Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Redskins
LANDOVER, MD - The Philadelphia Eagles came from behind to take a lead in the second half just to watch it evaporate with less than a minute remaining. The Washington Redskins handed the Eagles their third loss in four weeks knocking off the birds 23-20 at FedEx Field.
The Eagles got behind early once again due to failures by the offense. The defense was on the field for 79 plays and 41:08 compared to just 51 plays by the Eagles offense.
The Eagles have now lost two games to division opponents and have a lot of work to do in their final 12 games if they want to come close to meeting their preseason goals. I did not see any 'A' performances in this one. Once again, some poor grades were handed out after yet another loss.
(Listen to Grayson's Grades on the Sports Bash)
Riley Cooper - Cooper stretched the defense and caught a 62 yard touchdown pass. Cooper has been nearly invisible so far this season, but that catch helped to pave the way for a comeback. He was the Eagles leading receiver and finished with 2 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Miles Austin - Like Cooper, Austin finally showed up and made a huge catch when he went deep and Bradford found him in the endzone. It was a 39 yard pitch and catch. Austin ended the day with 2 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Sam Bradford - Bradford looked dreadful in the first half and would have earned an 'A' if he was only graded on the second half. He looked confident and comfortable slinging the ball downfield. Bradford hit three different receivers in stride behind the defense for huge plays. Those long passes are a positive sign to what has been an otherwise slow start. Bradford completed 15 of 28 passes for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Nelson Agholor - The rookie had a bit of a coming out party with a spectacular one-handed catch for a 45 yard reception. But he followed that up by taking his eyes off the toss on a reverse and fumbled it. That was about the only negative on Agholor. He also threw a lateral across the field with no time left on the clock that was picked off by the Redskins. Agholor caught 3 passes for 64 yards.
Brent Celek - Celek continues to get a decent share of the snaps at tight end because the running game needs more blocking. He did make his mark in this game as a receiver catching a touchdown pass from Bradford while he was scrambling. Celek did a nice job to sit where he was and let Bradford find him for the score. He did commit a costly holding penalty at one point.
Jordan Hicks - Hicks continues to impress in his rookie season. He is taking advantage of extra playing time due to injuries and making an impact. Hicks recovered a fumble for the second time in as many games. He also racked up six tackles and is flying around the field very well.
Bennie Logan - Logan was involved in a lot of plays, particularly when the Redskins looked to run the ball. He led the team with 9 tackles and registered a quarterback hit.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins fits very well in this defense. He is so versatile and plays just about everywhere. He is a big factor in stopping the run and racked up 8 tackles in the process. Jenkins rarely makes a mistake and is a solid leader for that secondary.
Walter Thurmond - Thurmond continues to fly around on defense pretty well. He was second on the team with 8 tackles including a tackle for a loss.
DeMarco Murray - Murray returned to the lineup after missing the Jets game and looked good early. He broke a 30 yard run, but failed to do much after that. Murray finished with 8 carries for 36 yards. Running backs use carries to help develop a rhythm. Some backs need a few to start their engine. Murray appears to be that way and went so far as after the game to tell the media he needs the ball more.
Ryan Mathews - Mathews eclipsed the 100-yard mark a week ago but fell well short of that this week. He got 5 carries for 20 yards. Like Murray, Mathews needs some carries to start his engine and hopefully break one. That is not happening right now and until it does behind some solid blocking on the line, it is hard to blame Murray or Mathews for the rushing woes.
Darren Sproles - In my opinion, Sproles needs more touches. He returned one punt for 45 yards and carried the ball 4 times for 17 yards. Sproles did drop a pass thrown slightly behind him. He was targeted 3 times and failed to rack up a reception. That is on him and he must catch the ball when it is thrown to him. Sproles can provide a nice change of pace to Murray and Mathews, but not when he rarely touches the ball.
Eric Rowe - Rowe saw a ton of snaps in this game when Byron Maxwell left in the first quarter due to injury. He struggled in coverage and was flagged for a late hit out of bounds in the 4th quarter. Rowe played very well last week, but struggled against the Redskins. He looked a little slow at reading what was happening resulting in some completions against him.
Offensive Line - This offensive line looks awful. Granted, there have been some injuries resulting in some shuffling on the line, but it has not gelled and has not functioned as a unit. Pass protection is respectable, but run blocking is pathetic. There is no surge on the line and few holes opened for the backs. There have also been some costly penalties by the line that have helped to stall out and kill drives. The line gave up 5 sacks and 6 tackles for a loss. That is 11 negative plays out of 51 plays run.
Chip Kelly - Kelly continues to call some poor games offensively. This team has been woeful in the first half. Finally he took some shots downfield and it paid off. But once the Eagles got the lead, he pumped the breaks offensively and got conservative. In my opinion, it showed a lack of confidence in his players. Remaining aggressive could have allowed the offense to keep moving the chains, possibly put more points on the board and perhaps find a rhythm to build on going into next week. DeMarco Murray said after the game he needs to get the ball more. The only way to get more carries is to run more plays and that happens by moving the chains. The Eagles were 4-of-12 on third down and only ran 51 plays. It's hard to find enough footballs for everyone when they are not running more plays.
Caleb Sturgis - Sturgis missed his first two kicks as an Eagle. First he missed a 33 yard field goal attempt and followed that up by missing a PAT. Sturgis did make one PAT. Is that enough to keep his job for another week?