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Thanks to Heinicke, NFL Commanders stun previously unbeaten Eagles

(AFP)

Taylor Heinicke guided several long Washington scoring drives and the Commanders stunned the Philadelphia Eagles 32-21 on Monday, upsetting the NFL’s last undefeated team.

The Eagles surrendered four turnovers, one more than they had over the first eight games of the season, in falling to 8-1.

“Really proud of our guys. Really hard-fought game,” Heinicke said. “To come up here in a hostile environment, Monday night, it was a big win for us.”

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Washington rose to 5-5, pulling within a half-game of San Francisco (5-4) for the last playoff berth in the NFC.

“We knew we could come out and put up a fight,” Heinicke said. “We’ve been on a roll lately. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the room right now. Guys are playing hard. We’re trying to find our identity.”

The Eagles, off to the best start in the team’s 90-year history, fell level with Minnesota for the NFL’s best record and saw their lead shrink to one game over the New York Giants in the NFC East division.

Joey Slye kicked a 32-yard field goal after a 14-play, 86-yard drive that lasted 8:23 to give Washington a 23-14 lead early in the third quarter.

But the Eagles responded with a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, Jalen Hurts throwing an 11-yard pass to DeVonta Smith to lift Philadelphia within 23-21 to open the fourth quarter.

Two crucial fourth-quarter turnovers spelled disaster for the Eagles, the first on a fumble recovery by Jamin Davis that set up a 55-yard Slye field goal to make it 26-21.

Taylor Heinicke
Image of Taylor Heinicke, from Wikipedia.

Philadelphia got the ball back but Quez Watkins fumbled after making a 50-yard reception and Washington’s Darrick Forrest recovered.

The Commanders’ defensive unit forced a final Eagles punt and a penalty on Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham for a late hit on Taylor Heinicke ended the Eagles’ final hope.

Washington’s Casey Toohill recovered a fumble on the final play for a touchdown to create the final margin after the Eagles tried a desperate lateral.

“We did a great job the whole game of not having penalties,” said Heinicke, who threw for 211 yards.

“We ran the ball well. The offensive line protected really well. We converted on a lot of third downs.

“If we can keep doing that our offense will play well and our defense is doing great. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

 ‘Out of my hands’ – Heinicke

Heinicke has guided Washington to a 3-1 record as an injury replacement for Carson Wentz, who might not get his job back when healed.

“It’s out of my hands,” Heinicke said of the decision. “If my number is called I’m ready to go.”

Slye closed the first half with a 58-yard field goal to give Washington a 20-14 halftime lead.

After Slye had pulled the Commanders within 14-10 with a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter, Washington seized a 17-14 lead on Brian Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown run to cap a 16-play, 86-yard drive.

Philadelphia’s Josh Sweat knocked loose a fumble from Heinicke and Marlon Tuipulotu recovered for the Eagles at the Washington 18-yard line early in the first quarter.

Three plays later, Hurts scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles the lead only 2:39 into the contest.

The Commanders responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped by Antonio Gibson’s 1-yard touchdown dive to equalize 7-7.

But the Eagles answered with a 78-yard march over nine plays that ended with Hurts tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert that put Philadelphia ahead 14-7.

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