It looked like an inadvertent collision. Malcolm Jenkins had just blocked Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal attempt and Rasul Douglas was running with the ball, behind Jenkins.
In front of Jenkins, a Lions player stopped and started to turn inside, as Douglas angled away from the sideline. Jenkins bumped the player from behind, several yards away from Douglas. The Lions player was barely moving, would not have gotten over before Douglas passed him, regardless. But a flag flew for a block in the back.
That was enough to ruin Douglas’s return, which went into Detroit territory and would have at least set up a game-tying field goal in the final 99 seconds.
The Eagles got the ball at midfield. Granted, at home that should have been plenty good enough to kick a field goal or score a game-winning touchdown, but not on this day. What would have been the winning heave bounced off the heels of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s hands on fourth-and-15 from the Eagles’ 45.
Jenkins, second from the right as the unit lined up, went in untouched and easily blocked the kick. The Lion in front of him had to choose between Jenkins and Avonte Maddox. He chose Maddox.
“We thought we could get home,” Jenkins said. “We should have gotten in field goal range, if I didn’t get a block in the back.”
Jenkins said he wasn’t sure about the call. “I got to see the tape. There was a lot flying around at that point. You’re just frantic, trying to get a block, trying to get that ball down the field and score if you can.
“I didn’t even know they called a block in the back until I saw the offense line up at the 50. … It’s tough. Obviously something that I want back.”
But it was hard to make the case that the Eagles really deserved to win, given their carelessness.
“Talent’s never been enough to win in this league,” Jenkins said after the Eagles set up Detroit points with two fumbles and allowed a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. “Not that we don’t understand that. We’ve just got to do it.”
On the Jamal Agnew TD return, it looked as if T.J. Edwards might have gotten blocked in the back, then Agnew broke an Andrew Sendejo tackle and got to the far sideline. Nobody over there could get off a block.
At first blush, corner Ronald Darby’s hamstring was the only injury from Sunday that seemed likely to carry over into the Green Bay game Thursday.
Defensive end Derek Barnett said he twisted his ankle, and he missed some snaps, but Barnett returned to the game and seemed unaffected. He said afterward he was OK.
Left tackle Jason Peters missed about half the first quarter and all of the second with an unexplained illness, but he returned and played the entire second half.
Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside had their problems Sunday, but first-round rookie Andre Dillard made it a miserable day for Eagles youngsters all around when he crumpled to the ground, three snaps after replacing Peters. Someone rolled up on the back of Dillard’s right leg. He was wearing a knee brace after the game but said he was fine. Halapoulivaati Vaitai ended up playing a number of snaps at left tackle.
Tight end Dallas Goedert (calf) dressed but didn’t get on the field in the first half and ended up with a handful of snaps. He was targeted once and was open in the end zone but dropped a touchdown pass.
The Eagles activated defensive end Daeshon Hall and wide receiver Greg Ward but made no use of them. Hall never left the sideline; Ward got a handful of snaps but no targets. Third quarterback Nate Sudfeld also was active.
The Lions won despite losing their top corner, Darius Slay, to a hamstring injury and defensive tackle Mike Daniels to a foot injury.
Darren Sproles and Lions safety Tavon Wilson were hand-checking one another downfield. Carson Wentz’s fourth-and-5 pass from the Detroit 45 arrived at the sideline, just inside the Detroit 20. Sproles got leverage on Wilson, went up, and made the catch.
Immediately a flag flew for offensive pass interference, something Eagles wideout Mack Hollins earlier was called for twice. Until this year, it was hard for a defender to get an OPI call if he had his hands on the receiver, but the league decided OPI was getting out of hand, and well, here we are.