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Washington beats Eagles, makes playoffs at 7-9

Washington Football Team defensive back Kamren Curl (31) celebrates with teammates after an interception in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Washington Football Team defensive back Kamren Curl (31) celebrates with teammates after an interception in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team rallied for a narrow lead and held on through the second half to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and clinch a playoff berth Sunday night.

Washington (7-9) held Philadelphia (4-11-1) to 216 total yards and forced three turnovers in the 20-14 win in Philadelphia. The victory earned the franchise its first playoff berth since 2015 and first under head coach Ron Rivera.

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"Don't judge us for where we've been, judge us for where we're going," Rivera told reporters. "So, let's see how we handle this going forward.

"This is a big opportunity for us. I love what they say about just getting in. That's all we needed, was a chance to get in. We'll see what happens."

Washington put together a 15-play, 91-yard drive on its first possession to take an early edge. Smith ended the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin.

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Safety Kamren Curl intercepted Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on the next drive. Dustin Hopkins then made a 42-yard field goal to give Washington a 10-0 lead.

Hurts responded with a 6-yard rushing score for Philadelphia. The touchdown capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive about five minutes into the second quarter.

The Philadelphia defense then forced a Washington punt before Hurts ran in for another 6-yard score to give the Eagles a 14-10 edge.

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Both teams went three-and-out on their next drives before Smith gave Washington the lead for good. The veteran quarterback connected with tight end Logan Thomas for a 13-yard score with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

Philadelphia and Washington each punted twice on the first four possessions of the second half. Eagles coach Doug Pederson went on to bench Hurts for backup Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter.

Hopkins added the final points to the scoreboard with a 42-yard kick with 7:42 remaining.

Hurts completed 7 of 20 passes for 72 yards and an interception in the loss. Sufeld completed 5 of 12 passes for 32 yards and had an interception and a fumble.

Chase Young, Jon Bostic and Montez Sweat each logged sacks for Washington. Young also had a fumble recovery in the victory.

Washington hosts Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in the Wild Card round of the playoffs at 8:15 p.m. EST Saturday in Landover, Md.

"Every offseason, when you get together as a team, [making the playoffs is] the No. 1 goal," Smith said. "The easiest way to get a ticket to the dance is to win the division.

"It certainly wasn't looking likely for a long time in the beginning of the year for us. To be here now though says a lot about the character we have in the locker room."

This week in the National Football League

The Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen (R) gets a high five from guard Jon Feliciano after a throwing a touchdown Monday night against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., where the Bills defeated the Patriots 38-9. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

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