The Eagles allowed Lions returner Jeremy Ross to score on a 58-yard punt return and a 98-yard kick return. The field conditions played a role, but Colt Anderson still called the two plays inexcusable.
"We've got to cover, we've got to do a better job, and we'll learn from this, but there's no excuses for this," Anderson said.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly said that the Eagles outkicked their coverage, which is easier to do when it's harder for the coverage units to run downfield.
"It was a combination of everything," Brandon Boykin said. "You can't really start and stop. It's always easier for the guy with the ball in conditions like this to dictate where the ball's going to go and cut."
The Eagles did not have much success returning the ball. DeSean Jackson let one punt inside the 20-yard line bounce and did not even remove his hands from his hand-warming pouch to attempt.
There were no field goal attempts all game despite multiple opportunities, and only one extra point was attempted after eight touchdowns. That extra point was blocked, which is an example of why neither team wanted to risk the kicking game.
"We talked about it early and then as the snow kept coming, we knew we weren't going to," coach Chip Kelly said. "The ball was coming out at such a low trajectory."
Kelly said he might have considered it if it were a tie game and there was a fourth down, but there was never a situation that warranted a kick. Kelly even kept his offense on the field on fourth-and-7 from the 10-yard line instead of attempting a field goal.
The Eagles were 2 for 5 on 2-point conversions.
Nick Foles' first interception of the season came when a first-half pass sailed on him and into the hands of Lions cornerback Chris Houston. Kelly attributed the poor pass to the weather. But neither Kelly nor Foles said they thought about Foles' remarkable streak, which ended with 19 touchdowns without an interception.
"I know a lot of hype has been made for the touchdown-to-interception ratio that I don't even worry about," Foles said. "I care about the wins. I learn from it. It's an interception."
Tight end Brent Celek had a clear path to the end zone in the fourth quarter, but he instead dove to the ground after a 27-yard gain on 4th-and-12. The dive allowed the team to kneel the ball and the clock to expire. It was a similar play to the one Brian Westbrook made in 2007.
"I knew as soon as we called that play, that if I caught it, I was going down," Celek said. "Listen, I score then we have to do a kickoff and then the defense has to go out there. Guys can get hurt. It's not a smart move for the team."
It took all of two plays before Matt Stafford fumbled the snap in Sunday's snowy conditions. The Lions quarterback recovered the ball, but he dropped the ball again three plays later on the next drive and then five plays later on that same series. He fumbled again a quarter later and Detroit retained possession, but the fifth time wasn't a charm.
With the Eagles ahead, 28-20, halfway through the fourth quarter, the Lions bounced back with a long kick return and a 28-yard pass to Joique Bell. But on the next play, Lions center Dominic Raiola snapped the ball to Stafford, who was in the shotgun and not ready. The ball sailed past him and rather than fall on the ball, he tried to scoop it up and couldn't. Mychal Kendricks recovered and the Eagles scored on the ensuing drive.
Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin didn't go as far to say the fumbled snaps were because of the defense.
"But all I know is that their center-quarterback exchange was a problem and our center-quarterback exchange wasn't," Barwin said. Jason Kelce and Nick Foles had just one fumbled snap, but Foles pounced on the free ball.
Bell is no Bush
The Lions had two other fumbles by Joique Bell that occurred in the first half when they were in Eagles territory.
Eagles defensive end Cedric Thornton forced the first one at the 20-yard line and Barwin recovered. Barwin, aided by linebacker Brandon Graham, caused the other at the 9-yard line and safety Patrick Chung recovered.
Bell was pushed into a starting role when Reggie Bush tweaked an already-injured calf during warm-ups and didn't play. Bell, a former Eagle who has been a productive second running back in Detroit, is certainly not of Bush's caliber.
"I don't know if it was Bush or the weather," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said when he was asked if the Lions' scheme changed.
Bell finished with 69 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He did catch four passes for 58 yards.
The Lions defensive line was called for six penalties, a few of them costly. Four of the six flags they received were for encroachment or neutral zone infractions.
"They're the type of team that likes to get off the ball and they'll risk that every now and then," Eagles guard Evan Mathis said. "Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter when he hit Nick Foles just after he tossed a deep pass incomplete. The call looked questionable. Three plays later, after LeSean McCoy ran 40 yards for a score, a Ndamukong Suh holding penalty brought back a failed 2-point conversion.
The Eagles converted the second chance when Bryce Brown ran in from one yard out. The Lions converted a third down on a long Bell screen pass in the fourth when they trailed, 22-20, but the play was called back by a penalty for an illegal player downfield. All told, the Lions had nine penalties for 48 yards to the Eagles' one for five yards.