THE EAGLES' coverage units had been excellent lately, not even coming close to getting gashed. Punt coverage, in particular, had been extraordinary, with Donnie Jones winning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week two games in a row. Jones had gotten only seven of his last 33 punts returned - until Detroit's Jeremy Ross zipped through the Birds for 58 yards and a touchdown with 6 minutes and 37 seconds left in the third quarter.
At the time, Ross' return gave the Lions what sure looked like an insurmountable, 14-0 lead. Then, when that turned out not to be true, and the Eagles tied it at 14, Ross ran the ensuing kickoff back 98 yards for another touchdown.
Somehow, the Eagles overcame all this to win the game, 34-20, but it sure would have been easier if they'd been able to tackle the Lions' returner.
"We didn't get it done," said special teamer and safety Kurt Coleman. "But honestly, that wasn't us out there - but that was us, if that makes any sense. Everybody was battling the elements, both teams, no excuses. Someone had to make a play. We had to make him stop and start, change directions, we didn't. We had to get off blocks and make a play. No one did on the two plays you're talking about."
There was a painstaking review of the touchdown pass DeSean Jackson caught at the back of the north end zone, the Eagles' first points, scored with 4:05 left in the third quarter. Jackson clearly was inbounds when he caught the ball, but it seemed possible he had stepped out, then come back onto the field before the catch. The line wasn't all that visible. The touchdown stood.
"You couldn't tell" where the line was, Jackson said afterward. "I'm just glad they kept it as a touchdown."
Brad Smith caught his first pass as an Eagle . . . Rushing yards were 299-80 in favor of the Eagles . . . The Lions were penalized nine times for 48 yards, the Eagles once for 5 . . . Detroit managed 88 net yards in the second half . . . Chip Kelly said he took advice from corner Cary Williams, who told Kelly he was having trouble stopping and then turning and running, as on post patterns, so he figured the Lions' defenders would have similar trouble. It was a 44-yard post from Nick Foles to Riley Cooper that finally got the Birds' offense going.