only Eagles wide receiver to catch a pass in the game. Miles Sanders had 19 carries for 122 yards and six catches for 50 yards, leading a depleted Eagles offense missing its top three wide receivers. The Eagles get back to .500 for the first time since a loss to the New England Patriots in Week 11 and will play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16 with huge implications for the NFC East title.
The Redskins put up a valiant effort in the loss, as Dwayne Haskins went 19 of 28 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Peterson tied Walter Payton for fourth on the all-time rushing touchdown list (110) and Terry McLaurin had five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, which included a 75-yard score in the first quarter.
For a recap and analysis of this game, visit our live blog below.
Why the Eagles won
There isn’t much more to say than the play of Wentz on the Eagles’ final drive. Getting the ball down 27-24 with 4:42 left and coming off his second fumble of the game, Wentz completed all eight of his passes, the biggest non-scoring play being a 13-yard completion to Greg Ward on third-and-5 with 4:01 left to keep the drive moving. Ward was clutch on the final drive with four catches for 40 yards, three of which went for first downs and the final one being the game-winning touchdown.
Dallas Goedert also had a one-handed catch for 20 yards that got the Eagles within field goal range and allowed them to go for the win with under two minutes left. Another clutch final drive for the Eagles, and one they desperately needed.
Why the Redskins lost
Washington just couldn’t get off the field on third down, as Philadelphia converted 11 of 16 third downs. The biggest plays were two draw plays by the Eagles on a third-and-7 and a third-and-11, both of which were Miles Sanders runs that went for grand total of 70 yards. The second play went for 56 yards and was critical toward giving the Eagles a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter. The final nail in the coffin was a third-and-5 completion to Ward for 13 yards that led to the Eagles winning touchdown.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has always been bold, but concocting a draw on third-and-11 with the Eagles down 21-17 in the fourth quarter may have been his boldest move of the year.
Sanders took this third down draw for 56 yards to become the Eagles first 100-yard rusher in 44 games. Philadelphia scored five plays later to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead with 10:02 to play. That wasn’t even the best play of Sanders’s afternoon.
Sanders finished with 172 total yards on 25 touches. The Eagles scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but that was the pay that got their offense clicking, even with Wentz fumbling multiple times. Without that run, the Eagles lose the game.
Play of the game
This is the only play that could beat Wentz’s touchdown pass in the final seconds. There may not have been a better throw in the NFL this season than this Wentz’s touchdown pass to Sanders midway through the third quarter that gave the Eagles a 17-14 lead.
On a second-and-9 from the Redskins’ 15-yard line, Wentz scrambled to his right and appeared to have room to run and gain positive yardage. Instead, Wentz threw the ball between two Redskins defenders toward the back corner of the end zone, while Miles Sanders was on the ground to make the incredible catch and give the Eagles the lead. That was the 17th consecutive game Wentz has thrown a touchdown pass, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.
“Steady Eddie .. I love No. 11 man.”- Miles Sanders on Carson Wentz, via Les Bowen of Inquirer.com.
Wentz has led the Eagles to two consecutive comeback wins over the last two weeks, throwing the winning touchdown pass in overtime against the Giants last week and the winning touchdown pass to Ward Sunday. He had a 142.7 passer rating on the final drive, the biggest for the Eagles this season.
For all of Wentz’s mistakes, the Eagles are in first place because of him.
The Eagles are currently in first place in the NFC East and host the Cowboys in Philadelphia next Sunday. The Redskins will host the New York Giants next Sunday in their final home game of 2019.