The logic is infallible. The team that commits the fewest mistakes is the one that has the best chance of winning.
After Saturday night's loss to Washington, head coach Chip Kelly said his team committed too make mistakes to win the crucial game.
"You're not going to win a football game that way," Kelly admitted. "We left them on the field in too many third downs, where we got penalties to extend drives where you felt like you had a stop. Thirteen penalties and two turnovers isn't going to win a football game in this league."
The 13 accepted penalties were the most by the Eagles this season.
The Eagles' miscues began early, when quarterback Mark Sanchez was stripped on the first drive of the game, and Washington capitalized by scoring three points on the ensuing possession. The deficit grew in the second half when the Eagles' defense was unable to get quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense off the field, committing a number of the 13 penalties that often granted first downs. On the afternoon, six of the 13 penalties resulted in first downs.
Despite his team's ability to claw its way back into contention with an impressive pair of drives and an interception of Griffin, Kelly said the mistakes were insurmountable.
"I thought, you battle back and you end up tying the game at 24 ...," Kelly said, pausing mid-explanation. "But we didn't do enough good things to win. Obviously 13 penalties, missed two field goals, two turnovers. Not enough to win a football game."
And when Washington committed mistakes of its own, Kelly said the Eagles didn't capitalize like they needed to. After forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, the Eagles had the ball deep in the opponents' territory, already up by four points. Instead of a touchdown, or even a field goal, the Eagles came away with no points when kicker Cody Parkey missed a 34-yard field goal attempt. It was the first of two Parkey missed field goals.
"That was big," Kelly explained. "You want to come away with points, obviously. You start off, it's a good momentum swing, Malcolm (Jenkins) makes a good play on the kickoff cover. You get the ball out there and you think you're at least coming away with three.
"But that's kind of what the game was like all night."
The Eagles traveled to Washington to face their NFC East rivals in a crucial Week 16 showdown. Making the affair much more special, is that it's Saturday afternoon football ...
Now the Eagles will saddle up and prepare to head to MetLife Stadium next Sunday to take on the New York Giants.
The playoff picture is muddled, but Kelly wasn't thinking about that after Saturday's game. It's time to move on to New York.
"We've got one game left. We've got to go get ready and get focused for the New York Giants, and we've got to win that game," Kelly said. "And there are a lot of other things that have to happen besides that, but we have no control over that. The only thing we do have control over is getting ready for New York."
For the Eagles to make the playoffs, it's simple. The Eagles must beat the Giants and Dallas has to lose to Indianapolis on Sunday and Washington in Week 17.