- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 20, 2014

Big plays have been few and far between for the Washington Redskins secondary this season. More often than not, the unit draws attention for its blown coverages or inability to cover tight ends, not its game-changing plays late in games against division rivals.

But that’s exactly what happened Saturday evening at FedEx Field. With the score tied and less than two minutes remaining, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez threw a low pass intended for Jeremy Maclin, and rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland slid to the ground, picking it off. Kai Forbath kicked the go-ahead field goal moments later, and the Redskins held on to topple the Eagles, 27-24.

“There’s been a lot of talk about people quitting,” coach Jay Gruden said. “You can see right there what type of guys we have. People didn’t quit.”

With the win, the Redskins snapped a six-game losing streak and won at FedEx Field for the first time since Oct. 19. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson had four catches for 126 yards against his former team, including a pair of impressive deep completions, while Darrel Young rushed for two touchdowns, each from one yard out in the third quarter.

In his first start since being benched three weeks, quarterback Robert Griffin III started, finished and won a game for the first time since Nov. 3, 2013. He completed 16 of his 23 pass attempts for 220 yards and one interception.

“I thought he did an outstanding job of managing the football game,” Gruden said. “Not only in the passing game, but he did a lot at the line of scrimmage in the running game, which is very, very important.

“He did an excellent job. I think just trying to get him comfortable and trying to get him an opportunity to get the ball out of his hands and make good sound decisions like he did.”

The Redskins held a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter before Sanchez, who finished 37 for 50 with 374 yards, found Riley Cooper for his second receiving touchdown of the game. Griffin threw an interception on the ensuing drive, floating a deep ball into double coverage, a rare moment in which a pass intended for Jackson did not result in a substantial gain.

The Eagles then drove 50 yards in nine plays to tie the game on a field goal by Cody Parkey, who had missed a pair of field goals earlier in the game.

Hope seemed lost when, on the next possession, the Redskins failed to convert on third-and-12 with 2:52 remaining. They were forced to punt, giving the Eagles an opportunity to march downfield, as they had for much of the evening, and win the game with a field goal.

Breeland’s pick, however, changed all that, bringing a slice of satisfaction to a beleaguered team, if only for a moment.

“Obviously, came up huge for us today,” Gruden said.

For Griffin, the day was at least temporary relief. In what has been a dismal season, Saturday’s win gives him and the Redskins hope they may be able to build some momentum at the end of the season.

“Big game for us as a franchise,” Griffin said. “That locker room, every phase, came out and stepped up to the plate and helped us to get the win today. We wanted to spoil their Christmas and send them home, and we did our part.

“You would think a 3-11 football team would just quit. And we’re not. So that shows the character that we have and I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

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