Redskins Eagles Football

Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz warms up before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles are back in the playoff picture.

Monday’s 28-13 victory over Washington put them in position to contend for a spot in the postseason either as NFC East champions or a wild-card team.

The Eagles’ second straight win — their first winning streak of the season — left them tied with the Redskins for second place in the NFC East. Both are 6-6 and are one game behind Dallas (7-5) with four regular-season games to play

The Eagles play the Cowboys on Sunday.

“This was big for us, winning two straight,” Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said. “We’re finally getting some momentum going. We’re setting ourselves up to make a run and do something special.”

The Redskins suffered their third straight defeat and lost another quarterback to a season-ending leg injury. Colt McCoy broke his right fibula in the first quarter. Alex Smith broke his right fibula and tibia Nov. 18.

Former Eagle Mark Sanchez, who was signed Nov. 19 after a tryout, replaced McCoy. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 100 yards with no TDs and one interception.

“It was a tall task, no doubt,” Sanchez said. “But there’s no excuses to make. You just do your very best. With respect to Alex and Colt, I have to do my best to play well, help rally this team and figure out a way to win.”

A number of unlikely heroes emerged for the Eagles.

Running back Darren Sproles, who had missed the last 10 games with a hamstring injury, scored on a 14-yard run in the first quarter. It was his first TD since the 2016 season.

“It felt so good to get into that end zone,” Sproles said. “Last year, I had the knee (torn anterior cruciate ligament), and this year I had the hamstring. It’s been a long journey. I just had to keep grinding and fight my way out of it.”

Wide receiver Golden Tate, who had been a nonfactor since arriving in a trade with Detroit last month, scored his first touchdown as an Eagle on a 6-yard pass from Carson Wentz in the first quarter.

He finished with seven receptions for a team-high 85 yards.

“Tonight felt organic,” Tate said. “We just went out there and played ball.”

Tight end Zach Ertz became the most prolific receiver in franchise history. His nine receptions gave him 93 for the season, breaking the team’s single-season record of 90 set by former running back Brian Westbrook in 2007.

Ertz also has a chance to break the NFL record for tight ends of 110 catches set in 2012 by former Dallas standout Jason Witten, who was at the Linc on Monday as an analyst for ESPN.

Despite their exploits, the game was close entering the fourth quarter.

Sanchez’s first play for the Redskins was also a record-setting performance. Running back Adrian Peterson took a handoff at Washington’s 10-yard line, burst through a giant hole on the left side and outran linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and safety Corey Graham to the end zone for a 90-yard TD.

It was the longest run from scrimmage against the Eagles in their history. Pittsburgh’s John Henry Johnson had an 87-yarder on Dec. 11, 1960.

The Eagles led 14-13 after three quarters behind touchdowns from Tate and Sproles. Tate’s TD came on the Eagles’ opening drive, marking the first time they’ve scored in the first quarter since they did so against the Giants on Oct. 11.

The Eagles pulled away with a 14-0 surge in the fourth quarter.

Wentz found wide receiver Jordan Matthews for a 4-yard TD, then hit Tate for a two-point conversion that gave them a 22-13 lead. Jake Elliott added two field goals.

Wentz was 27 for 39 for 306 yards with two TDs and an interception.

Besides contending for the division title, the Eagles also have a slim chance of earning one of two wild-card playoff spots.

They are among a slew of teams still mathematically alive, along with Seattle (7-5), Minnesota (6-5-1), Carolina (6-6), Washington (6-6), Tampa Bay (5-7) and Green Bay (4-7-1).

The Eagles lost to the Vikings, Panthers and Buccaneers this season. They play the Redskins once more in the regular-season finale.

“This is a resilient group,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Things are now kind of clicking a little bit. It’s a great time to start winning.”

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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