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Grading the Eagles: Sanchez only half-bad; Fletcher flounders

Grading the Eagles after their 27-24 loss to the Redskins on Saturday, spotlighting a player from each position:

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)Read more

Grading the Eagles after their 27-24 loss to the Redskins on Saturday, spotlighting a player from each position:


The Eagles piled up nearly 500 yards on offense, but they had two turnovers, multiple penalties, were 3 of 5 in the red zone and failed to convert a key third down and 1 in the third quarter.

Quarterback: B-

Mark Sanchez completed 74 percent of his 50 pass attempts, averaging 7.48 yards per throw. He was 3 of 4 for 64 yards on passes over 20 yards. He also was 6 of 8 when he was blitzed, but he tossed a costly interception late in the game when the Redskins sent two extra rushers at him. Sanchez appeared to throw off his back foot. The ball was low and behind receiver Jeremy Maclin and Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked it off.

His first-half fumble was more on tackle Lane Johnson, who got beaten by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Sanchez had a few other passes he'd probably like to have back: After the forced fumble on the kickoff to open the second half, Sanchez checked down to LeSean McCoy on the flat when it appeared as if he had Jeremy Maclin on a short crosser. He threw to Zach Ertz in double coverage on third and goal in the fourth and the ball was knocked away.

But there was a lot of good from Sanchez. He converted a third down with a 5-yard pass over the middle to Ertz in the first. He fired a 22-yard pass to Maclin in the middle of a zone to convert third and 12. He flipped to Jordan Matthews over the middle for 10 yards in the second. His best throw may have come when he shuffled to his left out of the pocket and hit Matthews 26 yards downfield on third and 25. He fired a perfect three-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper on a slant. Sanchez connected with Maclin for 16 yards near the sideline.

Sanchez did a nice job throwing to ball up for a 16-yard touchdown to Cooper. On the Eagles' final drive, Sanchez completed five of his first six passes - one of which was nearly picked off - before he tossed the killer interception.

He also kept on the zone read two times for 7 yards and scrambled three times for 15 yards. Five of his receivers (Sproles, Maclin, Matthews, McCoy, Cooper) dropped catchable passes.

Running back: B-

LeSean McCoy rushed 13 times for 69 yards and a touchdown in the first half but was held to 19 yards on nine carries after the break. After being held to just one yard on his first three carries, he ran five times for 31 yards on the Eagles' next series. McCoy shook a Redskin and forged ahead for 10 yards on one rush and capped the drive off with a tough 11-yard touchdown run to the pylon. He was tackled for no gain when Brent Celek appeared to be late to block the safety. McCoy picked up a third down and two with a 6-yard scoot in the fourth. He later caught an 11-yard pass. McCoy was dropped for no gain on a zone-read play when the Eagles had first and goal midway through the fourth.

Wide receiver: B-

Riley Cooper had probably his best receiving game of the season, catching five passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He ran a slant route and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass in the first. He caught a 16-yard pass on a sideline route. He snared back-to-back 9-yard passes in the fourth. Cooper did a great job of turning his body and going up for a Sanchez pass that was floated slightly behind him for a 16-yard touchdown in the fourth.

Tight end: A-

Zach Ertz set a franchise record with 15 catches and amassed 115 yards. He converted a third down in the first with a 5-yard grab. He pulled in a 7-yard pass using one hand in the first. Sanchez overthrew him when he had a step in the corner of the end zone in the second. Ertz fared well as a blocker, as well, and helped spring Darren Sproles for 18 yards on a screen in the second. He laid out the safety when McCoy ran for 5 yards down to the 3-yard line.

He caught three straight passes before the half - a 10-yarder after shedding a tackler, a 7-yarder and then a 4-yard third-down pickup. He caught two more passes over the middle for 8 and 9 yards in the fourth. On the same drive, Ertz snapped a high pass out of the air for 16 yards. He caught four passes for 28 yards on the Eagles' final drive.

Line: C+

Lane Johnson had early struggles, particularly in pass protection against Kerrigan. But the right tackle adjusted in the second half. In the first quarter, though, he had trouble with a linebacker when McCoy was dropped after a 2-yard gain. Kerrigan got around Johnson and strip-sacked Sanchez. Johnson had a lead block on 5-yard tote by McCoy. He pancaked his man on McCoy's 11-yard touchdown dash. He was penalized for holding Kerrigan on a pass rush in the second. He held Kerrigan again, but a Redskins penalty offset the holding call. Johnson did a good job of sealing Kerrigan on McCoy's 6-yard run in the fourth. He did essentially the same thing on McCoy's 4-yard tote later on the drive.


