Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Unable To Tame Lions


DETROIT -- Four days after a loss to Tampa Bay in which the defense allowed 532 total yards of offense to the Bucs, the Eagles' defense lined up for some redemption on Thanksgiving Day against Detroit.

The results were, in fact, every bit as bad. Maybe worse in a 45-14 loss at Ford Field.

"Over the last two weeks, it's been embarrassing," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "It's players not making plays, being at the point of attack and not making plays and some play-calls are tougher than others. I don't think you can look at one thing and say that that's the reason, because we've had the same play-calls that were working earlier this season."

Detroit marched up and down the field on Thursday, amassing 430 total net yards, 253 of those yards with 16 first downs and 4-of-6 third-down conversions coming in the first half. The Eagles had very little success working against quarterback Matthew Stafford, who matched the performance from Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston with 5 touchdown passes. He had receivers open all over the field before and after the second-quarter broken ankle suffered by cornerback Nolan Carroll that drove Carroll from the game. Carroll was carted off the field and replaced by second-round draft pick Eric Rowe.

It didn't matter much. The pass rush wasn't able to get to Stafford, who played catch with his receivers on a variety of crossing routes, tosses down the field and nifty completions to his shifty running backs. The Eagles had no answers.

"There's not much to say here. I do believe in the group of men we have here. The guys are fighting and I have to put them into better position," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "It's going to take all of us. It took all of us to get into this hole and it's going to take all of us to get out of it.

"There's no excuses. There's no explanation. That's two weeks in a row with five touchdown passes in a game. We have to get it fixed and we will."

As Detroit opened up a 24-7 lead after two quarters, Stafford enjoyed one of his finest halves of the season: 17 completions in 25 attempts for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Detroit scored touchdowns on all three of its trips inside the Eagles' 20-yard line.

After holding Detroit to a three-and-out series the first time the Lions had the football, the Eagles' defense didn't get off the field in the first half until points were on the board. An eight-play, 65-yard drive ended on a Stafford 8-yard touchdown pass to running back Theo Riddick, who got open against linebacker Mychal Kendricks with an outside-inside move to give Stafford a throwing lane and the Lions were off and running … and passing … and doing whatever they wanted offensively.

After the Eagles tied the game at 7-7, Detroit promptly drove 80 yards in 12 plays, ending with a Stafford 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate to go ahead 14-7. After a three-and-out series by the Eagles' offense, Detroit drove 25 yards on six plays, ending the drive with a Matt Prater 48-yard field goal.

Detroit punted just once in the first half and ended the second quarter with an 11-play, 88-yard drive and a touchdown throw to Calvin Johnson, working against Rowe. It was Johnson's seventh straight Thanksgiving Day with a touchdown catch, and his ninth overall, a Turkey Day record.

And it added to the misery for an Eagles defense that is having trouble doing anything right.

Detroit opened the second half with a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive ending on a second Stafford-to-Johnson connection that consumed 7:51 off the clock and ratcheted the score up to 31-7.

Davis ordered up more blitzes as the game progressed, hoping to rattle Stafford. It didn't work. Nothing worked.

"We blitzed on over half the calls. I blitzed a lot more than I have in the last couple of weeks and we had doubles, we had brackets, we moved in and out of coverages," Davis said. "We had to scramble a bit when Nolan broke his ankle. We just have to adjust. Everybody is playing. We're looking at everybody. ... All we can do is fight through it."

The Eagles traveled to Detroit for their Thanksgiving Day kickoff against the Lions. View the full gallery here...

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