Through more tumult off the field than most franchises and less triumph on the field than any of the rest of the postseason field, the Washington Football Team has found its way to the playoffs.
The final spot in the postseason field has been filled as Washington defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 20-14, on Sunday Night Football to win the NFC East.
Captained by the uplifting tales of head coach Ron Rivera coaching through cancer and quarterback Alex Smith‘s unbelievable comeback, Washington (7-9) is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, which was also the last season in which it won the division.
“A lot to be grateful for,” Smith said following the game on NBC. “Starting with those guys in the locker room.
“We had some bumps early and continue to keep fighting and getting better and here we are.”
Washington, the NFC No. 4 seed, will host the No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Wild Card Round on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET.
The NFC East was a punchline for most of the season and has produced the first sub-.500 playoff team since the Carolina Panthers in 2014 and just the third overall (excluding the 1982 strike-shortened season), per NFL Research. Washington hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005, but the 2014 Panthers and 2010 Seattle Seahawks — the other NFL team to have advanced to the playoffs with a losing record — each won their playoff openers.
It was wild and wacky and went down to the last game of the regular season, but the NFC East has crowned a champion and it’s Washington.