The Eagles held the Redskins offense to 2 of 9 on third-down conversions, 2 of 4 in the red zone, and forced a turnover. But the defense gave up four plays over 25 yards and was penalized several times.

Line: B-

Bennie Logan and the Eagles defense held running back Alfred Morris to 83 yards on 21 carries. Eagles coaches credited Logan with three solo tackles. He played 42 of 57 snaps. He drove an offensive lineman back several yards and Morris had to bump outside for no yards. He shed a blocker and ran down Morris after 1 yard. He made initial contact with Morris, who was dropped after 2 yards in the third. He rolled away from a blocker and stood up Morris at the line in the fourth.

Outside linebacker: B-

Brandon Graham played every snap filling in for the injured Trent Cole. The Eagles credited him with four quarterback hits. He teamed up with Fletcher Cox and held Morris to 1 yard in the first. He appeared to be late to the edge when Morris ran 28 yards for a score on a stretch play. He teamed up with Mychal Kendricks to stop Morris in the third. He kept a scrambling Robert Griffin III to 7 yards in the open field. Graham was called for roughing the passer when he barely touched Griffin's helmet. The Redskins scored a touchdown three plays later.

Inside linebacker: B

Mychal Kendricks was easily the Eagles' best defender on Saturday. He had nine solo tackles. He read a screen pass and made a stop after a 2-yard gain in the first. A few plays later, he broke up a short pass intended for DeSean Jackson. He rushed up the "A" gap and forced Griffin to throw the ball away on third down, but a Cary Williams personal foul gave the Redskins a first down. He missed an open-field tackle on Morris' 28-yard touchdown run. He shot the gap and stopped Morris after 1-yard in the second. A play later, he beat left tackle Trent Williams off the edge and sacked Griffin. Later, he swept up fullback Darrel Young after Bradley Fletcher missed a short tackle. He blew up a lineman and dragged down Morris for no gain in the fourth. On the next play, he recognized a screen and made the tackle for a loss.

Cornerback: D-

Bradley Fletcher was benched in the base defense in the fourth quarter. He was beaten by receiver Andre Roberts out of the slot for 14 yards on third down in the first. A Jackson stutter-step move off the line had him trailing and Griffin hit the receiver for 51 yards. Jackson caught a 13-yard pass in front of him on a comeback route in the third. Pierre Garcon beat him for 17 yards on a slant on the same drive. He played 10 yards off in the third, but Jackson got behind him again and ran down a 55-yard catch. Fletcher knocked away a fourth-down pass to Santana Moss.

Safety: B-

Malcolm Jenkins nearly had an interception when he stepped in front of a Griffin pass to Garcon at the 5-yard line in the first. He had coverage when tight end Jordan Reed couldn't pull in a third-down pass in the second. He made a late run stop on Morris.


Jenkins forced a fumble on the opening kick of the second half, but the Eagles failed to score points off the turnover when Cody Parkey was wide right on a 34-yard field-goal attempt. Parkey was way wide right on a 46-yard try later in the third.


Chip Kelly has several problems, but his biggest one may be in the locker room.

His decision to release DeSean Jackson and bring back Riley Cooper was never going to please every player on the team. Kelly obviously knew that. But it certainly raised eyebrows from a certain faction of the locker room and in recent weeks there have increasingly been murmurs from players.

The way the Eagles lost on Saturday, with Jackson delivering daggers to the defense, prompted two players to lament his absence.

"And then [Jackson] burns us," one starter said. "That hurt because you think, 'Damn, he should be on our team. Why he isn't he on our team?' "

Another starter: "I miss him. We miss him. . . . It was a mistake."

There are others, but they're unwilling to go on the record for obvious reasons. Jackson said after the game that some of his former teammates were telling him as much even during the game.

"They constantly tell me how much they miss me and they wish I was still there, but that's a decision they chose to make in the front office."

Let's be clear: It was Kelly's choice. Right or wrong, it has had ramifications in the locker room. It's unclear if it will fester.