LANDOVER – Dwayne Haskins’ best game as a pro did not end with the late-game heroics the rookie quarterback had hoped.
Instead of a game-winning Hail Mary touchdown, Haskins could only look on as Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham recovered his last-second desperate pitch for a touchdown as time expired.
Despite his career-performance, the Eagles (7-7) defeated the Washington Redskins (3-11) 37-27 on Dec. 15 at FedEx Field in Landover. Haskins completed 19 of 28 passes for 261 yards, the most in his brief NFL career, and two touchdowns.
In addition to his career-high in yards, Haskins finished the day with his highest-ever quarterback rating, 121.3, and a career-high in completions with 19. Haskins also rushed for 26-yards on four attempts.
“I’m nowhere close to where I want to be,” Haskins said. “That should be an average game for me. I will continue to work on it and get better. I know we came up short.”
Haskins relied heavily on fellow rookie Terry McLaurin, who caught five passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. In the first quarter, Haskins hooked up with McLaurin for a 75-yard touchdown pass to give the Redskins their first points of the game.
“We connected a lot today, forcing turnovers, made some big plays, but it just wasn’t enough,” McLaurin said. “They’re contending for a playoff spot for a reason, and we know where we got to measure up to.”
McLaurin and Haskins were teammates at Ohio State just one year ago, and their head coach, Urban Meyer, was in attendance at the game, fueling speculation that he is a potential candidate for the Washington head coaching job. However, McLaurin downplayed those rumors saying Meyer attended the game as his guest.
“So, he was my guest, and it was good to see him again, good to talk to him, surpasses football,” McLaurin said. “It has nothing to do with his coaching status at all, and it was just good having him support me again.”
With the Redskins eliminated from playoff contention, one could have assumed that they might pack it in as the season winds down, but that was not the case against Philadelphia. The game featured nine lead changes, as the Eagles desperately are trying to keep pace with rival Dallas.
Every time the Redskins scored, Philadelphia matched them. After Washington took a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Adrian Peterson, the Eagles quickly answered back with a long touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a 2-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz.
After made field goals on the next two consecutive Redskins drives, Wentz was able to engineer one-last Eagle’s drive to take the lead finding Greg Ward for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give Philadelphia a 31-27 lead with just 26 seconds remaining.
The Eagles would add another touchdown thanks to one last desperate pitch by Haskins that Bradham recovered for a touchdown to make the score 37-27.
“It’s unfortunate. We played our hearts out and they made the plays we didn’t make,” said Redskins Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan. “We just didn’t make the plays at the end that we needed to make to finish off and top off the game.”
For Peterson, Sunday was a record-setting day as the running back passed Curtis Martin on the all-time rushing yards list. Peterson had 66 yards rushing on 16 carries with one touchdown. Peterson’s lone touchdown ties him with Walter Payton for fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns.
In his postgame comments, Peterson credits McLaurin’s blocking for his historical touchdown.
“Terry was just doing a great job on this block,” Peterson said. “That’s what we talk about, finishing plays. I told him if I’m passing Walter Payton, I’m keeping that ball. I’m going to gift him that one.”
Up next for the Redskins are the New York Giants on Dec. 22 at FedEx Field.