Eagles ousted from playoff contention
PHILADELPHIA — Dropped passes. Costly turnovers. Missed tackles.
It's been the same story for the Philadelphia Eagles all season.
Kirk Cousins threw four touchdown passes and had a season-high 365 yards and the Washington Redskins beat the Eagles 38-24 on Saturday night to clinch the NFC East title.
The Eagles (6-9) entered the game in control of their playoff hopes. They needed to beat the Redskins and Giants next week to win the East. Washington's win also eliminated New York (6-8).
"I think we're good enough," coach Chip Kelly said. "We just have to put them in better position to make plays. It's 100 percent on my shoulders. It's unacceptable."
While the Redskins head to the playoffs, the Eagles and Kelly face a challenging offseason. Kelly took control of personnel decisions last year and overhauled a team that went 10-6 in each of his first two seasons.
It clearly didn't work out.
But Kelly isn't concerned about losing his job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie made a big commitment to Kelly, who has two years remaining on his contract.
"Anybody in my situation, if they are worried about being fired, they probably already should've been fired,"Kelly said.
Kelly got rid of several star players, including DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. His biggest additions were Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Kiko Alonso. Murray and Alonso have been busts.
"If it's not good enough, it'd not good enough," Kelly said. "But I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can, show up early in the morning, stay late at night."
Murray went from leading the NFL in rushing and setting records in Dallas to third-string running back in Philadelphia after getting a $40 million contract.
DeAngelo Hall returned Murray's fumble 17 yards for a momentum-changing TD in the third quarter. Cousins then threw TD passes to Chris Thompson and Pierre Garcon after a pair to Jordan Reed in the first quarter.
"Obviously it's been a tough season — individually and collectively — but these are the things that make you want to work harder and make you more hungry," Murray said.
Two teams have clinched division crowns in Philadelphia in six days. Arizona won the NFC West with a 40-17 win over the Eagles last Sunday night.
Only 4-12 in 2014, the Redskins (8-7) began their turnaround when Cousins rallied them from a 24-0 first-half deficit to a 31-30 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 25. After that game, he yelled at reporters: "You like that?" It's become a rallying cry for the Redskins and their fans, who continued the chant for several minutes after the game.
Cousins was outstanding down the stretch with 16 TD passes and only two interceptions in the last seven games. He showed resolve after a mental blunder at the end of the first half cost the Redskins at least three points.
Cousins took a knee with no time-outs and 6 seconds left from the Eagles 6 with a 16-10 lead. He realized his mistake and tried to spike the ball, but the clock ran out. He made up for it in the second half.
Cousins tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Thompson to give Washington a 23-10 lead. He converted three third-down passes on the series after Jaylen Watkins dropped an interception.
The Eagles missed a chance to take the lead early in the second quarter when Bradford overthrew a wide-open Zach Ertz on third-and-9. It would've been a 60-yard TD.
They missed another opportunity on the following series when Nelson Agholor dropped a 28-yard TD pass and settled for Caleb Sturgis' 34-yard field goal that cut it to 13-10.
After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Redskins scored touchdowns on the next two. Cousins connected with Reed over the middle on a 22-yard scoring pass to cut it to 7-6. Dustin Hopkins missed the extra point wide left.
Cousins then hit Reed over the middle again for a 12-yard TD pass and a 13-7 lead.
Notes: Bradford had 380 yards passing. ... Reed had nine catches for 129 yards. ... Jackson had four catches for 40 yards. ... The Redskins are 2-5 on the road, 3-12 in Gruden's two seasons.