Eagles grades vs. Redskins: Barwin, Cox excel

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Eagles grades vs. Redskins: Barwin, Cox excel

Eagle Eye: Adversity vs. Redskins helps D

November 19, 2013, 10:45 am
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Connor Barwin (left) had six tackles, including a sack, while Fletcher Cox had five and forced RG3 into a throw that became the game-ending interception. (AP)

It might have been their most complete game of the season.

The Eagles finally had their offense, defense and special teams excel on Sunday, as they scored a 24-16 win over the Redskins at the Linc to break their 10-game home losing streak.

Game balls went out to players from all three phases of the team’s third straight victory. Just a few who need extra sprints after practice.

Game balls

Fletcher Cox
One of the most dominant and complete games of his young and promising career. Obviously, his signature moment was pressuring Robert Griffin III into an ill-fated heave toward the back of the end zone that turned into a game-sealing interception for Brandon Boykin, but consider that the icing on the cake.

Cox caused headaches for the Redskins all game, asserting himself not just in run defense and pass rush but also showing the development of his instincts. On 3rd-and-19 in the first quarter, Cox sniffed out a right-side screen and suddenly abandoned his pursuit on Griffin to get into the flat and wrap up Roy Helu near the sideline after just a one-yard gain. A great instinctive play by Cox, who admitted that he had recognized plenty of the Redskins’ plays before the ball was snapped (see story).

In the second, Cox put the ’Skins in another 3rd-and-long by ripping off right guard Kory Lichtensteiger to solo tackle halfback Alfred Morris after a one-yard gain. On the next snap, Robert Griffin III was sacked. In the third, Cox fought through both right tackle Tyler Polumbus and fullback Darrel Young before tackling RG3 one yard short of first down on 3rd-and-1. The Redskins didn’t convert the fourth down.

Connor Barwin
Barwin doesn’t get enough credit for setting the edge in run defense, a major responsibility for an outside linebacker in the 3-4 front. He plays with sound leverage and frequently keeps running backs from bouncing outside, which allows inside linebackers and linemen to gang tackle.

Barwin made several impact plays against the Redskins, including the second-quarter sack at the Eagles’ 13-yard line that forced RG3 to fumble away possession. Barwin first had to bulldoze Young, who was kept in for pass protection. He also has a knack for batting down passes. Earlier in the game, he batted down a Griffin pass on the Skins’ first third down. On the next series, he made a good one-on-one tackle on Leonard Hankerson in the flat that limited the speedy receiver to just a five-yard pickup.

Cedric Thornton
If this guy doesn’t make the Pro Bowl, it’s because he’s not a big enough “name” around the league. There can’t be another 3-4 defensive end making more plays in run defense. He made five solo tackles, a high number for a lineman. The havoc started early for Thornton, who ripped off Polumbus to tackle Morris for no gain on Washington’s first drive. On the second series, he had penetration on consecutive plays against guard Chris Chester, the first of which resulted in Morris losing a yard and the second forcing RG3 into an incomplete pass to Santana Moss on 3rd-and-2. It was Thornton’s penetration on Polumbus that forced RG3 to dance around the pocket and get sacked by Trent Cole.

Nick Foles
You know you’re on a roll when you compile a 104.3 passer rating and it’s your worst in three weeks. Foles, now the NFL’s highest-rated passer, really had a superb game despite going without a touchdown pass for the first time since the Dallas debacle. His decision-making was impressive, as was his mobility. One of his smartest decisions was throwing the ball out of the end zone with the pass rush barreling down on him. He lived to see the next play, which was his four-yard TD run.

Foles’ prettiest pass was the 49-yard wheel route to LeSean McCoy, who had roasted Ryan Kerrigan and only needed a soft-touch pass for the big gain, which Foles delivered. Foles made a really nice toss to Riley Cooper for 23 yards on a 2nd-and-13 dig route against a five-man rush and an even sweeter 3rd-and-11 strike to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter. One slight knock: Two of Washington’s three sacks were on him. He didn’t get rid of the ball in time.

