Eagles lose 32-21*. The game when everything went wrong finally happened. For the first time, they lost the turnover battle. They were passive on defense and had two costly fumbles. Refs did some things. They are 8-1 and the '72 Dolphins pop their bubbly. The Eagles will be fine.— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) November 15, 2022
Eagles vs. Commanders score: Washington forces four turnovers to hand Philadelphia first loss of season
And there goes the Eagles' perfect record
The Eagles entered Monday night's matchup with the rival Commanders as the NFL's last unbeaten team. It turns out Week 10's divisional tilt was also Philadelphia's last game as an unbeaten team. Forcing four turnovers -- one more than the Birds coughed up all season -- and easily winning the time-of-possession battle, as well as several controversial calls from the officials, Washington downed its NFC East rivals 32-21.
Eagles pass rusher Brandon Graham was flagged for unnecessary roughness on one of the Commanders' final plays, in which Taylor Heinicke took a knee on third-and-long while attempting to run the clock down. That miscue sealed Washington's win to improve to 5-5.
Here are takeaways from Monday night's major upset:
Why the Commanders won
They refused to let the Eagles have, or keep, the ball. Neither Brian Robinson Jr. nor Antonio Gibson had a game-changing individual run, but they each got lots of work as Washington ran 49 total times, milking the clock and keeping Jalen Hurts and Co. off the field. Heinicke, meanwhile, proved to be the master of third down on this occasion, overcoming two turnovers to feed Terry McLaurin (8 catches, 128 yards), routinely extend drives and, most notably, draw a game-sealing late hit from Graham while kneeling to absorb a sack in the waning minutes of the game.
Well-rested thanks to the offense's time of possession, Ron Rivera's defense was especially opportunistic as well. Not only did the "D" basically erase a nicked-up A.J. Brown from the matchup, but it forced timely fumbles on Quez Watkins and Dallas Goedert, while also logging a deep-ball pick, to stay on top. Joey Slye was also money for Washington in prime time, drilling a pair of 50-plus-yard field goals to help keep the underdogs in front.
Why the Eagles lost
They did the one thing they've been really good at not doing all year: turned the ball over multiple times. First came a pick on a deep Hurts throw that hit Brown's hands before ending up in those of Darrick Forrest, who later had a second takeaway by scooping up a fumble from Watkins. Goedert's own fumble was more controversial, seeing as the officials missed a facemask that occurred on the tight end while he lost the ball, but the Eagles' typically efficient offense also endured several three-and-outs battling Washington's front. The "D," meanwhile, got boosts from a Josh Sweat strip-sack and C.J. Gardner-Johnson pick, but was overall quite soft. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon opted to sit back and prevent the big play, but in turn, his unit allowed McLaurin to feast, with Washington dominating the possession battle.
Trailing 26-21 with 5:43 left, the Eagles suddenly appeared to be back in business, capable of an explosive comeback, when Hurts uncorked a perfect 50-yard strike to a wide-open Watkins, who hauled the pass in at Washington's 23. Shortly after getting off the ground from the diving catch, however, Watkins lost the ball upon contact with Benjamin St-Juste, and Forrest was nearby to scoop it up after DeVonta Smith made his own attempt to recover the fumble. The turnover robbed the Eagles of points, allowed Washington to burn another two minutes off the clock, and kept momentum in the visitors' favor.
Play of the game
Give it to St-Juste, who showed awesome awareness and punch-out skills by flipping the script on Watkins' big catch:
The Commanders (5-5) will hit the road to take on the Texans (1-7-1), who fell to the Giants on Sunday. The Eagles (8-1), meanwhile, will travel to Indianapolis to square off with the Colts (4-5-1), who edged the Raiders in Jeff Saturday's debut as interim coach in Week 10.
Twitter may explode after that Brandon Graham penalty. The Eagles are about to lose their first game of the year.
This is the first time the Eagles have allowed 22+ points since Week 1. This is the Eagles first game with 2 turnovers this season.
Kenny Gainwell was wide open on that 3rd down -- I mean wide open.
Enough for Jalen Hurts to find him.
#Eagles have been among the best in the NFL with ball security this season. Have signs throughout the building with technique tips. Just put two up in the auditorium.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) November 15, 2022
But two fumbles on their last two drives could lead to their first loss of the season. Still time.
A costly fumble after a 51-yard catch by Quez Watkins. Third turnover of the game for the team that's been best in turnover differential.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 15, 2022
That missed call led to 3 points by the Commanders, but the Eagles are still in the game.
Need a TD to take the lead.
Goedert wasn't down after the review and the Eagles have a costly turnover. Defense needs to make another stop.
Can't review the face mask, but Dallas Goedert looked down there.
There's the Taylor Heinicke turnover.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson with his NFL leading 6th INT. 5th straight game with an INT.
DeVonta Smith scores a TD on his birthday. That's his third career TD on his birthday (2 games).
Hit the end of the third quarter and the Eagles are driving. They are at the Commanders 11-yard line down 23-14. Unbeaten record at stake here in Philly.
Remember that Quez Watkins catch on 3rd-and-7. Clutch throw by Jalen Hurts. He's starting to get into a rhythm here.
Timely sack from Javon Hargrave. His sixth in the last three games.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) November 15, 2022
This is death by 1,000 cuts by Washington. Eagles can't get the ball back. The 3rd downs are ridiculously short.
Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox are no where to be found either. Like they ended up on a milk carton.
The Eagles badly miss Jordan Davis. YPC is up 3.2 with him out of the lineup.
Eagles trail 20-14 at halftime.— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) November 15, 2022
Per TruMedia, defense has blitzed on just 1 of 23 dropbacks, pressured a season-low 8.7 percent of dropbacks.
Washington ran 51 plays in the first half. That's incredible.
The Eagles trail at halftime for the first time this season.
Let's see how they respond. Here's the adversity some wanted them to face.
There have been 4, 7-min drives vs Eagles this season, and 2 have been by the Commanders this half. The Commanders' 28 rush attempts are their most in a 1st half since 2013 (at PHI).
Just controlling the TOP and the Eagles defense can't get off the field.
This is the worst the Eagles have looked in a first half all year. Almost like they played just 2 games in 28 days.
The Eagles front seven has been getting owned in this first half.
Haven't been able to say that much this year. Washington up 17-14 in this one with 1:39 left.
The Commanders are 8-11 on third down. They've had the ball for 22:22.
Taylor Heinicke just got that ball past the LOS. Heads up play by Heinicke to avoid the intentional grounding.
15-yard swing right there.
Taylor Heinicke saves the Commanders' drive, first with a third-down floater to a wide-open Curtis Samuel over the middle, then by throwing it out of bounds after the snap goes above his head and behind the line; he recovered the fumble with ease and avoided a potential 20-yard loss, if not worse. Let's see how Washington closes the series.