Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Redskins
Just 23 days ago the Eagles improved to 9-3 following a blowout victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. They controlled their own playoff destiny. In those 23 days the Eagles lost to the Seahawks and Cowboys in Philadelphia and failed to pick up a virtual must-win in Washington over the Redskins.
The Eagles beat themselves once again. The only thing missing from this 13 penalty, two turnover, two missed field goals performance is a partridge in a pear tree. There are few good grades to report following this third loss in a row.
Zach Ertz - Ertz took advantage of some mismatches in this game and set a franchise record for most receptions in a game by pulling in 15 passes for 115 yards. However, he said after the game that he would gladly take a zero catch performance with a win over this one in a loss.
LeSean McCoy - McCoy put together a solid performance averaging four yards per carry and finding the endzone. He carried it 22 times for 88 yards including an 11 yard touchdown. McCoy also pulled in three passes for 28 yards.
Riley Cooper - Cooper easily had his best performance so far this season. He made some great catches including a pair of touchdowns to keep the Eagles in the game. Cooper caught five passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks was all over the place on defense. He blew past the offensive line in the second quarter to sack Robert Griffin III. Kendricks was also the team leader in tackles with 10. That included a pair of tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and one pass deflection.
Jeremy Maclin - Maclin did what he could in this game. He was thrown at six times and caught four of those six passes for 62 yards. One of those he did not catch was thrown behind him for an interception. The other one that went incomplete was poorly thrown also. Maclin has been pretty consistent throughout the season and remained that way today.
Mark Sanchez - I toyed with giving Sanchez a 'B', but you have to ignore the stats and my eyes told me this was a 'C' performance. I felt he could have been more accurate with his passes and made sharper decisions. Even though he completed some difficult passes, he missed opportunities to hit guys in stride that could have led to bigger plays. He threw one interception, but it came at the absolute worst time and led to Washington's game-winning field goal. It was thrown behind Maclin. He has to take better care of the ball in that situation. Also, there were times that it was clear all of his receivers were covered up and he could have run for a first down. Instead, he hesitated and eventually tucked it and ran for a gain of three instead of moving the chains. Those little things make a big difference in a game. Sanchez completed 37 of 50 passes for 374 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Not bad, but it should have been better.
Nate Allen - Allen was inconsistent in this game. He committed a costly pass interference penalty in the endzone late in the third quarter that led to a Washington touchdown. Allen did redeem himself in the fourth quarter by helping Bradley Fletcher and intercepting a pass intended for DeSean Jackson. He was not consistent in this game. Allen had bright spots and dark moments throughout.
Brandon Graham - Graham got the start at outside linebacker for the injured Trent Cole. He had his ups and downs in this game. Graham committed a costly roughing the passer penalty on third down in the third quarter that extended Washington's drive. That drive eventually ended with a touchdown. He also finished second on the team with six tackles including two quarterback hits.
Chip Kelly - This may be the most questionable grade on the list, but I am sticking with a 'C' for Chip Kelly. He looked visibly frustrated when he walked into the post-game press conference with the media. What I saw was a man who could not believe his team performed as poorly as it did. I believe this loss falls mostly on the players who failed to execute and committed mental mistake after mental mistake. It was not Kelly's fault that Parkey missed two field goals. Kelly was not the one who committed stupid penalty after stupid penalty. These are professionals who should know better than committing the kinds of penalties the Eagles did today. However, I do not believe a head coach is without blame. I question putting Sanchez in position to throw that interception late in the game after just crossing midfield. At that point, worst case the Eagles should have gone to overtime. Washington should have never touched the ball throughout the rest of regulation.
Bradley Fletcher - If there was a worse grade than an 'F', Fletcher would get it. I couldn't tell if there was a fire extinguisher on the sidelines to cool him off following all the times DeSean Jackson burnt him in this game. Fletcher once again was abused by the opponent. DeSean Jackson caught four passes for 126 yards. Two of those receptions alone went for 106 yards in a one-on-one assignment against Fletcher. There are certainly numerous negative things to point to in this game as reasons why the Eagles lost, but Fletcher's play or lack thereof is one of the biggest.
Billy Davis - Davis gets an 'F' from me simply for the grade above this one. After two brutally ugly weeks by Fletcher, how could he trot him out there once again this week AND allow him to be in one-on-one situations against DeSean Jackson? I understand trying to show a player some confidence in him, but in a must-win situation this was inexcusable. Nolan Carroll II relieved Fletcher in the fourth quarter, but by then the damage was done. Carroll needs to get the start at corner next week if for no other reason than to see if he is capable of doing the job next year. There is absolutely no reason why Fletcher should start against the Giants.
Lane Johnson - Johnson was definitely not good in this game. Ryan Kerrigan blew past him in the first quarter resulting in a sack fumble and fumble recovery before Mark Sanchez even had a chance to set his feet. Johnson was also called for a bad holding penalty. This was his worst performance of the season.
Cody Parkey - Parkey has been great in his rookie season. However, an NFL kicker should probably not miss from 44 yards and definitely should not miss from 34 yards out. Even one of those field goals probably gives the Eagles the win in this game. Throughout the preseason, kicker was a major question facing this team. Parkey has made it anything but that. He entered the game making 29 of 31 field goals, but went 0 for 2 in a must-win game. Not good.
Vinny Curry - Curry has been solid this season applying pressure on the opposing quarterback and frequently taking them down for a sack. However, Curry committed some pretty poor penalties in this loss including a pair of roughing the passer calls. The second of those occurred on the game-winning drive and moved the Redskins from just outside field goal range to well inside that range.