DETROIT - Bill Davis spent Thanksgiving searching for solutions at Ford Field.
"I blitzed on almost half the calls," the Eagles defensive coordinator said. "I blitzed a lot more than I have in the last couple of weeks. We had doubles, we had brackets, we moved in and out of coverages."
One glimpse at the final score - Detroit Lions 45, Eagles 14 - told you that none of it worked. After forcing a three-and-out on the Lions' opening drive, the Eagles defense surrendered five touchdowns and a field goal without getting a single stop on Detroit's next six possessions.
After failing to find any of the right answers on the field, a flummoxed Davis also faltered in an effort to come up with a valid explanation afterward in the visitors' locker room.
"You know, we've got to get it fixed," he said. "There's not a whole lot to say after that. That's two weeks in a row."
Actually it's twice in the same week, since this stinker against the Lions came just four days after a similar beating from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
"Everything, everybody, we'll look at all of it," Davis said. "There's not much to say here. I do believe in the group of men we have. I believe we'll get it - shoot, I said it last week - get it corrected, and we will. The guys are fighting. I have to put them in better position. It's going to take all of us to get out of the hole. All of us got into the hole, all of us will get out of the hole. We just have to keep fighting."
The hole is an abyss. The Eagles have surrendered 90 points in their last two games, and the defense can be excused only for the seven that came as a result of a Mark Sanchez interception against Tampa Bay. Detroit's Matthew Stafford matched the five touchdown passes thrown four days earlier by the Bucs' Jameis Winston, and the Lions, who came into the game with the NFL's worst rushing offense, put up more than 100 yards on the ground for only the third time this season.
"In two weeks, it has not looked like it has to look, and we've got to fix it," Davis said.
That's a convenient way to look at the Eagles' defensive shortcomings, but not an entirely accurate one. This was a team that was gashed for 204 rushing yards in a game at Carolina that started the current stretch of four losses in five games. The 411 yards Dallas put up with Matt Cassel at quarterback represented the second-highest total by the Cowboys during Tony Romo's absence. And, of course, when the Eagles needed late-game stops in Atlanta and Washington earlier this season, the defense came up short.
Davis stood by his players, and his players and head coach stood by him after the Eagles lost their third straight game. Asked whether Davis would remain his defensive coordinator, Chip Kelly responded with one word: "Yes."
Linebacker Connor Barwin said the defense's problems are more about execution than scheme, while safety Malcolm Jenkins allowed that both things are a problem.
"I think it's a combination of both," Jenkins said. "I think it's players not making plays . . . and I think some play calls are tougher than others. But I don't think you can look at one thing and say that's the reason. It has been the same calls that were working earlier in the season."
Barwin noted that the Lions have recovered from a 1-7 start to win three in a row because they have started executing better on offense. He neglected to mention that they also conducted an extensive in-season housecleaning, starting with the ouster of their offensive coordinator after Week 7, then the firing of their team president and general manager the following week.
They have not lost since.
"I wouldn't like anything like that to happen," Barwin said.
According to the head coach, it's not going to happen. It's impossible to say how much blame for the defensive failures belongs to Davis and how much belongs to the players. There was a legitimate excuse for Calvin Johnson's three-touchdown day. When veteran cornerback Nolan Carroll went out with a season-ending broken ankle early in the second quarter, it left rookie Eric Rowe to cover the Lions' star receiver quite a bit. School was in, and Johnson taught Rowe some lessons on how to catch the football in the end zone.
You could argue that Davis should have done a better job helping the rookie. The defensive coordinator insisted he tried everything. A lot of times when nothing is working, teams like to try someone else. Kelly is more to blame for this mess than Davis, but assistants are often shown the door before their bosses.
"Not at all," Davis said when asked whether he had concerns about his job security. "I've been through a lot of NFL seasons. I know all of the risks and all of the scenarios out there, and I'm going to put my head down and work like I always have. Nothing will change here."
Something, of course, needs to change, and even though Kelly is saying the position of defensive coordinator is not one of them, it would not be shocking if Bill Davis was the first to pay the price for the growing stench of this team.