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Eagles buckle under storm of penalties

LANDOVER, Md. - The Eagles committed 13 penalties for 102 yards. Three of them came against the defense on third down and extended drives.

Redskins offensive players line up against the  Eagles defense. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
Redskins offensive players line up against the Eagles defense. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)Read more

LANDOVER, Md. - The Eagles committed 13 penalties for 102 yards. Three of them came against the defense on third down and extended drives.

Cornerback Cary Williams was called for unnecessary roughness, defensive end Fletcher Cox for encroachment, and linebacker Brandon Graham for roughing the passer.

A few plays after Graham's flag, defensive end Vinny Curry took his own roughing-the-passer penalty.

Curry hit Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III late in the fourth quarter, too.

Nate Allen was flagged for pass interference when he held DeSean Jackson in the end zone.

Offensive linemen Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Andrew Gardner, and Jason Kelce were all called for holding.

The Eagles entered the game 12th in the NFL in penalties, but they may lead the league in untimely ones.

Cooper delivers at last

It's small consolation, but Riley Cooper finally handed in a game that was worthy of a starting outside receiver. He caught five passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He pulled in a Mark Sanchez pass on a slant and airlifted for a nifty 16-yard score in the fourth quarter as the Eagles mounted a comeback.

But Cooper, aside from maybe his blocking, has been a nonfactor on offense for most of the season. The guy he essentially replaced - Jackson - burned the Eagles for 126 yards and forced defensive coordinator Bill Davis to bench corner Bradley Fletcher.

Has Cooper ever forced a defensive coordinator to do anything other than roll coverage toward Jeremy Maclin's side?

Clutch on third down

The Eagles found a third-down defense as bad as their own - at least on their 15-play, 93-yard drive in the second quarter. Faced with third and 25 after Johnson was penalized for holding and Peters helped give up a sack, Mark Sanchez moved to his left out of the pocket and fired a 26-yard completion to receiver Jordan Matthews over the middle.

Three plays later, after Peters also took a holding penalty, the Eagles had third-and-16 at the Redskins 40. Rather than attempt a pass downfield, Chip Kelly called for a screen pass to Darren Sproles. Screen passes hadn't been working for the Eagles of late, but this one did. Sproles motored for 18 yards behind blocks by Peters and Kelce. The drive culminated with a Sanchez 3-yard touchdown pass to Cooper on a slant route.

Bumbling, fumbling

LeSean McCoy and the Eagles got off to a slow start on their first drive. The Eagles running back managed just 1 yard and three carries, and the series ended when Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan got around Lane Johnson and stripped Sanchez. It was the 12th turnover for the Eagles quarterback on the season (nine interceptions and three fumbles).

The Redskins were held to a field goal after the fumble and the Eagles bounced back with a 10-play, 79-yard drive. McCoy was instrumental. He rushed five times for 31 yards, caught a pass for 18 yards, and scooted 11 yards for a touchdown.

It was McCoy's fourth red-zone score of the season.

Chip punts

The Eagles had third and 11 from Washington's 41-yard line with 21 seconds remaining in the first half and no timeouts. Sanchez tried finding Darren Sproles on a short pass along the sideline, but there was an apparent miscommunication and Sproles kept running ahead when the pass sailed behind him.

Instead of attempting what would have been about a 58-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining, Chip Kelly elected to take the delay of game and punt the ball away.

A long field goal was not an option because Kelly said the Eagles needed to get to at least the 35-yard line for Cody Parkey to have a chance, based on the way he kicked in warm-ups. Kelly neglected to go for the first down or a touchdown because if the Eagles missed, he thought Washington would get a shot to score before halftime.

Big play, no payoff

Malcolm Jenkins stripped Redskins returner Andre Roberts on the opening kickoff of the second half and Nolan Carroll jumped on the ball to give the Eagles possession at Washington's 16-yard line.

It was another in a long line of big special-teams plays for the Eagles this season, although this one was unfruitful. The Eagles could not even score a point. They failed to net a yard on three offensive plays, with LeSean McCoy's 1-yard gain on first down neutralized by a 1-yard loss on a short pass on the next play. Mark Sanchez threw incomplete on third down, and Cody Parkey missed a 34-yard chip shot.

"We can't put ourselves in that position," Sanchez said.

"Coming out of halftime, Malcolm makes a great play and now we have to capitalize and it just didn't happen. That's too bad when we needed to get some points there."

Knocked back

Before Cody Parkey's second missed field goal, the Eagles had third and 1 from Washington's 28. They tried handing the ball to LeSean McCoy for a first down, although McCoy had nowhere to go.

"We didn't get a good push up front," Kelly said. "Looked like we got knocked back a little bit. Obviously, if you're going to win games like this, you've got to convert on third down."

Kelly sent Parkey on the field for a 46-yard field goal. He did not go for the first down because he said it was not a long field-goal attempt.