Eagles finally win at home, move into first place in the NFC East

Eagles finally win at home, move into first place in the NFC East

412 days had passed since the Eagles last won at Lincoln Financial Field—10 games and over a full calendar year. The Birds finally gave the home crowd a reason to cheer on Sunday though, their 24-16 victory over Washington ending the losing streak and catapulting Philadelphia into first place in the NFC East.

The Eagles’ record improved to 6-5, already two wins more than they had in all of 2012. They’re above .500 for the first time since Week 1 of this season. Best of all, they now own a half-game lead over idle Dallas for tops in the division.

Similar to their first meeting against Washington, the Eagles raced out to a big lead, going up 24-0 through 36 minutes of action. In fact, the Birds took a shutout into the fourth quarter until Robert Griffin III began mounting a desperate comeback.

Griffin sprung Washington’s offense with a 62-yard catch-and-run to fullback Darrel Young, a fortuitous play that was broken open by a collision between Patrick Chung and Trent Cole down the field. Griffin later found wide receiver Aldrick Robinson for a 41-yard score, an underthrown pass that Roc Carmichael failed to turn around and defend. A pair of two-point conversion made it a one-possession game.

Yet it would prove too little, too late for Washington. Their final drive would start at their own 4-yard line following a 70-yard punt from Donnie Jones. Griffin moved his offense into scoring position, but foolishly heaved a prayer that was intercepted by Brandon Boykin in no-man’s land in the game’s final minute.

RG3 never looked like himself. Washington had just eight net passing yards through three quarters, as Griffin seemed hesitant to throw the football. Much of the time, he was taking off or eating sacks, and even once he started to let loose in the fourth quarter, he missed several throws.

Griffin completed less than 50 percent of passes (17/35) for 264 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He was sacked four times, including a strip by Connor Barwin that was recovered by Fletcher Cox.

The Eagles also contained Alfred Morris, the NFL's third-leading rusher entering the week. Morris finished with 93 yards on 22 carries.

It was the seventh week in a row the Eagles’ defense held their opponent to 21 points or less, the ninth time in 11 games. It was all the more impressive considering the trio of starters that was out for the Birds. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Earl Wolff were all inactive due to injuries.

Philly's offense got the job done as well, led of course by Nick Foles who still has yet to throw an interception this season. Foles connected on 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards. He also ran a whopping nine times for 47 yards and a touchdown. He may not be fast, but he takes what the defense is willing to give him.

Gritty performance for LeSean McCoy too, who went down late in the second half with an apparent hamstring injury. It didn’t appear to slow him any after halftime, as Shady finished with 150 total yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns. The All-Pro back had his second strong game in a row, and eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season.

DeSean Jackson led Eagles receivers with four receptions for 82 yards on four targets. The two-time Pro Bowler is just 15 yards from surpassing the 1,000-yard milestone himself.

Overall, it was another great team performance for the Birds, their winning streak now at a season-high three games. Now they’ll have a bye week for some dinged-up players to get healthy.

It’s not always pretty, but you have to feel good about the fact that this team is getting the job done. Everything seems to be firing on all cylinders, and a playoff berth seems like an increasingly real possibility for this squad. The way they’re playing right now, they could really make some noise.

We've moved past them simply getting in. The question is becoming how far can they go?

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

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No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

SEATTLE -- Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night.

After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.

And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.

The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami -- taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll.

Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover.

Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his streak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game.

It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries.

Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined.

Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.

Takeaways
Stanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties after entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team.

Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns.

Up Next
Stanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State.

Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

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Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

ARLINGLTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game.

Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Division Series following Cole Hamels.

Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4.

Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor (see full story). 

Cabrera hits 2 HRs, Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night.

The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff chances.

Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.

The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0 (see full story).

Trumbo hits 47th, Schoop 5 RBIs as Orioles top Yankees 8-1
NEW YORK -- Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game.

Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.

Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos -- Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season.

Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings (see full story). 

Ortiz delivers another HR, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-3
BOSTON -- Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.

The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs.

The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth (see full story).