Tuesday 19 December 2017 / 12:32 AM

HIGH-FLYING EAGLES GROUNDED IN DETROIT

The Philadelphia Eagles went in hot to their bye week, only to get a dose of reality from an unlikely conqueror in the Detroit Lions. This was a game the Eagles should have easily taken, but they were riddled by penalties and small errors that put the Lions in the lead in the dying minutes.

If there was ever a winnable game for the Eagles, this was it. The Eagles came out cold in the first quarter, failing to make a mark on the scoreboard while giving up 14 to the Lions, but from that point forward the game could have been theirs.

Yes, it was a close game at the end but the Lions only scored three points in the second half. The Eagles’ performance was likened to a marathon runner who jogged the first half, only to try to catch up with short sprinting bursts at the end. This game also saw the first turnovers for the Eagles, and the fact they made it this far without any turnovers is pretty impressive.

The loss exposed Carson Wentz’s inexperience. The 23-year-old is fresh off the 2016 Draft and has already exceeded expectations. To take the Eagles on a 3-0 run is enough to grant him some breathing room when it comes to a loss every now and then.

In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Wentz had the opportunity to lead his team against a deficit. Time was not in their favor and Wentz looked borderline neurotic on the sideline. At the start of what could have been a long drive, Wentz launched it deep downfield to a double covered receiver and was picked off by none other than Darius Slay.

The Lions defense made all the difference. Slay pretty much won the game with his forced fumble on Ryan Matthews with 2:34 left in the game. This gave the Lions the opportunity to land a quick field goal and take the 24-23 lead. Slay’s interception of Wentz’s hail mary pass sealed the deal and got the Lions their second win of the season.

The Eagles also sabotaged themselves, racking up seven times the amount of penalties the Lions gave away. There’s no excuse for losing that many yards for minor infractions like holding calls and delays of game.

A bold move for any quarterback, the Wentz’s throw was something that got people on the edge of their seats. Wentz has guts. He ran the risk of throwing an interception in critical moments of the game, and not many rookies are willing to heat check themselves like this. Besides, if the ball did land in the hands of its intended receiver and Philadelphia won the game, Wentz would have built himself up to even higher pressure and expectations. Winning is great for a rookie QB’s confidence, but losing has to happen to set a realistic standard.

Overall, the loss goes to show how far the Eagles have come since just a season ago. Last year, the Eagles got decimated by the Lions 45-14, and this year it was only a one-point game. Wentz went 25 for 33 passes for 238 yards and got two touchdowns.

Sure, he threw one incredibly vital interception, but the Eagles will easily move beyond it. Since Wentz has manned the helm for the Eagles, he has thrown 91 for 135 and 1,007 yards in his past four games. He’s thrown for seven touchdowns to his single interception.

The best part about this loss are these are all mistakes that can be corrected in a short amount of time. It’s not like they’re in a Cleveland Browns sort of situation where they don’t have a quarterback. The Eagles just have to be smarter when it comes to penalties, not allow any more interceptions or forced fumbles, and come out of the gate strong to avoid going 14-0 in a quarter.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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