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Eagles, NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team, Fall to Commanders


PHILADELPHIA — Last week, when a certain Jimmy Johnson said he was not yet sold on the Philadelphia Eagles, despite their 8-0 start, guard Landon Dickerson was baffled.

“Who’s this guy?” Dickerson asked his teammate Jordan Mailata, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The NASCAR driver?”

No, Mailata explained. This was Jimmy Johnson, who was behind the wheel for 2 Super Bowl victories while coaching the Dallas Cowboys within the Nineties. Not Jimmie Johnson, who wears the helmet of a distinct sport and makes his living turning left.

Perhaps Dickerson, 24, could possibly be excused for the confusion. He was not yet born when Johnson won his last Super Bowl ring. Still, Johnson, now a Fox commentator, had a degree. His skepticism arose from the Eagles’ tendency to attain a flurry of points early in games, only to struggle later when opponents grew more accustomed to and immune to Philadelphia’s run-pass option offense led by quarterback Jalen Hurts.

This torpor was evident again within the Eagles’ first defeat of the season, a 32-21 loss to the Washington Commanders on Monday night. Philadelphia took a 14-7 lead in the primary 13½ minutes, scoring the touchdowns on a brief run and a jump-pass by Hurts. Washington ran off the subsequent 16 points to take an insurmountable lead, and Philadelphia scored only over again, within the third quarter. After scoring 133 points within the second quarter of its first eight games, the Eagles managed zero on Monday.

It was a collective defeat, brought on by penalties, uncharacteristic fumbles by a team leading the N.F.L. in turnover differential, an interception thrown by Hurts on the Washington 14-yard line and the lack of Philadelphia’s defense to stop a Washington offense that controlled the ball for 40 minutes and 24 seconds of the sport’s 60 minutes. On a cold night, there was nothing crisp about Philadelphia however the weather.

Futility continued until the sport’s final play, when the desperate Eagles began lateraling the ball and Washington defensive end Casey Toohill scooped up a backward toss by Philadelphia receiver DeVonta Smith near the goal line and sauntered into the tip zone.

Philadelphia’s loss guaranteed that for the fiftieth consecutive 12 months — for the reason that 1972 Miami Dolphins — the N.F.L. won’t finish a season with an undefeated team.

“We played like crap,” Philadelphia Coach Nick Sirianni said bluntly. “We made our own luck today and it was bad.”

Due to the vagaries of scheduling, the Eagles were playing only their third game in 29 days. Rust, though, didn’t explain Philadelphia’s familiar offensive lethargy because the game progressed or Washington’s ability to manage the ball with long, sustained drives.

The Commanders (5-5) converted 12 of their first 16 third-down plays. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke (12 of 21 for 145 yards) punctured the Eagles’ zone defense, hitting receivers as they ran freely over the center and throwing precise passes along the sidelines.

Kicker Joey Slye hit field goals of 44, 58, 32 and 55 yards with unblemished accuracy. And the Commanders, well, commanded the sport with 152 rushing yards. Philadelphia’s defensive position has been left susceptible by an ankle injury to its best run-stuffer, Jordan Davis, the 6-foot-6, 336-pound rookie. Running has turn into a prescription for the Eagles’ opponents in in search of victory.

“That’s going to occur until we stop it,” defensive end Brandon Graham said.

The victory continued a formidable recovery for Washington’s rookie running back, Brian Robinson, who was shot in the fitting leg and knee Aug. 28 in what the police said was an attempted robbery or carjacking while he was out to dinner. Robinson underwent surgery and missed the Commanders’ first three games, including a 24-8 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 25.

On Monday night, Robinson rushed for 86 yards on 26 pounding carries. Within the second quarter, he dragged Philadelphia defenders for 11 yards on one play, shedding them as in the event that they were layers of clothing, then cleverly reached over the goal line on the subsequent right down to put the Commanders ahead to remain, 17-14.

Even with their disjointed play, though, the Eagles had their probabilities to salvage Monday’s game after an 11-yard touchdown pass from Hurts to Smith drew them to 23-21 on the primary play of the fourth quarter. But fumbles squandered final opportunities to win.

Tight end Dallas Goedert coughed up a pass because the referees appeared to miss a face-mask penalty. Slye then drilled a 55-yard field goal to place Washington up, 26-21, forcing Philadelphia to attain a touchdown to prevail.

On Philadelphia’s next possession, receiver Quez Watkins caught a 50-yard omit the center, only to be stripped of the ball at Washington’s 20-yard line. An unnecessary roughness penalty by Graham on the kneeling Heinicke with 1:38 remaining kept the ball out of Philadelphia’s hands until the ultimate frantic and distressed seconds.

“We lost it together,” Sirianni said. “Offense, defense, special teams, coaching. We lost it together.”

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