PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles’ season ends just how it started, with a loss to the Washington Football Team. Jalen Hurts struggled in his fourth career start, completing just seven passes as the Eagles fell, 20-14, to Washington at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles finished the season 4-11-1, while Washington captured the lowly NFC East.
Hurts completed just seven of 20 passes for 72 yards and an interception, finishing with a 25.4 QB rating. He did score two more rushing touchdowns, on eight attempts and 34 yards.
The Eagles’ rookie quarterback was replaced by Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter.
It was Sudfeld’s first game action since Week 17 of the 2018 season. It did not go well. Sudfeld threw an interception on his second pass and fumbled on his fifth snap. He finished five of 12 for 31 yards.
Carson Wentz was inactive for the Eagles’ season finale.
Wentz reportedly “still plans” to request a trade from the Birds this offseason, according to an ESPN report. The report claimed that Wentz’s relationship with Doug Pederson is “fractured beyond repair.”
Washington needed to beat the Eagles to win the NFC East, and the Football Team did just that.
The Washington franchise, which changed its nickname in July after years of protests about it, became the first team in the Super Bowl era to reach the playoffs following a 2-7 start.
Led by Alex Smith and first-year coach Ron Rivera, who overcame a form of skin cancer during the season, Washington (7-9) is the third team to win a division title with a losing record during a full 16-game season. Seattle (2010) and Carolina (2014) previously did it and each won a playoff game.
Washington earned the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in a wild-card game next Saturday night. A loss would’ve given the New York Giants (6-10) the division title.
Smith threw a 13-yard TD pass to Logan Thomas in the second quarter to give Washington a 17-14 lead it never relinquished after Hurts scored on a pair of 6-yard TD runs for Philadelphia.
The 36-year-old Smith began the season as the No. 3 quarterback, a remarkable comeback following 17 surgeries on his leg and a life-threatening infection put his career in jeopardy. He led Washington’s turnaround, going 4-1 before missing the previous two games with a calf strain.
Smith tossed a 5-yard pass to Terry McLaurin to give Washington a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. After Kamren Curl intercepted Hurts’ pass, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Smith finished 22 of 32 for 162 yards and two picks with the two TDs.
Down 17-14, the Eagles had an excellent opportunity at Washington’s 15 after Marcus Epps picked Smith’s pass that bounced out of J.D. McKissic’s hands. The Eagles had a first down from the 5 but gained only 1 yard. Coach Doug Pederson passed up a short field goal and Hurts threw incomplete on fourth down from the 4.
Washington opened the season with a 27-17 victory over the Eagles. Dwayne Haskins started that game for Washington and Wentz for Philadelphia. Haskins was released last week. Wentz was benched last month and was inactive for this one.
The loss gave the Eagles the sixth pick in the NFL draft. It’ll be Philadelphia’s fifth top-10 pick since 1999. The others were: QB Donovan McNabb (No. 2, 1999), DT Corey Simon (No. 6, 2000), RT Lane Johnson (No. 4, 2013), Wentz (No. 2, 2016).
Rivera helped change the losing culture in Washington after nine seasons as Carolina’s coach. He did it while battling squamous cell carcinoma. Rivera missed some practice time but no games and completed his treatment in October.
Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor left in the first half with a head injury. … Several starters sat out with injuries, including DT Fletcher Cox, DE Derek Barnett, TE Dallas Goedert, WR DeSean Jackson, T Jordan Mailata, RB Miles Sanders. S Jalen Mills and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman were on the COVID-19 list.
Washington enters the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
The Eagles face difficult decisions in the offseason, including figuring out which quarterback they plan to build around for 2021. They’ll also need to hire a new defensive coordinator to replace Jim Schwartz, who plans to take a season off.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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