Donnie Jones
“Donnie Football” just keeps booming ’em. Four of his six punts were inside the Redskins’ 20, including, of course, the 70-yarder to the 4-yard line late in the fourth. None of his six punts were actually returned, so his 50.7 average matched his 50.7 net average. That’s impressive.

Brandon Boykin
He played just 26 snaps, which happens when the opponent is still trying to establish the run down by 17 in the second half, but ended up as the savior by picking off RG3’s asinine heave into the end zone in the waning seconds of the game. Boykin now has interceptions in consecutive games and a defense-leading four this season.

Jason Peters, Lane Johnson
Both offensive tackles were tasked with taking on Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, the Skins’ two best pass rushers. Peters, battling a slew of injuries, didn’t allow a sack. Johnson allowed one to Orakpo but otherwise kept the pocket clean. Peters manhandled London Fletcher on Brent Celek’s 49-yard screen. In the second, he picked up blitzing linebacker Rob Jackson to give Foles time on his 24-yard strike to Jackson. In the third, he picked up Brandon Meriweather’s blitz and gave Foles time to find Jackson across the middle for 26. Johnson sealed off Fletcher at the goal line on Foles’ four-yard touchdown run in the first.

LeSean McCoy
McCoy didn’t have 100 rushing yards but had some “wow” runs, including two ridiculous cuts in the fourth quarter that shook two different Redskins out of their jockstraps. Lots of Barry Sanders-like moments for Shady.

Extra sprints

Najee Goode
After an impressive showing against the Packers, Goode didn’t play as well against Washington. He wasn’t as disciplined with his tackling. He had a chance to tackle RG3 behind scrimmage early but came up empty on a dive. On Roy Helu’s 24-yard run on 3rd-and-1, Goode had a chance to stop Helu near scrimmage but left his feet and again came up empty. On the very next play, he made a good read on a quick pass to Jordan Reed on the right side but tried to arm-tackle the rookie tight end, who broke away and picked up 12.

Patrick Chung
Maybe his shoulder still isn’t 100 percent. Maybe he’s just rusty after missing so much time. Whatever the case, Chung didn’t play very well. He got suckered by a fake handoff to Morris on an end-around to Pierre Garcon that went for nine yards on the opening drive. He had trouble wrapping up Morris on several runs. In the fourth, he collided with Trent Cole on the sideline and completely took himself and Cole out of tackling Young on the catch that turned into a 62-yard touchdown. On the ensuing two-point conversion, Chung got picked by Nate Allen, who was covering Garcon, and let Nick Williams get wide open to make the catch.

Roc Carmichael
Really didn’t get many passes in his direction, but he somehow let Aldrick Robinson get behind him and reel in a 41-yard bomb in the fourth that made it a one-possession game. Carmichael didn’t turn around in time and let Robinson make an adjustment before catching the ball as he went to the ground in the end zone.

Passing grades

Bennie Logan
Gets better with every start. Had several penetrations in run defense and dropped Morris for a one-yard loss on 1st-and-10 in the first. Amazing the coaches went with Isaac Sopoaga for as long as they did.

Evan Mathis
Had some issues early as 'Skins linemen played games up front but was typically dominant in run blocking. He blocked linebacker Perry Riley Jr. and Jarvis Jenkins at the same time to help Bryce Brown get 24 yards on a screen.

DeSean Jackson
Was targeted four times and caught all four passes for 82 yards and is now 15 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season since 2010.

Trent Cole
Breezed past Redskins left tackle Trent Williams to sack RG3 in the second quarter, the first of his two sacks. Played a major role in run defense and dropped Morris for minus-two to set up 3rd-and-12 in the third.

Jason Kelce
Provided the lead block on 315-pounder Jarvis Jenkins to spring McCoy for three yards on 3rd-and-11 in the first. On the next play, he threw his body at safety Reed Doughty on the Celek 42-yard screen and then sealed off Fletcher at the goal line to clear the way for McCoy’s one-yard TD run.

Vinny Curry
Had two pressures in a three-play span in the third, the first over left tackle that forced Griffin to roll to his left and fire a hurried, incomplete pass and the second that forced Griffin to overthrow Moss on 3rd-and-12.