The Washington Football Team won the NFC East Sunday night in Philadelphia, barely, 20-14 at Lincoln Financial Field.
READ MORE: Washington Wins!
At 7-9, they'll host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It speaks way more to the team, the character we have,” QB Alex Smith said. “Everything that was stacked against, going through the offseason, new coaching staff, all the changes, all the COVID stuff, and for us to get off to a slow start like we did and find a way to battle back and then finish it off like this, it says a lot about the character we have in the locker room. Good or bad, those guys come to work and we put in the effort.”
Here are 10 Takes - mostly "good'' - on a division title, the first since 2015.
1. It does not matter what your record is. The NFL has a system. Win your division, no matter how bad it is and you get in - plus a home playoff game. It doesn't mean you're good, great or especially "deserving'' ... but you did what you had to do.
Let others scoff; WFT won the division.
2. The Washington Football Team did just enough all year long to climb this very rough and jagged mountain to grab the crown. Honestly, to some degree, it doesn't matter what happens next Saturday against Tampa Bay the sense that it won't take away from the turnaround.
The season is a success because they overcame a complete debacle of a summer and start to the season at 1-5 and 2-7.
Tampa and 'Tawmmy' coming to town is icing on the cake. It would be great to not get embarrassed. Nobody outside the building will expect WFT. Play free and let it rip.
READ MORE: Brady and the Bucs Next Up!
3. The WFT caught a major break and there's no other way to say it when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to bring in Nate Sudfeld at the start of the fourth quarter.
"I was coaching to win,'' Pederson said later, nobody believing him.
The tankeriffic decision did not sit well with many around the NFL and on the Eagles bench and locker room.
4. In the fourth quarter, Sudfeld, a former Washington draft pick in 2016, was 5-12 for 32 yards, was sacked twice and threw a deep ball interception. The Eagles were (1-5) on third downs. Washington also recovered a fumble (Chase Young) off of a low snap that Montez Sweat swatted away.
Philly, mindful of the value of a higher draft pick, was trying to lose.
5. Washington's defense was far from perfect, but as usual, they were very good in the second half. This is a constant, no matter how spotty they are in just about every game in the first half.
Said Chase Young: "The whole team knows we on 'go time.' We're still on go. We are not slowing down. That's the mentality of the locker room."
The pivotal moment was turning the Eagles over on downs when they had a first-and-goal at the Washington 5-yard line. Late in the third quarter after a turnover by Alex Smith and the WFT offense, the Eagles ran it for a yard on first down and then tossed three straight incompletions, including on fourth down, when Philadelphia was only down 17-14.
The conservative decision - maybe even the "conventional'' one - would have been to kick the field goal and tie it. Pederson and the Eagles were playing for nothing but pride. (If even that.) They went for it, as they have many times.
Because they failed, Pederson is viewed as a dummy. He's not that. But he is now prepared to take the heat for being dumb like a fox.
On the final play of the sequence, Tim Settle was hog-tied and appeared to be held. Chase Young spun and out of a block and put some pressure and then WFT charged after QB Hurts, who also had Kam Curl obstructing his view and the throw fell incomplete.
That was Hurts final play of the night and season. The WFT held onto their lead.
6. Ron Rivera was gutsy on the final WFT drive. While trying to kill clock, burn timeouts and get a couple of first downs, the Washington coach was faced with two fourth-down situations.
The first was at the Washington 49 and WFT only leading by six out of the two-minute warning. Rivera had his offense return to the field, where they lined up and drew Philadelphia offsides.
Were they going to run the play? No matter; the trick worked.
It produced a huge first down, and that led to the second decision, a punt after trying to draw Philadelphia offside again. That was after burning two Eagles timeouts and one of their own at the Philadelphia 36. Rivera chose to punt, and Tress Way dropped one inside the Eagles 10, leaving Sudfeld with 92 yards to drive and :56 to go.
7. Scoring on the opening drive was enormous for Washington.
It was the first time all year as they avoided a sort of NFL history that you want no part of. Not only did they score but they converted four-of-four on third down and marched 91 yards. Oh and Terry McLaurin, with a high ankle sprain, caught the scoring pass from Smith.
8. Smith was not good on the night, with the exception of that opening scoring drive and the touchdown drive at the end of the first half, where he connected with several different receivers before finding Logan Thomas climbing the ladder and making a terrific scoring snare.
9. Smith looked uncomfortable many times in both halves of the game. He said his right leg got worse as the game wore on, which makes sense ... but he was either really sharp and spreading the ball around or he was missing wide open receivers underneath, throwing two bad interceptions and/or getting sacked.
"Uneven'' is the best way to put. He was either really good or not even close to good.
READ MORE: Chase (Roullier) Will Stay
10. Washington special teams were actually good on Sunday night. Dustin Hopkins connected on two important field goals and both of his extra points. There were no fumbles or miscues on returns and Tress Way was solid as usual and helped pin Philadelphia inside their ten-yard line late.
Steven Sims Jr., who had a huge fumble that was recovered for a touchdown against Carolina, had a 20-yard return to ignite the Washington scoring drive before the half.
And now WFT is "ignited'' into the postseason, having donned its "WON, NOT DONE'' championship T-shirts.
But, said McLaurin, "It's not a complete celebration party, because we gotta get ready for Tampa next week.''