Eagles alive after all
Eagles 20, Redskins 13
Eagles alive after all
Rich Hofmann, Daily News Sports Columnist
LANDOVER, Md. -- As it turns out, the Eagles are alive after all. Combining an offense that kept down the turnovers, and a run defense that showed up for the first time this season, and the overall beneficence of the eventually-benching Washington quarterback, Rex Grossman, the Eagles still had to hang on at the end. But they did, and pretty much saved their season with a 20-13 win over the Redskins.
For really the first time in a month, they looked like the team most people expected to see this season. With a 2-4 record and their bye week upcoming, the Eagles remain in a hole but they now can see daylight over the rim.
With Grossman throwing the ball all over the place, safety Kurt Coleman -- reinserted into the starting lineup Sunday after being benched earlier in the season -- had three interceptions, the first Eagles player to do that in 45 years. He was the headline, but the defense overall was as good as it has been this season.
Tackling had been a huge problem this year, but it wasn't against Washington. Nnamdi Asomugha had a great tackle on Redskins tight end Chris Cooley. Asante Samuel nearly killed himself making a tackle on Redskins tight end Fred Davis, but he did make the tackle. And safety Nate Allen, who finally seemed to trust his repaired knee in the loss last week against Buffalo, again appeared active in this one.
The Eagles' offense looked excellent and efficient for most of the first half. The offensive line did a great job protecting, aided by tight end Brent Celek -- who also was rediscovered in the passing game. He caught Michael Vick's first touchdown pass, a 9-yard screen. On the second play of the second quarter, the Eagles led by 14-0 after a 1-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy.
After that, the Eagles continued to move the ball but settled for field goals. They led by 20-3 at the half. The second half was a bit on the messy side, and the unproductive side -- the lowlight being when Vick was knocked out of the game for part of a series after being tackled on a scramble, and backup quarterback Vince Young promptly threw a terrible interception on his first pass attempt.
John Beck, who replaced Grossman after his third completion to Coleman, haltingly marched his team down the field one time, and scored on a quarterback draw with 2:44 left. That cut the Eagles' lead to 20-13. But the Eagles got two first downs, running the ball, and that was that.
However tentative, there is life.