The Washington Commanders once again gave the Eagles plenty of headaches in their second and final game of the season.
But AJ Brown continues to catch every ball thrown his way with highlights, and Reed Blankenship, in his first game back from injury after a two-week layoff, made a crucial interception late that helped the Eagles to a 38-31 win that they had nothing to do with winning for most of Sunday down in Landover.
But in the end, they found a way – again – and these two were the main reasons why they also receive Week 8 editions of PhillyVoice’s offensive and defensive playbooks.
Attack – AJ Brown
AJ Brown’s unreal run continues as he catches eight passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, setting an NFL record of six consecutive games with over 125 receiving yards.
And his two touchdowns that day were big catalysts, keeping the Eagles in a game they were struggling to get a handle on.
His one-handed throw into the end zone, which spotlighted Washington cornerback Benjamin St.-Juste, gave the Eagles signs of life and cut the lead to four late in the half when Philly got the ball back early in the second half.
Then he caught Jalen Hurts’ 25-yard throw to the pylon, which made it 17 yards at the end of the third quarter and brought the Eagles back to level for what felt like the first time that day.
Whatever Hurts was sailing for him on Sunday, Brown caught it, which kept the Eagles afloat long enough to figure out the rest and pull away from a Commanders team that was once again giving them inexplicable fits.
He’s arguably the best receiver in the NFL right now – definitely the one with the hottest hat – and maybe even the Eagles’ MVP.
At least the case is there and building.
Defense – Reed Blankenship
Sam Howell appears to be Peyton Manning’s secondary replacement when he takes on the Eagles.
He spread them out in the passing game for three quarters, and although the offense and pass rush did their best to keep Philly in the game, relatively weaker and banged-up linebacker and safety groups had little objection when they were taken advantage of Center.
The Eagles were tied just before halftime of the fourth quarter and Washington’s offense came back to life. The Eagles needed a stop.
Reed Blankenship, in his first game back from injury since Week 6 against the Jets, did even better.
With commanders on the 2nd and 15th from their own 20, Blankenship was in the right place at the right time on a Logan-Thomas route whose cover collapsed.
The ball sailed right past Washington’s tight end and into the chest of Blankenship, who ran the ball back to the 15 line, with another eight more tackles and an unnecessary roughing call on Washington, making it a goal-to-go game. Situation made for Philly.
Veteran Julio Jones’ first touchdown as an Eagle gave them a 31-24 lead, and the Commanders crumbled from there.
Howell and the Commanders turned the game around on two consecutive drives – most recently with another great sack by Haason Reddick that basically tied the clock from there with 2:16 left – ggrumbled, with a tackled rushing TD from D’Andre Swift and a final missed scoring throw from Howell to Jamison Crowder, but still.
And hey, the Eagles don’t have to see Washington again after this (they’re supposed to be sellers now), so that’s a big plus.
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