SEATTLE — If it's any consolation, the Eagles were beaten by the best team in football Sunday night.
Carson Wentz fumbled the ball away at the Seahawks' 1-yard line and the Birds committed seven penalties for 64 yards. Their winning streak ended at nine, as it should have.
Doug Pederson saw this coming.
He saw his team commit 11 penalties for 70 yards last week. He saw his players lose three of four fumbles. Their salvation lay in the fact that they were playing the woeful Bears, at home, against rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Sunday night they played the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, the Fran Tarkenton of his generation. They played at fearsome CenturyLink Field, where they lost for the fourth straight time since 2008. It happened on a most Seattle of Seattle nights — chill, damp, gloomy, and deafeningly distracting. "The 12," as the Seahawks' high-decible, 12th-man fans are known, were in full throat from the opening kick. They had plenty to celebrate. Most of their glee was rooted in Eagles' miscues.
"You can't make mistakes against a good football team on the road," Pederson said. "We did that again today."
The Eagles committed pass interference and defensive holding penalties on consecutive plays that cemented the Seahawks' first touchdown drive, at the end of the first quarter — the first first-quarter TD the Eagles surrendered this season, which made it 10-0. It was 10-3 at halftime.
"When we play like that, in a hostile environment — we can't make those kinds of mistakes," tight end Brent Celek said.
Wentz led the Eagles out of the locker room and directly down the field. They looked like what they are: The best third-quarter offense in the league. Until they didn't.
On second-and-goal from the Seahawks' 6, Wentz faked a handoff and ran the ball up the middle. Sheldon Richardson tackled him, and stripped him. The ball bounced out of the back of the end zone. It is just the second fumble Wentz has lost this season. It was costly — again, partly because penalties in the next few minutes made it so.
"Turnovers are magnified in games like these," offensive tackle Lane Johnson said.
Two more defensive holding penalties, the first one on third down, helped the Seahawks march 75 yards for a second touchdown and a 14-point lead.
There were other, tangential themes.
Wilson was thrillingly elusive and typically efficient; 20-for-31 for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
Wentz finished 29-for-45 for 348 yards, with a touchdown and a late interception, and connected with Nelson Agholor seven times for 141 yards and the touchdown, all at the scene of Agholor's haunting meltdown last season. It was, for Agholor, a chance at redemption made good.
There was controversy, too; in the middle of a fourth-quarter run, Wilson flipped what looked like a lateral to Mike Davis for a 23-yard total gain. Replay showed it was not a lateral, but Pederson had already failed on his first challenge, had only two timeouts left, and the Seahawks quickly ran their next play.
But then, Ronald Darby had earlier grabbed Paul Richardson's facemask and got away with it. These things tend to even out.
Penalties and fumbles do not. Pederson knows this.
That's why Pederson fumed for two days after last week's 28-point win over the Bears. Some people wondered why.
They were, after all, 10-1 and on top of the NFL. They had scored at least 30 points in five straight games, the first time that had happened since before the Korean War. That 1949 team scored more than 30 points in six consecutive games.
They were poised to win 10 straight for the first time in franchise history, but they had played sloppy football, and that is a fungus that can spread.
"Winning masks a lot of things," Pederson said last week.
The Seahawks ripped off that mask.