LANDOVER — Without top cornerback DeAngelo Hall, the Washington Redskins tasked Bashaud Breeland and Chris Culliver with keeping the Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receivers in check.
The defensive front made their jobs easy for the majority of the game. Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was frequently faced with two choices: Take a sack or get rid of the ball in a hurry.
Bradford ended up doing a good bit of both. The defense came away with five sacks on Bradford and held him to a 53.6 percent completion rate.
But Bradford still managed to throw three touchdown passes without turning the ball over once. He found receiver Riley Cooper wide open in the third quarter, screaming down the field for a 62-yard touchdown, and in the fourth, he found Miles Austin open for a 39-yard touchdown. Both times it was Culliver who was responsible for the blown coverage.
Culliver didn’t participate in practice on Thursday or Friday because of a left knee injury and was considered questionable on the final injury report. After the game, Culliver admitted that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Instead, he put himself closer to 50 or 60 percent, and said the knee wasn’t limiting him on just the deep balls.
“[It had] an impact if they even threw a hitch route,” Culliver said. “[I was] battling through injuries, just trying to play for my team and play for one another.”
The Redskins didn’t have a lot of options besides Culliver on Sunday. Will Blackmon was deployed in nickel and dime packages. Beyond him, the team’s options were limited to Quinton Dunbar, who was converted from wide receiver to cornerback in training camp, and Deshazor Everett, who was signed from the practice squad on Saturday.
“[Culliver] toughed it out for us today,” free safety Dashon Goldson said. “We didn’t think we were going to have him this game, but he came in and did what he had to do.
Murphy puts exclamation point on finish
Outside linebackers Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan strung together back-to-back sacks on the Eagles’ last drive.
“We knew they were going to be passing the ball,” Murphy said. “That’s like a D-lineman’s dream. … You pin your ears back and just go.”
The two sacks left the Eagles with a 4th-and-16 from their own 14-yard line. Well out of range to consider trying a Hail Mary, the Eagles attempted to lateral their way down the field on their last play. Murphy got in the way before the Eagles got far, intercepting a cross-field pass that was technically ruled a fumble.
“Fortunately, the coaches had the foresight to prepare for that all week in practice,” Murphy said. “Saw the wall [of blockers] being built up to my side. I knew the ball was coming back, so, just stayed home.”
Wind no problem for Hopkins
Kicker Dustin Hopkins finished Sunday’s game, in which winds were measured at 13 mph at kickoff, with three successful field goal attempts. He’s a perfect 6-for-6 through three games with the Redskins and has also hit all six of his extra-point attempts.
The Eagles’ Caleb Sturgis wasn’t as successful. In his first game with the Eagles, Sturgis missed his only field goal attempt, from 33 yards, and made just two of three extra points. Philadelphia added Sturgis, who lost out to Hopkins on the Redskins’ kicking competition three weeks ago, after Cody Parkey was placed on injured reserve with a torn groin.
The wet grass and wind at FedEx Field may have had something to do with Sturgis’ struggles. Hopkins attributed his consistency to several things.
“You have to go in trying to base it off of the conditions in pregame and see if those changed,” Hopkins said. “It’s nice having a guy like Nick [Sundberg, the long snapper] and a guy like Tress [Way, the punter] who are always consistent. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Reed leaves game late with injuries
Jordan Reed sustained knee and ankle injuries and was evaluated for a concussion after trying to make a catch on the final drive. Kerrigan (hip pointer), Murphy (briused hip) and wide receiver Pierre Garcon (sprained knee) all left with injuries but returned to the game.
Four injured players — Hall, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, inside linebacker Perry Riley and defensive end Kedric Golston — were inactive. Third quarterback Robert Griffin III, wide receiver Andre Roberts and right tackle Tom Compton were also scratched. … Left guard Spencer Long made his first career start. … Wide receiver Rashad Ross had a 43-yard reception in the third quarter, marking the Redskins’ longest play from scrimmage this season. … The Redskins had the ball for 41:08, marking their greatest time of possession since the team began keeping that record in 1991.