Spread the blame all around for this loss

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Andy Schwartz

On of­fense, the Ea­gles couldn’t hold on to the ball.

On de­fense, the Ea­gles couldn’t pres­sure the QB and couldn’t cover in key mo­ments.

On spe­cial teams, the Ea­gles gave up a kick re­turn for a TD. “Lis­ten, there’s enough [blame] to go around in this foot­ball game,” coach Doug Ped­er­son said. “Of­fense. Un­timely penal­ties. Fum­bles. Drive killers on of­fense that kept us from scor­ing. Kick­off re­turn for a touch­down. De­fense not get­ting off the field on third down — key third downs. There’s enough to go around — you just can’t put your fin­ger at one thing.”

No, you can’t. But here are five things that stood out from Sun­day’s 27-24 loss to the Lions.

1. Agnew’s TD: The Ea­gles scored in the first quar­ter for a change as Jake El­liott hit a 25-yarder to cap a nine-play, 69-yard drive.

Then on the en­su­ing kick­off, some­thing looked off from the start, and Ja­mal Agnew sailed 100 yards for a TD. Agnew had an abun­dance of run­ning room, safety Rudy Ford had the best shot at him but whiffed badly, and the Ea­gles trailed 7-3.

“It just ap­peared like we got stuck on blocks on the back side, and the ball bounced out­side, which can’t hap­pen,” Ped­er­son said.

Per NBC Sports Philadel­phia’s Reuben Frank, the re­turn matched the sec­ond-long­est kick­off re­turn ever against the Ea­gles. The Cow­boys’ Reg­gie Swin­ton had a 100-yarder against the Ea­gles in 2002, and the Bron­cos’ Trindon Hol­l­i­day had a 105-yarder in 2013.

2. Sec­ond-quar­ter turnovers: Ball se­cu­rity was one of the knocks on Miles San­ders com­ing out of Penn State, and late in the sec­ond quar­ter he fum­bled twice on one drive. Isaac Seu­malo re­cov­ered the first — San­ders was stripped while on his feet — but the Lions re­cov­ered the sec­ond. The ball was punched out just be­fore San­ders was down.

The Ea­gles held the Lions to a field goal, and things didn’t get any bet­ter for San­ders on the en­su­ing kick­off. Doug Ped­er­son stuck with the rookie, who held onto the ball but lost his hel­met, as safety Miles Kille­brew grabbed the face mask and ripped it off — yet some­how the none of the of­fi­cials saw it. No penalty.

Ped­er­son didn’t elab­o­rate on the missed call but did ex­plain why he didn’t yank San­ders.

“We just told him we have a lot of con­fi­dence in him, still have a lot of trust in him and kept him out there,” Ped­er­son said. “That’s the only way to have trust and con­fi­dence in a player — keep him out there and keep play­ing.”

Late in the quar­ter, Nel­son Agholor, who ear­lier in the game dropped a sure first-down catch, caught a pass, piv­oted and dropped the ball. It was enough of a foot­ball move to be ruled a fum­ble.

“They made the right call,” Agholor said. “It slipped out of my hands when I was try­ing to move up­field.”

The Ea­gles held the Lions to a pair of field goals on both and trailed 20-10 at half­time.

3. Woah Nelly: Think Agholor was re­vert­ing to his pad­dle­handed form?


Mid­way through the third, on third-and-five, Agholor took a 2-yard pass and bounced off a pair of Lions for a 20-yard touch­down to get the Ea­gles within 20-17.

Agholor fin­ished with eight catches for 50 yards and two scores — his sec­ond came min­utes af­ter Dal­las Goed­ert dropped an easy touch­down. The Ea­gles had sev­eral dropped balls — the ex­act num­ber (be­tween five and 10?) de­pends on your def­i­ni­tion — but re­gard­less, it was sim­ply too many.

Asked to ex­plain the drops, Ped­er­son said “drops can be a num­ber of things,” in­clud­ing lack of fo­cus and not be­ing strong to the ball, but said, “to­day it was prob­a­bly more on the fo­cus part of it.”Sure, they missed Al­shon Jef­fery (calf ) and DeSean Jack­son (ab­domen), but drop­ping the ball is drop­ping the ball.

“Can’t make no ex­cuses,” Agholor said. “We had op­por­tu­ni­ties on balls. We’re sup­posed to make plays. The … hurts, it re­ally does.”

4. Stafford slings one: Third-and-four on the en­su­ing drive. The Linc was rock­ing.

The Ea­gles blitzed Lions quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford, who stayed poised and slung one like a short­stop to Marvin Jones for a 27-yard com­ple­tion.

It was the key play in a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended when Jones beat Sid­ney Jones to the cor­ner of the end zone for a 12-yard score, and the Lions again led by 10.

5. Mir­a­cle erased: The Ea­gles, aided by a pair of Detroit penal­ties — in­clud­ing a rough­ing the passer on third down — got within 27-24 on Agholor’s sec­ond TD.

With 1:53 left, it looked like the Ea­gles were on their way to a mirac­u­lous win.

Mal­colm Jenkins blocked Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal to give the Linc life and set the Ea­gles up at mid­field. They would have been on the Lions’ 40, but a block in the back called on Jenkins dur­ing Ra­sul Dou­glas’ re­turn moved them back 10 yards.

All they needed was a field goal, but they couldn’t even get close enough for El­liott to try a 61-yarder.

On fourth-and-15, J.J. Arcega-White­side, with a Lions hand in his way, couldn’t hang on to what was a con­tested but catch­able ball in­side the 5.

A fit­ting way to end a day where the Ea­gles sim­ply dropped the ball.

“Our spe­cial teams gets a big play like that with a blocked field goal … we gotta cap­i­tal­ize on that,” Agholor said.

Twice the Ea­gles had a chance to drive for the game-ty­ing field goal or game-win­ning TD, and twice they failed. In those fi­nal two drives, they net­ted mi­nus-5 yards.

“There were a lot of things go­ing on within those plays and no-hud­dle com­mu­ni­cat­ing,” Car­son Wentz said. “It was su­per frus­trat­ing to have a shot like that and come up short.”

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