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Redskins clinch NFC East with banner win over Eagles

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  • By Mark E. Ortega NFL.com
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The Redskins (8-7) overcame a mental error from Kirk Cousins that left points on the board to end the first half to soundly defeat the Eagles (6-9), 38-24 , clinching the NFC East and a home playoff game in the Wild Card round. Here's what you need to know:

1. Saturday marked the Redskins' third win in four games, allowing them to clinch the NFC East after sitting at 4-6 following a blowout loss to the Panthers. Though they've been helped by the collective failures of the rest of the division, Washington's lambasting of the Eagles has them looking like the NFC East's most complete team heading into the postseason. It's the Redskins' first division title since 2012, and they'll look to get their first playoff win since 2005 in a few weeks. Few if any gave the Redskins a real shot to win the division entering the season, given the turmoil surrounding the franchise -- particularly the quarterback position. Credit to Jay Gruden for the quick turnaround from a four-win team in 2014.

2. Kirk Cousins was positioning himself to be the goat, should the Redskins have found a way to blow the game. With six seconds remaining and no timeouts, Cousins brought the Redskins down the field quickly and had them deep in the red zone. The quarterback went with a mind-boggling kneel down, which ended the half and left at least three points on the field. The Redskins went to the locker room up 16-10 and coach Jay Gruden told CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn that he had "no idea" why his quarterback knelt down. How did Cousins respond? He added touchdown strikes to Chris Thompson and Pierre Garcon. Cousins ended the day with four TDs -- with two to tight end Jordan Reed -- on 31-of-46 passing, 365 yards and no turnovers.

3. The Eagles were in the game until Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall stuck the dagger in them with a scoop-and-score fumble recovery that put them ahead 30-17 late in the third quarter. DeMarco Murray, who has been in the Eagles' doghouse the past few weeks, mishandled a Sam Bradford pitch inside their own 30-yard-line. Hall picked it up and easily scored, taking the remaining air out of Lincoln Financial Field.

4. Though Bradford didn't have any turnovers in this game, the offense missed a couple of big opportunities. In the first half, Bradford had tight end Zach Ertz wide open down the sideline and he missed him badly with a deep pass that surely would have gone for six. However, not all of the blame can be placed on Bradford's shoulders. Rookie wideout Nelson Agholor dropped a touchdown in the second quarter and the Eagles only got a field goal. Bradford later hit Riley Cooper right on the money for 40 yards after avoiding the rush deep in their own territory -- but Cooper couldn't come up with the catch.

5. Most of the spotlight coming into the game was given to DeSean Jackson, given his acrimonious exile from Philly a few seasons ago. But it was tight end Jordan Reed who stole the show. Since missing two games with a concussion and MCL sprain earlier in the year, the oft-injured Reed has been explosive; Saturday was no different. Through the first quarter, Reed had five catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns and is clearly a reliable security blanket for Cousins. He ended the contest with 129 yards on nine catches. Pierre Garcon also had a touchdown and 80 yards on seven catches, which helped mask the Redskins' ineffective running game.

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