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Eagles' Marshall starts slow, then gains ground

BALTIMORE - Byron Marshall hadn't played in a football game since August, and early on in Sunday's 27-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, you could tell.

Eagles'  Byron Marshall is brought down by Ravens' Tavon Young in the fourth quarter.
Eagles' Byron Marshall is brought down by Ravens' Tavon Young in the fourth quarter.Read moreClem Murray

BALTIMORE - Byron Marshall hadn't played in a football game since August, and early on in Sunday's 27-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, you could tell.

Marshall seemed paralyzed by indecision, waiting for blocks to develop that weren't coming. He lost 6 yards, total, on his second through fourth carries, after gaining 3 on his first, Marshall thrown into a late-second-quarter scoring drive after Kenjon Barner went down with a hamstring injury on a 10-yard swing pass.

"Not hesitant, I just felt like I was trying to do too much," said Marshall, who later reeled off 10- and 12-yard runs on a drive that ended with a 27-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal, early in the fourth quarter. "Trying to make a big play, a big run, and not just make the right read, the right cut. Ryan (Mathews) was talking to me a lot on the sideline - 'If you see it, just take it. Don't overthink it.' . . . He told me that, and I did it."

Marshall, an undrafted rookie from Oregon, came up from the practice squad after fellow rookie Wendell Smallwood went on IR last week with an MCL sprain. When Barner went down Sunday - he was limping heavily afterward - the Eagles' run-heavy strategy had to lean at least a little on Marshall, who finished with 22 yards on nine carries, and two catches for 6 yards.

The Eagles have to play again Thursday, when they host the Giants. It's hard to imagine Barner being ready by then, so Marshall might get more work, and the Eagles also might need to look around for a back to sign to help get them through these last two games.

Brooks felt fine, Seumalo settled in

As Brandon Brooks predicted, the medication he's taking for the anxiety disorder he said caused him to miss two of the previous three games, worked well. Brooks started and seemed to have a good day at right guard.

"Woke up at 7, good to go," said Brooks, who'd awakened earlier, vomiting uncontrollably, last Sunday and the day of the Nov. 28 Packers game.

Overall, Brooks seemed to sum up the feelings of most Eagles, as they lost for the fifth week in a row, and ensured the franchise's first back-to-back losing seasons since 1998-99.

"You kind of get tired of not quite getting it done, you know?" Brooks said.

Meanwhile, Allen Barbre couldn't play with the hamstring injury he suffered last week and rookie guard Isaac Seumalo started at right tackle. Seumalo had some shaky moments early but settled down, in his first action in that spot since a similar emergency at Oregon State.

"Comfortable enough," Seumalo said. "It just takes time, especially at a new position. I didn't think it was great."

Snappy debut

New Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato might have wished for better weather, less swirling wind and lashing rain, but it didn't lead to any sort of miscue on any kicks or punts.

Lovato, signed last week, stepped in for Jon Dorenbos, who broke his right wrist against Washington, on the day he tied the franchise record for successive starts, with 162. Caleb Sturgis was 4-for-4 on field goals Sunday, and both snaps for Donnie Jones' punts were fielded cleanly.

"Overall, I think we executed pretty well on special teams," Lovato said. He didn't get a chance to snap for an extra point, the Eagles going for two after both touchdowns.

"I thought he did a great job," Sturgis said. "He came out there in really tough conditions and put the ball where it needed to be, for Donnie and me. I thought our operations were good."


Six catches on 16 targets for Baltimore wide receivers Sunday, two catches on seven targets for Steve Smith Sr. - but one of them was for 34 yards and a touchdown, the Eagles playing what some of Jim Schwartz's troops seemed to think was a too-aggressive coverage just before halftime . . . The good Nelson Agholor took a kickoff back 27 yards and drew a pass interference penalty that set up the Eagles' final touchdown. The bad Nelson Agholor dropped a screen and stepped out of bounds just before he lowered his head and seemed to pick up a first down on a fourth-and-2 jet sweep play, midway through the fourth quarter. Agholor praised Jordan Hicks for coming up with the subsequent interception that made Agholor's gaffe less than fatal. "It's unfortunate, the ruling," said Agholor, who clearly stepped out. "I gave tremendous effort to try to finish that play . . . I'll compete every time for that first down, when my number's called. What happened, happened. Gotta learn from it." . . . Ryan Mathews' 128 rushing yards were the most by a visitor in the Ravens' stadium since Peyton Hillis ran for 144 in 2010 . . . The Eagles were plus-1 in turnover ratio Sunday, the first time they've come out ahead there since Oct. 16, at Washington . . . Ravens coach and former Eagles assistant John Harbaugh termed former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's call for a pass on first down from the Eagles' 11 "the all-time worst call ever." Jordan Hicks intercepted with 6:12 left, starting the Eagles' comeback from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.