Sitting one game out of first place in the NFC East heading into Thursday's game, many Eagles fans allowed themselves to look ahead to the team's remaining slate of games and the tiebreaker scenarios that could decide the division. But when the final whistle sounded after the team's 45-14 Thanksgiving Day loss to the Lions, that is the furthest thing from anyone's mind.
The Eagles are 4-7, a game-and-a-half behind the division-leading New York Giants and a half-game back of the Washington Redskins. More importantly, though, the team has mustered just 31 points in its last two games, both losses, while allowing opponents to score 45 in each contest.
"We didn't coach well today, didn't really do anything well today, and it's disappointing," head coach Chip Kelly said after the loss. "You've got five games left here, (and) we've got to go play. I don't think anybody's going to feel sorry for us. As a group, we've got to play better.
"I have confidence in the players in that locker room. … But we haven't seen it the last two games."
The Eagles entered the game without quarterback Sam Bradford, running back Ryan Mathews or tight end Zach Ertz because of injuries. Tackle Jason Peters, wide receiver Josh Huff and Nolan Carroll were all knocked out of Thursday's loss.
Without Peters, Philadelphia was forced to move right tackle Lane Johnson to the left end of the line and insert Dennis Kelly on the right side. The banged-up Eagles front allowed six sacks and struggled to open up lanes in the rushing game, where DeMarco Murray, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner combined for just 64 yards on 23 carries. Mark Sanchez went 19-of-27 for 199 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Carroll was carted off the field in the second quarter with what was later diagnosed as a broken right ankle. In his place, rookie Eric Rowe stepped in and drew the difficult assignment of lining up against five-time Pro Bowl wideout Calvin Johnson. The veteran receiver finished the day with eight catches for 93 yards and three touchdowns and was the primary target of Matthew Stafford, who threw for 337 yards and five touchdowns on 27-of-38 passing on the day.
"We tried to put a little bit more pressure on (Stafford)," Kelly said of the team's defensive adjustments following the injury to Carroll. "But he's a guy that's been around for a while. I think he did a really good job of handling some of the blitz looks that we were giving him, in terms of getting them set in the protection, in terms of being able to pick those guys up."
In each of Kelly's first two seasons at the helm of the Eagles, the team has finished 10-6. Now, at 4-7 through 11 games, that mark is not possible. When asked whether or not he felt like 9-7 would be a step back for the team, he said that 10-6 was a step back from where the team hopes to finish every season, which is No. 1 in the NFC.
With five games left in the year, all the Eagles can do is handle their own business down the stretch.
The Eagles traveled to Detroit for their Thanksgiving Day kickoff against the Lions. View the full gallery here...