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Eagles vs Redskins: The Grades

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After going almost two years without a fourth-quarter come-from-behind win, the Philadelphia Eagles  now have two in two weeks.

Sunday’s improbable 27-24 win over the Washington Redskins  may have been as much the Redskins’ doing as it was the Eagles, but it was still a win.

The Eagles stand 7-4 as they embark on a two-game road trip to Atlanta and the Meadowlands. They trail Dallas (8-3) by one game in the NFC East and are tied with Green Bay (7-4) for the two NFC wild-card spots.

Here’s how they graded out against Washington.

PASSING OFFENSE: For 48-plus minutes, Donovan McNabb was 16-for-28 for 145 yards. On the first four possessions of the second half he was 4-for-9 for 19 yards with an interception. Then, on his final two drives, that tied and won the game, he went 5-for-7 for 115 yards. That’s the McNabb of old, coming through big when the team needs him. After losing receiver DeSean Jackson  to a concussion and watching tight end Brent Celek  drop three passes with a sprained thumb, McNabb relied on rookie Jeremy Maclin and tough guy Jason Avant on the final two drives. Avant (five catches for 94 yards) had two huge catches of 46 and 20 yards on the tying drive. Maclin (five for 63) had two catches, including a 35-yarder, on the game-winning drive. The shovel pass to rookie running back LeSean McCoy  on the tying two-point conversion was a great play McCoy, who somehow kept his balance after being hit at the 2 and made it to the end zone.

Grade: B

RUSHING OFFENSE: McCoy continues to run hard and make the most of his carries. He carried 17 times for 76 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry, and also picked up a key third down run. Fullback Leonard Weaver gained 44 yards on just six carries, including an 18-yard run and a 12-yard run to the 1 that led to the tying touchdown. Eldra Buckley had two cracks from the 1 and got in on his second try. The offensive line had too many penalties, but won most of the battles with the Redskins front four which was missing Albert Haynesworth.

Grade: B

PASSING DEFENSE: For whatever reason Washington quarterback Jason Campbell  plays better against the Eagles than he does almost everyone else. Campbell made some plays with his legs, avoiding trouble, and hit on some big plays early. He finished 22-for-37 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions to Asante Samuel. The Eagles depleted back seven did a decent job for the most part, especially in the fourth quarter stopping the Redskins on their final drive and holding them to a field goal (after a McNabb interception) when a touchdown may have put the game away. Samuel’s sixth and seventh interceptions of the season were both big, and Sheldon Brown, playing with a torn hamstring, continues to amaze.

Grade: B+

RUSHING DEFENSE: For the 18th straight regular-season game, the Eagles did not allow a 100-yard rusher and held the Redskins, as a team, to 82 yards on 25 carries, an average of just 3.3 yards per carry. Left defensive end Juqua Parker was as active as he’s ever been. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson was also stout at the point and weakside linebacker Will Witherspoon came up and made plays. Of Washington’s 25 rushing attempts, only one went for more than nine yards and four were for minus yards.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS: The onside kick to start the game backfired when the Redskins recovered and returned it to the 24 yardline. To make matters worse the Eagles were also assessed a five-yard penalty. Coverage teams played pretty well, maybe as well as they have all season. The Redskins managed just 19.8 yards per kickoff return and only one yard on one punt return. The Eagles return teams weren’t very good, either. Jackson had a 29-yard punt return before he went out, but Maclin, filling in for him, lost two yards on his only return. Victor Harris averaged a paltry 11.7 yards on three kickoff returns. Sav Rocca’s numbers (43.4 gross, 43.2 net) look better than his actual punts. David Akers made four more field goals and has hit 16 straight.

Grade: C-

 

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homepage: John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post