PHILADELPHIA, OCT. 12 -- A week after a victory so improbable that the Washington Redskins thought they might ride its emotional crest for weeks, they were buried tonight beneath a stunning avalanche of injuries and mistakes in a 28-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles before 65,857 at Veterans Stadium.

The Redskins could have written a dozen worst-case scenarios and they likely wouldn't have been as bad as the one they lived this blustery, 39-degree evening when they hauled off player after player with injuries.

At the end of the night, they'd lost quarterbacks Jeff Rutledge (thumb) and Stan Humphries (right knee), running back Gerald Riggs (left arch), return men Walter Stanley (right knee) and Joe Howard (concussion) and middle linebacker Greg Manusky (left knee) at least for awhile.

They were so decimated that rookie running back Brian Mitchell finished the game at quarterback and they played so badly that the Redskins likely will insert Mark Rypien back into the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints at RFK Stadium.

Rypien suffered a knee injury seven weeks ago and has not taken part in a full-blown practice since. But with the Saints marching in on Sunday and the Redskins playing at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, their choices are limited.

The injury list was so long and so staggering that what happened on the field was almost forgotten. And what happened was ugly.

The Redskins (5-4) were manhandled by the Eagles (5-4), who scored 21 points in a four-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter. It matters, too, because while both teams have a shot at the playoffs, the Eagles tied the Redskins in a race for the first-round home-field advantage.

"We knew what was at stake and they kicked our butts," Redskins defensive tackle Darryl Grant said. "I don't see how you could see it any other way. It shouldn't have been that way, to have that happen on national TV . . . Now, {Eagles Coach} Buddy Ryan can say anything he wants to say."

The injuries will be re-assessed on Tuesday, but Humphries and Riggs appear to have suffered the most serious ones. Humphries appears to have suffered ligament damage to his right knee, and Riggs injured the same left arch that sidelined him for most of seven games last season.

"A tough day," Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We lost a lot of guys and it's going to be tough to regroup. We've really got our work cut out for us. We have some serious problems."

The fairy tale that had been Rutledge's beginning in that 41-38 overtime victory at Detroit last week ended abruptly in the third quarter when he suffered a sprained right thumb that sent him to the sideline for the night.

He'd had a bad enough night already when William Frizzell returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in the first half. He completed only six of 19 passes for 62 yards, an interception and a touchdown.

"It's a big-time disappointment," Rutledge said. "I haven't had that many chances and for this to happen. . . . I'm not going to throw the towel in on my career, but it's a tough night. I just hope I can come back and play next week and get the team into the playoffs."

He was soon joined by Humphries, whose season probably ended when he suffered his injury while being wrapped up by defensive end Reggie White.

Gibbs had gambled for 10 years and 159 games with only two quarterbacks in uniform, and until tonight he hadn't paid for taking that chance. But with Gary Hogeboom in street clothes on the two-man inactive list, the Redskins had to turn the game over to Mitchell, who led them on their final touchdown drive.

By the time he entered with 2:49 left, the game was an afterthought. The Eagles won thanks to Clyde Simmons picking up a Rutledge fumble and returning it 18 yards to make it 21-7 with 2:41 left in the third quarter. White's first career interception set up the final Philadelphia touchdown a few seconds later.

The Eagles finished with only 262 yards, but won because they held the Redskins to 200 (50 on the ground). They sacked Redskins quarterbacks only three times, but hit them or were in their faces on virtually every play.

"No question it was a great game," Ryan said. "Probably one of the best defensive games since I've been here. We put a lot of pressure on them. The teams that win in weather like this win in the playoffs. I'm like to be there."

Riggs was injured just when he appeared to be hitting his stride again. He suffered a sprained foot on his sixth and final carry of the game. The severity of the injury wasn't immediately known, but it appeared to be similar to the one that sidelined him last season.

He got hurt on the final play of the first quarter when he gained four yards and came out of a pile of players limping.

"It's the same thing as last year," Riggs said. "I don't know how bad, but it doesn't feel good. I was hoping to get off the astroturf without them happening. I just don't know right now. It's very frustrating."

Stanley suffered an injury to his right knee during a first-quarter punt return. He spent the remainder of the night in a splint and the early diagnosis was that he had injured his medial collateral ligament. Team officials said they would know more Tuesday when they see how much swelling and soreness he has.

Manusky injured his left knee midway through the third quarter while attempting to wrap up running back Heath Sherman. Howard was injured when hit by linebacker Britt Hager while returning a punt in the fourth quarter.

"I think I'll be okay," Manusky said. "It felt bad on the field, but has gotten better back in here."

The first half was a mess, a mixture of penalties, mistakes and missed opportunities. Both quarterbacks were knocked down virtually everytime they threw the ball, and when they did have time, they didn't do a great job. It was tied 7-7 at the half and each team scored on a mistake by the opponent.

Rutledge threw for Ricky Sanders in the left flat. Sanders was open, but Rutledge didn't get it there. Frizzell stepped in front at the 30 and sprinted untouched into the end zone for the first score.

"We had some people in the wrong place," Rutledge said. "That's my mistake. I'm supposed to get them there."

The Eagles gave the Redskins their scoring chance. That came on fourth and 23 at the Philadelphia 22, when Redskins cornerback Sidney Johnson sailed past blocker Anthony Edwards and into punter Jeff Feagles.

Feagles tucked the ball under his arm and began to run. He appeared to have a couple of chances to get a kick away and didn't. Then he attempted a pass.

When the play was done, the Redskins had the ball at the Philadelphia 12. Riggs ran for four yards, injured his foot and was gone.

Then Rutledge ran a naked bootleg and tossed low to a wide-open Don Warren who caught it in the end zone.

It remained 7-7 until late in the third quarter when Ralf Mojsiejenko punted from his end zone. Edwards returned it 11 yards, and the Eagles drove the 33 yards in seven plays for a nine-yard pass from Byars to Sherman and a 14-7 lead with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter.

The Eagles broke it open seconds later when on third and four from the Washington 31, Hopkins blind-sided Rutledge and separated him from the ball. Simmons picked it up and jogged into the end zone for a 21-7 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter.

Humphries came in and quickly found out about the fun Rutledge had been having when his fourth pass was tipped by middle linebacker Byron Evans and caught by White at the Washington 42.

It was White's first career interception and he returned it 33 yards to the 9. Three plays later, the Eagles made it 28-7 when Cunningham threw three yards to Sherman on the final play of the third quarter.