Rookie first-round pick defensive tackle Fletcher Cox learned a valuable lesson about composure in Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions.
Cox was thrown out of the game with 10:30 remaining in the fourth quarter after he threw a punch at a Lions player while trying to climb out of the pile following an extra point attempt.
"It was a mistake and it will never happen again," said Cox, who did not dispute that he threw a punch. "I have to control myself. I have to learn from that mistake and not let it happen again."
When Cox left the game, the Eagles still led 16-13 and even held a 23-13 lead after Jeremy Maclin's 70-yard touchdown reception with 5:18 remaining. However, the Lions offense came alive and Cox could do nothing but sit and watch from the locker room. The Lions offense struggled to gain traction getting 243 total yards with Cox on the field. After Cox was ejected and the defensive tackle rotation was reduced to three players, the Lions gained 206 yards in the rest of the fourth quarter and overtime and scored 13 points to get the win.
"It was bad, real bad. It hurt me," Cox said. "When I went out, (defensive line coach Jim Washburn) told me on the sideline that it was going to be hard with just three guys and to rotate with three guys. I can't do that. I have to be smart about the situation.
"It's just hard knowing we took a loss like that and I got ejected from the game when they needed me."
Fellow defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins would not blame Cox as he explained that the rest of the guys had to pick up the slack.
"Cox is a great player. He's a pretty good player for us," Jenkins said. "You obviously don't want to lose any of your guys at any point. If somebody is not there, then everyone else has to step it up and fight through it."
Cox said that he think the Eagles would have won Sunday if he did not get thrown out of the game. Now, Cox will have two weeks to think about the mistake before the next time the Eagles are back on the field.
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