Eagles’ Brandon Graham holds himself responsible for late penalty: ‘We can’t put the game in the referees’ hands’
PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Graham won’t snub a controversial call or blame a manager for why a particular call was made. The veteran point was the recipient of a penalty that ultimately cost the Philadelphia Eagles an opportunity in a 9-0 start as he was called off for unnecessary roughing on Taylor Heinicke in the final two minutes of the Philadelphia Eagles 32-21 loss to the Washington Commanders.
There was no reason to discuss the penalty. Graham – like the veteran that he is – blamed himself for the error.
“I’ll take that one on the chin,” Graham said immediately after Monday night’s loss. “Of course, we’ll all dump it and move on, but I’ll definitely take that one. I let the team down in a situation like that.”
Heinicke gave up on a third-and-7 from midfield in a 26-21 game, sacked for a 12-yard loss that would have given the ball back to the Eagles with 1:45 left – with one last chance to win the game. Once Heinicke slipped and the sack was credited to Haason Reddick, Graham hit the Commanders quarterback who drew a flag and a 15-yard penalty – giving Washington a first down.
“We can’t put the game in the hands of the referees. In this position, I just need to know. If he goes down, it’s okay,” Graham said. “For me, I was just rushing the play trying to make sure he was down. I was just trying to get out of the field.”
The Eagles had just one timeout left by then, allowing Washington to miss time until the dying seconds. Philadelphia got the ball back with five seconds left and actually fumbled a full-back in the end zone for the game’s final margin.
Graham’s penalty was the result of a hustle play that did not go in his favor.
“I was just trying to touch him. Touch him. It looked like he was going to get up, you never know,” Graham said. “It’s on me. I’m gonna own this one. It’s on me…I’m just sicker, I let the team down in the moment. I’m gonna get over it.”
The error capped a night of unusual errors for the Eagles, many of which occurred in the final quarter. Philadelphia had a Dallas Goedert fumble that led to a Washington field goal followed by a Quez Watkins fumble after a 50-yard catch that would have pinned the Eagles at the Commanders 20-yard line in a 26-21 game . Both fumbles happened when the Eagles had an opportunity to take the lead.
The trifecta was capped once Graham’s penalty kept the defense on the field after a crucial third save. Game over. Undefeated season over.
“We want to learn from it and we want to make sure we remember that feeling,” Graham said. “We’ll only lose if we fight. Washington came out and they came ready to play. I’m going to give them all the credit. They really gave us the win. Thanks to them.
“I’m ready to see how we bounce back after this. I know we’ll bounce back. I’m ready to get to work already.”