Eagles beat Redskins 20-13 to end losing skid at 4
LANDOVER, Md.—The Philadelphia Eagles know a thing or two about turnovers, having committed more than their share during a four-game losing streak.
This time, they got the other team in the act.
Using Rex Grossman as a foil, the defense picked off four passes -- more than doubling its total for the season -- to pull off what was essentially a must-win while simultaneously creating a fresh quarterback controversy for a division rival.
Kurt Coleman had three interceptions, and the so-called dream team of the NFC East proved it isn't buried quite yet. Sunday's 20-13 victory over the Washington Redskins gives the Eagles some momentum headed into a bye week that's followed by three straight home games.
"We know we have a long road to go," Coleman said. "But if we continue to play like we did today, then I think we're on our way."
The Eagles (2-4) raced to a 20-0 second-quarter lead before regressing a bit in the second half. Any hopes for that evasive turnover-free day from the offense came to an end when Michael Vick had a tipped pass intercepted near Washington's goal line in the third quarter.
Then, when Vick left the game for two plays after getting dirt in his eye, Vince Young made his Eagles debut and threw a pick that gave the Redskins the ball at the Philadelphia 18.
But Grossman returned the favor two plays later, with Coleman capitalizing on a pass intended for tight end Fred Davis over the middle. The Eagles led the NFL with 15 giveaways coming into the game and added two more -- but Grossman was twice as generous.
"We need to reduce them more; that's still too many," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "Now they had a few which helped the cause there, but we need to keep working at that."
Fans started chanting "We want Beck!" after Grossman threw interception No. 4. Coach Mike Shanahan obliged by putting John Beck in the game for the fourth quarter, the quarterback's first action in a regular season game since 2007.
Beck looked understandably rusty, but he got the Redskins back into the game with a 2-yard quarterback draw to cap an 80-yard drive that pulled Washington within seven points with 2:44 remaining. The Eagles then ran out the clock with the tail end of a 126-yard day from LeSean McCoy, who had a career-high 28 carries and excitedly punched Reid in the chest during the game's final moments.
Reid didn't mind at all.
"Andy, we're like his kids," McCoy said of his stout coach. "We're still young. I kind of punched him. ... A lot of cushion there."
Grossman now has 18 turnovers in eight Redskins starts, including nine interceptions and two fumbles in five games this year. Shanahan said he went with Beck because the team "needed a spark." The coach wouldn't say who will start at Carolina next week, when Washington (3-2) will try to recover after getting knocked out of first place.
The Redskins also lost left guard Kory Lichtensteiger with a right knee injury that "doesn't look good," according to Shanahan. Left tackle Trent Williams severely sprained his right ankle, and tight end Chris Cooley broke his left index finger and will need surgery.
The Eagles had already shuffled their offensive line. King Dunlap's back spasms and Jason Peters' hamstring injury left them with two healthy tackles: Winston Justice, who hadn't played a snap on offense this season; and Todd Herremans, the usual right tackle who started on the left side for the first time since he was a rookie in 2005.
Coleman got the call at safety because Jarrad Page was out with a stinger. Coleman started the first three games before getting benched; now he's the first Eagles player with three interceptions in a game since Joe Scarpati in 1966.
"I wasn't getting it done, and that was apparent," Coleman said. "It was a humbling experience. God taught me a lesson, and I just worked my butt off the last couple weeks."
Vick completed 18 of 31 passes for 237 yards with one touchdown. He also ran for 54 yards on seven carries, including a 31-yard scamper on a third-and-10 after which he kicked a stray ball that nearly hit a Redskins cheerleader. He paused, holding his hand to his heart to display his remorse.
"It was very inappropriate to kick the ball," Vick said. "Sorry about that. I apologize to the cheerleaders."
Notes: Philadelphia has won 10 of 12 at Washington, including a 59-28 laugher a year ago. ... McCoy is the first Eagles player score a TD in six consecutive games since Ricky Watters in 1995. ... The Eagles, 30th in run defense entering the game, allowed just 42 yards rushing. ... Washington's inactives include CB Phillip Buchanon (neck) and WR Anthony Armstrong (hamstring).
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
(This version CORRECTS Eagles 20, Redskins 13. Corrects Grossman's turnover stat in 14th paragraph.)