Early in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 48-7 loss to the Saints on Sunday, New Orleans faced a fourth-and-7 at midfield with a 38-7 lead.
Instead of punting, the Saints elected to go for the first down. Safety Malcolm Jenkins lined up against dynamic running back Alvin Kamara. Jenkins tried to jam Kamara off the line, but the Saint slipped by him and created enough space for quarterback Drew Brees to deliver a perfect 37-yard touchdown pass.
While Kamara danced on the big screen to the delight of the raucous crowd, Jenkins ran to the sideline, grabbed his helmet with two hands, and slammed it into the turf with a yell.
That intense feeling of immediate anger had subsided within Jenkins when he spoke to reporters at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday. But the frustration lingered.
"It was just embarrassing, quite frankly. It was one of those things that I didn't feel like, as a team, we had a lot of fight. I'd rather just get thrown out of a game than lay down and take it," Jenkins said. "But just the demeanor of the team really bothered me. And then just the frustration of having guys that you work hard with and spend a lot of time with get injured. It's just a rough day and all. At this point in time, we need to figure out some things about ourselves."
Jenkins said he is OK with teammates making mistakes, especially in the current injury-ridden secondary, but he won't tolerate players not knowing what they're doing or not giving a full effort.
"I wouldn't say uninspired. But I think when a team jumps on you like the Saints did and gets rolling, you find out a lot about yourself," Jenkins said. "You're going to get blown out regardless. You're either going to get blown out swinging or blown out laying down. And I think you had a little bit of both."
Jenkins, a team captain, said he could only speak for the defense when asked about the team as a whole. Tight end Zach Ertz said he thought the offense fought to the very end and stayed aggressive.
Defensive end Brandon Graham said he saw the spirit of the team drop as the Saints got off to the fast start that the Eagles needed to avoid. He did, however, disagree with Jenkins' sentiment that some on the team took the loss lying down.
"I just felt like in that moment, people were just kind of disappointed. I don't think (anybody) quit. Because, at the end of the day, we've all got to watch the tape and I hope nobody look like they quit," Graham said. "We all kind of were shocked like, 'Damn, they scored more.' It's tough but, I mean, every time we were out there, I felt like people were going to go but sometimes you don't get the results you're looking for."
There is reason for Jenkins to be frustrated. At the end of Sunday's game, he found himself as the only starter in the secondary from Week 1 left in the game. Injuries have devastated the defensive backs in particular and Jenkins has had to be the rock at the center keeping the unit together.
Jenkins stressed that there is no other choice than to play with whoever is on the field. He said it is up to him and the coaching staff to make sure guys are prepared and are confident to make plays. It's a challenge from which the veteran leader won't shy away.
"This is a situation that's not for the faint of heart or the weak-minded," Jenkins said. "If it's more on my plate, it's more on my plate. What the other option? Turn it down? Phone it in? That's not in my DNA so if that's more on me then that's fine."
Jenkins said the only way to alter the demeanor he found disappointing is to get into practice and be critical when reviewing the tape. He also expects that everyone playing with him in the secondary will give a full effort at all times.
The next three games, all against NFC East opponents, will make or break the season for the Eagles. Jenkins said they need "every drop" of energy and they're going to demand it from the bottom of the roster to the top.
"This is who we're going to win with," Jenkins said. "If we can't handle it right now, there's not going to be a switch we can turn on later to all the sudden be the team everybody expects us to be. We have to figure that out today."