Eagles reign on Shuler's parade

October 10, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Redskins made the Philadelphia Eagles work for their victory last night at rainy Veterans Stadium.

After making it easy for the Dallas Cowboys last week with three first-half fumbles, the underdog Redskins actually led 17-14 after three quarters before the Eagles pulled it out, 21-17, in the final period.

Redskins coach Norv Turner said: "As much as it hurts to lose, I was proud of the way our guys competed. The defense did a heck of a job and I think Heath made progress."

Rookie quarterback Heath Shuler, in just second start, gave the Redskins (1-5) a glimpse of their future with a pair of touchdown passes to rookie Tydus Winans.

But the Eagles (4-1) eventually trumped it with an 80-yard touchdown drive that was climaxed by a 2-yard touchdown run by Herschel Walker in the fourth period.

The Redskins got one last shot when they took over after an Eagles punt on their 7 with 1:46 left. Shuler threw a 22-yard pass to Henry Ellard and an 18-yarder to Desmond Howard as the Redskins moved to the Eagles' 38 with a minute left.

But after Shuler threw two incomplete passes, Greg Jackson intercepted a third-down pass intended for Howard on the Eagles' 3 with 40 seconds left to wrap it up.

After the Eagles' go-ahead score, Brian Mitchell ran the ensuing kickoff back 46 yards to the Eagles' 45. But the Eagles defense forced the Redskins to punt.

Trailing 7-6 at halftime, the Redskins' Darrell Green intercepted a Randall Cunningham pass at the Washington 42.

Shuler scrambled for 6 yards and Ervins ran 7 for a first down at the Philadelphia 45.

Ervins ran for 4 yards on first down and Shuler threw an incomplete pass on second down to set up a third-and-six at the 41.

Shuler then went deep down the right sideline to Winans, who got behind Otis Smith and hauled in the touchdown pass. It appeared to be overthrown, but Winans ran under it for the score.

"I put on the jets," said Winans.

Since Chip Lohmiller had missed an extra-point attempt after the first touchdown, the Redskins went for two and Howard made a diving catch to give the Redskins a 14-7 lead.

It took the Eagles only five plays to move 65 yards for the touchdown that tied it.

On a third-and-five play at the Washington 49, Cunningham threw a short pass down the right sideline to Fred Barnett. With the help of a jarring block by Walker that knocked out two Redskins, Barnett went 41 yards for the touchdown that tied it 14-14.

The Redskins couldn't get a first down on their next two possessions and the Eagles took over on their 20 with 1 second left in the third period.

But they did get a 47-yard field goal that was set up by Frank Wycheck's 43-yard kickoff return to take the lead. The Eagles then moved 80 yards for the winning touchdown. The key play was a 22-yard pass to Walker on third-and-10 at the Washington 45.

That was enough for the victory, but not without a final scare from Shuler, who had struggled in the beginning.

After his first five ineffective possessions, Shuler put together a touchdown drive in the final minute of the first half to make it 7-6.

Until that drive, the Redskins had managed just three first downs -- one on a penalty -- in their first five possessions.

The Redskins couldn't even capitalize on Mitchell's 68-yard return of the opening kickoff to the Philadelphia 33. Three plays later, the Redskins were forced to punt.

Ervins was thrown for a 1-yard loss on first down and Shuler then threw a pair of incomplete passes.

That set the pattern for the Redskins' first five drives. On the second one, Shuler completed a 20-yard pass to Ethan Horton on first down, but Ervins got only 4 yards on the next play and Shuler threw two more incomplete passes.

On the third drive, Ervins got 9 yards on first down and Cedric Smith got a first down with a 2-yard run. But after Ervins ran for 5 and 1 yards on the next two plays, Shuler threw an incomplete pass on third down to end the drive.

It was more of the same on their fourth possession. Ervins was stopped for no gain on a first-down screen pass by Bill Romanowski, who then sacked Shuler.

On the fifth possession, the Redskins got a 47-yard pass

interference

penalty on Mark McMillian that gave them a first down on the Philadelphia 11.

But they couldn't take advantage of that when Ellard couldn't hang onto a handoff from Shuler on the end-around on the next play. He fumbled and the Eagles' Mike Flores recovered on their 38.

Turner said he didn't think the end-around was a gamble.

"I thought it was going to be a touchdown," he said. "I thought it was worth a good shot."

Ellard said he took his eye off the ball and then should have fallen on it instead of trying to pick it up.

The Redskins regained possession with exactly one minute left and Shuler suddenly looked like a different quarterback.

He completed passes of 21 yards to Ellard and 28 to Howard before the 27-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to rookie Winans with five seconds left in the half.

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