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Eagles vs. Patriots - Winners and Losers: Big plays help Philadelphia shock New England

A win!

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

In a game just about everyone had written off as a loss, the Philadelphia Eagles scored 35 points to stun the New England Patriots in their home, 35-28. It was a wild game filled with huge plays and surprising performances. Let's take a look at who showed up, and who left us scratching our heads:


Darren Sproles: On Sunday Mr. Everything did, well, everything. He finished the game with 100 yards from scrimmage and, oh yeah, tacked on an 83-yard punt return touchdown for good measure. The coaching staff really seemed to want to get Sproles involved early and often, and it showed on the stat sheet - he led the team in rushing attempts (15) and catches (four). Incredibly, Sproles' 15 carries were the third most of his career.

Malcolm Jenkins: Welcome back to the winner's circle, Malcolm! The Eagles safety was a mainstay on the Winners and Losers column early in the season. And what better way to make a return than with a 100-yard, coast-to-coast interception return for a touchdown? Jenkins was, as usual, solid in coverage. And it was great to see the stone handed Jenkins pull down the tipped pass from Walter Thurmond III and take it to the house.

Connor Barwin: On a night in which Tom Brady was sacked four times, Barwin led the charge with a pair of them. It was Barwin's first multi-sack performance of the season, and brings his season total to 5.5. It's been a pretty quiet season for the former Texan, but the improved pass rush helped out the defense all game.

All of us: Let's be honest - we needed that. After back-to-back-to-back embarrassing losses, Eagles fans needed something to smile about. And after years of losses to Brady and the Patriots, we can now look back with fondness on the time Malcolm Jenkins took a Tom Brady pass 100 yards the other way.


DeMarco Murray: Just about everyone got in on the action Sunday. And while Murray had some moments, it was another rough outing for the big ticket free agent. Murray was outplayed by Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, finishing the game with eight carries for 24 yards - with a long run of 19 yards. Murray has been a significant disappointment in his first year in Philadelphia, and it was certainly disappointing to see him outplayed by his teammates.

It's still hard to tell what's causing these issues. Is it a result of last year's intense workload? Is it scheme? Is it injury? Whatever the reason, Murray hasn't been worth anything near his price tag. Since the Eagles won and are still in the thick of the playoff race, it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff uses Murray. They gave him the money, but will he still get the touches with the game on the line? Sunday's carries split isn't promising, but the situation will bear watching.

Nelson Agholor: It's been a difficult year for the rookie. The Eagles drafted him with the 20th overall pick in last year's NFL Draft with the hope that he'd be able to replace some of Jeremy Maclin's deep threat potential. In this game, he was targeted only twice, and had an egregious drop early. Agholor's had a difficult time getting open all season, and those struggles continued again on Sunday.

And in fairness to Agholor, his teammates weren't helping much. Jordan Matthews was the team's leading receiver, and he finished with three catches for a paltry 36 yards (though he did score a touchdown). Without a reliable receiver to stretch the field (or even one who can threaten the defense on the outside), the Eagles' offense will continue to be stymied. As the team's first round pick, it will hopefully be Agholor - and sooner rather than later.

Penalties: It's getting a little ridiculous. The Eagles racked up eight penalties for 97 yards in this game, including two on Jason Peters and one on Lane Johnson that turned a first down catch into a third and long. Normally good teams will make you pay for those kinds of mistakes, so the Eagles should consider themselves lucky that they got away with it this week.

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