It was the sort of afternoon that can echo deep into the winter, a disastrous loss to an inferior opponent that did not win a game as much as it sat back and enjoyed the damage that the home team inflicted on itself. One week after losing a game that they could have had, the Eagles dropped one that they should have had, on a number of different levels. The final score had the Lions beating them 27-24, but a more accurate accounting would have shown the Eagles beating themselves. They did it with dropped passes, and with inexcusable turnovers, and with a critical special teams breakdown that saw Detroit return its first kickoff 100 yards for a score.
The Lions might be a better team than many of us gave it credit, and the Eagles may have seen their already voluminous injured list grow by a couple more players, but neither of those qualifications will be factored into their resume once it comes time to award playoff seedings. There is still a lot of season left, but the Eagles will play it with little margin for error in their quest to secure home-field advantage in the NFC. Four days from now, they will face the undefeated Packers in Lambeau Field. Two weeks later, they will travel to Minnesota to face the 2-1 Vikings, followed by another road game against the undefeated Cowboys.
In short, this was as bad of a loss as a team like the Eagles can suffer when the days are still long and the sun is still burning bright.
With 9:07 remaining, Dallas Goedert got behind man coverage by Lions linebacker Christian Jones and Wentz spun a perfect ball that dropped directly into the rookie tight end’s outstretched hands ... and then bounced off of those hands and down to the ground in the end zone. The Eagles ended up scoring a touchdown on the drive, thanks to a couple of personal foul penalties that included a roughing the passer call on third down that gave them a fresh set of downs. But it took them an extra 2:08 to do so, time that would have come in handy considering how their last series ended: on a 4th-and-15 incompletion with 50 seconds left that left the Lions with nothing else to do but line up and kneel.
The drop by Goedert was emblematic of the afternoon. There was a fumble by Nelson Agholor where the receiver simply dropped the ball while attempting to turn up field after securing a catch. There was a fumble by Miles Sanders that killed a promising drive near midfield. There was the aforementioned kickoff return where Jamal Agnew simply outran an Eagles coverage team that seemed to be moving at a different speed, and not in a good way.
We have not seen many of these during Doug Pederson’s three-plus years as head coach. Before Sunday, the Eagles were 12-2 in home games in which they were favored by at least 4.5 points (according to pro-football-reference.com’s data). Both of those losses came against tough conference opponents: the Panthers and Cowboys in October and November of last season.