Small­wood’s re­turn TD a bright spot that

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

Wen­dell Small­wood gave the Ea­gles some life Sun­day with a long kick­off re­turn for a touch­down. But it was over­shad­owed by the loss to the Red­skins.

LANDOVER, MD. >> Wen­dell Small­wood gave the Ea­gles a lift with a kick­off re­turn for a touch­down. The rookie fifthround pick rolled 86 yards for a score Sun­day to pull the Ea­gles within a touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter of their game with the Red­skins.

Small­wood also com­mit­ted one of 13 Ea­gles penal­ties, which barely was an im­prove­ment on the 14 they com­mit­ted in a loss last week to the Lions.

It was one of those Sun­days for the Ea­gles (3-2), who wound up on the wrong side of a 27-20 de­ci­sion. It was their sec­ond straight loss, and their fourth in a row to the hated Red­skins (4-2). The Skins have won four straight games over­all.

“It was just great block­ing by us,” Small­wood said of his sec­ond touch­down with the Ea­gles. “All I had to do was run. I didn’t have to make any­body miss or any­thing. I just ran through the hole. Josh Huff led up in­side and it just opened up big-time.”

Small­wood’s block in the back of blitz­ing linebacker Ter­ence Garvin, how­ever, negated Car­son Wentz’s 38-yard com­ple­tion to Do­rial Green-Beck­ham in the fourth quar­ter and ul­ti­mately Small­wood was at a loss to de­scribe what went wrong there.

“Hon­estly, I don’t know,” Small­wood said. “I want to look at it be­cause I picked the blitz up. Car­son started scram­bling. I thought I was in­side of the blocker and Car­son came in­side of me. I don’t feel like I pushed him in the back.”

Small­wood’s kick­off re­turn pulled the Ea­gles within 14-7 with 7:37 left in the first half. It was his sec­ond TD. An un­sports­man­like con­duct penalty on Ver­non Davis pushed the kick­off back to the 20-yard line.

“We kind of knew com­ing into this game we’d prob­a­bly get just one shot with all the touch­backs you get,” Small­wood, who re­sides in Wilm­ing­ton, Del. said. “And that penalty helped us out. I think they were kind of re­laxed by so many touch­backs.”

The touch­down was bit­ter­sweet.

“It kind of doesn’t mean any­thing to me be­cause we lost,” Small­wood said. “I’d rather have not had it and won.”

*** Among other penal­ties for the Ea­gles was Mar­cus Smith’s chop block on a punt re­turn in the first quar­ter. It gave the Red­skins a first down at their own 29-yard line in­stead of the 14.

Ea­gles de­fen­sive tackle Fletcher Cox was flagged for rough­ing the passer on a third-and-four in­com­ple­tion late in the sec­ond quar­ter.

It ex­tended a TD drive, giv­ing the ’Skins a 21-14 lead at the half. Cox jumped off­side on the first play of the sec­ond half.

“I think every­body’s frus­trated,” Cox said. “But we know the type of team we have and we know what we’re ca­pa­ble of. We have to cor­rect the mis­takes and get ready to play Min­nesota next week. We have to fix the penal­ties. Two of those penal­ties in the last two weeks cost us seven points be­cause of me. I have to be a whole lot smarter than what I am.”

Among other costly penal­ties was one by Ron Brooks, who had a face­mask penalty on a field goal drive, en­abling the ’Skins to go ahead, 24-10, in the third quar­ter. And Ea­gles safety Rod­ney McLeod jumped off­side to give Wash­ing­ton a first down in the fourth quar­ter.

*** Leodis McKelvin didn’t make it through the pregame warm-ups, the Ea­gles scratch­ing the veteran cor­ner­back.

Con­sid­er­ing the deep re­ceiv­ing corps of the Red­skins, the loss of McKelvin was ev­ery bit as chal­leng­ing for the Ea­gles as life with­out of­fen­sive right tackle Lane John­son, sus­pended for 10 games.

The Red­skins were with­out tight end Jor­dan Reed (con­cus­sion), their lead­ing re­ceiver. But for­mer Ea­gles re­ceiver DeSean Jack­son burned the Birds with four re­cep­tions for 55 yards, in­clud­ing a 35-yarder to set up a touch­down. And Pierre Gar­con had six catches for 77 yards.

Ron Brooks, who nor­mally plays in nickel sit­u­a­tions, con­trib­uted three tack­les start in place of McKelvin.

*** NOTES >> Rookie cor­ner­back Jalen Mills had a rocky start for the Ea­gles, but set­tled in to reg­is­ter seven tack­les and one pass breakup . ... McLeod led the Ea­gles with 13 stops, Nigel Brad­ham added 10. The Ea­gles didn’t sack Kirk Cousins.

ALEX BRAN­DON — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ea­gles run­ning back Wen­dell Small­wood (28) re­turns a kick­off for a touch­down past pur­su­ing Red­skins Keith Mar­shall (39) and Hous­ton Bates (96) to get the Birds on the board in the first half Sun­day in Landover, Md.

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