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Eagles control NFC East with victory over Redskins

The Philadelphia Eagles took over sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a 24-16 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. If the improvement over the past three weeks is any indication, they may never look back.

With Nick Foles at quarterback, first-year head coach Chip Kelly has removed all doubt about his ability to scheme and call offenses. The Eagles lead the NFL in explosive plays (20-plus yards) by a wide margin, adding six more -- including three consecutive plays on one second-quarter drive -- Sunday.

Although Foles can't come close to matching Michael Vick's speed, he's handled the mesh point with aplomb, scampering for 120 yards and a touchdown over his past four games. The real difference between the two quarterbacks has been Foles' ability to get through his post-snap progressions to find and exploit the mismatch.

Foles has generated a passer rating over 100.0 in five of six games this season, averaging an eye-popping 12.94 yards per attempt over the past three games. With a high-flying offense and an increasingly stingy defense, the Eagles are in the driver's seat for the division crown.

Here's what else we learned in Sunday's game:

  1. The Eagles' defensive front is one of the most underrated position groups in the league. Connor Barwin, in particular, was a dervish in the first half as the Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage, harassing Robert Griffin III and limiting him to eight pass attempts in the first 35 minutes of the game. Defensive ends Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton have been one of the most effective duos in the league over the past two months.
  1. The Eagles made the Redskins pay for their simplistic passing attack. Griffin didn't begin moving the ball through the air until Eagles took their foot off the gas pedal with a 24-0 lead in the third quarter. Griffin held the ball too long, took too many hits and missed too many open receivers. With a chance to bring his team back, he threw the game away with an off-balance heave into the end zone on third down and under a minute remaining.
  1. The slow-moving Redskins secondary continues to get killed by screen passes. Brent Celekran almost untouched for more than 40 yards on a tight-end screen that summed up the Redskins' defensive woes this season.
  1. For the second time this season, LeSean McCoy entered halftime with a seemingly debilitating leg injury, only to take the field with his offense at the start of the third quarter. McCoy's hamstring injury was just tightness that didn't seem to affect him in the second half. He became the season's first 1,000-yard rusher while compiling 150 total yards on 24 touches.
  1. Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (knee) were both lost for the game in the third quarter. Reed has emerged as one of the most impressive young tight ends in the game. Hankerson had recently supplanted Josh Morgan as the starting wide receiver opposite Pierre Garcon.

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