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Eagles vs. Redskins, Winners and Losers: Caleb Sturgis hurt the team

This week's grades are a mixed bag.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There were plenty of things to like about the Philadelphia Eagles' heartbreaking loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday. At times, the offense looked like its old explosive self. And the defense, for stretches, continued its dominance.

But after stealing the lead late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles weren't able to hold off the Redskins, falling 23-20 at FedEx Field. Let's take a look at who performed well, and who might be sitting on the bench (or on the couch) after a bad performance Sunday:


Sam Bradford: Now that was a bit more like it. After starting out cold in the first half, Bradford threw three big touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter to give the Eagles the lead. He hit Riley Cooper, Brent Celek and Miles Austin on a trio of big-time passes that showed off his arm strength and pocket presence. There was also this:

Admittedly, it's tough to really call Bradford a winner in this one. He threw three touchdowns, but was also inaccurate for much of the game, and is still hovering around a 50 percent completion percentage on the season. And there's also the small detail that he wasn't able to get the offense up the field late in the game. But fans have been calling for Bradford to throw deep all season, and they got their wish on Sunday.

Malcolm Jenkins: This column might eventually just be renamed after the Eagles' safety. He's been on this list for every game this season, and for good reason. He led the team with eight solo tackles, and continues to be a force. He made a couple nice open field tackles in this one, and continues to look like the best player on defense this year.

The forgotten receivers: Remember Riley Cooper? Remember Brent Celek? Remember when the Eagles signed Miles Austin? After quiet summers, all three guys got on the scoreboard Sunday.

Cooper got things started in the third quarter with a 62-yard catch and run, and Celek followed it up with a 10-yard grab. Bradford has been looking for Austin since the preseason, and the connection finally paid off on a 39-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles have some flashy weapons on offense, but Sunday was a reminder of how much value the wily veteran can bring to a team in need of a big play - or three.


Caleb Sturgis: The life of a kicker is rough. Sturgis hadn't been on an NFL team for a month, gets signed by the Eagles, and promptly gives the team a reason to give him the boot (no pun intended). Sturgis missed a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, and missed the PAT on Cooper's touchdown. In a three-point loss, those points loom large.

Nelson Agholor: Sorry, rook. Yes, he had the best game of his young career Sunday. And yes, he came up with a beautiful one-handed grab in the second quarter. But in this one, his mistakes outweighed the positives.

After making the one-handed catch, Agholor followed it up by fumbling on an end around on the very next play. And later in the quarter Agholor was called for an illegal formation penalty on a play that negated a Zach Ertz touchdown. Sturgis would end up missing the field goal to end that drive.

There is still plenty to be excited about with Agholor. But he has been inconsistent in his limited opportunities this season. He seems to have the kind of disposition that indicates he'll be able to work through it, but we haven't seen it just yet.

DeMarco Murray: Through three games, it's safe to say that Murray doesn't look like his old self. The 2014 rushing champion only ran eight times Sunday, and picked up a paltry 36 times, with 30 of those yards coming from one play.

That said, Murray did show some flashes. He looked better than the uncertain running back with no room to run we saw in the first two weeks of the season. After the game, Murray said that he felt he should be getting more carries, and it's tough to disagree. The Eagles paid him the money, and he'll need to be a bigger part of the offense moving forward.

Health: NFC East games are always physical affairs, and Sunday was no exception. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they took many more lumps than their opponent. The Eagles lost Jason Peters, Mychal Kendrick,  Byron Maxwell and Brandon Bairfor much of the game. As a result, rookie Eric Rowe was pressed into duty, the offensive line had to shuffle around even more and Vinny Curry played more snaps on the defensive line.

At 1-3 the Eagles have to make the most of every game, and losing key players to injury for long stretches will only hurt their chances.