Here are some observations and ruminations about Thursday night's Eagles-Bengals game:
It couldn't last.
A week after the Eagles offense did not commit a turnover for the first time in six weeks, Jeremy Maclin fumbled on the second play from scrimmage.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg called for another of his trusty receiver screens, and Maclin made some nifty moves to get upfield. But he apparently didn't learn anything from Bryce Brown's recent misfortune when holding the football like a loaf of Stroehmann's.
Maclin was stripped from behind by Carlos Dunlap, and the Bengals converted the giveaway into a touchdown.
- Jeff McLane
The Eagles defensive line has endured criticism for much of this season, but it has appeared rejuvenated since Jim Washburn was fired.
The best performance yet came on Thursday. The most sacks the Eagles recorded in any game this season was three. They topped that in the first half alone on Thursday, entering halftime with four sacks.
Brandon Graham, who is proving that he's not a draft bust since becoming a starter after Jason Babin was cut, had two of those sacks and a forced fumble.
The Birds had six sacks at the end of the third quarter.
- Zach Berman
The special teams had another Keystone Kops moment. After the Birds were held on their second series of the game, they had only 10 men on the field for the ensuing punt.
Clay Harbor ran out before the snap, but something was awry at the snap. When Mat McBriar cocked his leg to punt, Marvin McNutt, who had been driven back by the Bengals' Daniel Herron, was in his way.
McNutt's posterior then blocked McBriar's punt, and Herron recovered at the Eagles 11. It was just another in a series of bungled plays by Bobby April's units.
The Eagles' most reliable red-zone threat is Riley Cooper. The long-haired receiver uses his 6-foot-3, 223-pound frame to his advantage near the end zone, and did just that for an 11-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
It was Cooper's third red-zone reception and third for a score. Unlike the previous two, which were fades, this one came in the middle of the field. Cooper used his body to get position and pulled down a catch at the line.
To no great surprise, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie opened the game opposite Bengals receiver A.J. Green. And to no greater surprise, the Eagles cornerback could not pull in a sure interception that went through his hands on the Bengals' first possession.
Cincinnati scored four plays later when BenJarvus Green-Ellis plowed in from a yard out.
Despite the inglorious early moment, Rodgers-Cromartie did a commendable job and helped hold Green to just four catches at the half. The receiver converted a big third down with an 11-yard catch in the third quarter, though.
Clay Harbor viewed Thursday as a key opportunity for him, and he had the chance to build off a six-catch performance last week in which he caught every pass thrown in his direction.
His first half against the Bengals was not as encouraging. Harbor totaled 6 yards on one catch despite having four passes thrown in his direction.