Throughout the course of an NFL game, each team will have a number of opportunities to make plays. Often times, the team that makes the most of those opportunities will win - simple as that. Sunday afternoon in Nashville was a prime example of that age-old sports edict.
With 5:53 remaining in the third quarter, the Eagles had a chance to take a commanding 23-7 lead on the road against a good Titans football team. But immediate pressure by Tennessee defensive tackle Jason Jones led to a botched handoff between Kevin Kolb and LeSean McCoy, a turnover that would ultimately prove costly.
While there were a number of factors that led to the Eagles' third loss of the season, it's easy to pinpoint exactly where the momentum shifted. Instead of a three-score lead, the Eagles watched Kerry Collins and the Titans offense drive down the field and put three points on the board, cutting the Eagles' lead to six.
"It really came down to an opportunity there to really put a hammer on things, and the turnover at the 3-yard line, that can't happen," head coach Andy Reid said following Sunday's 37-14 loss. "And then (the Titans) take it the length of the field, so you can't have those types of things."
The most alarming stat line to emerge from Sunday's game belongs to Titans receiver Kenny Britt. After spending the first quarter on the bench for disciplinary reasons, Britt amassed 225 yards on seven receptions, three of which were good for touchdowns. The Titans receiver has now caught at least one touchdown in five straight games.
"We have to do a better job all the way around," Reid said. "I take that responsibility. For a guy to continually catch the ball over and over, then I have to do something better from a coaching standpoint and obviously the players need to do a couple things better too.
"A lot of the time we had him doubled, so he did a pretty good job. He made some big plays. You have to give the kid credit, he's a good football player."
Lost in the frustration of defeat was the Eagles run defense yet again shutting down a Pro Bowl rusher, this time reigning NFL rushing leader Chris Johnson. The Eagles held Johnson to 66 yards on 24 carries and no touchdowns. It was only the third time this season that Johnson has been held to under 100 yards rushing, and just the third time he's been held without a touchdown. The Eagles defense has now faced five straight Pro Bowl rushers, and held each of them to under 100 yards rushing and no touchdowns.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was a day of highs and lows for quarterback Kevin Kolb. He completed 26 of 48 passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Some quick strikes to receivers Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin kept the offense on the field, as the team converted on 56 percent of their third downs, but the deep ball was a problem for Kolb all afternoon at a windy LP Field. With the exception of an incredibly acrobatic 37-yard catch by Cooper, Kolb's longest completion of the day was 17 yards.
"It was up and down," Reid said of Kolb's play Sunday. "He had some good plays, some phenomenal plays, and some that he'd like to have back. But when you're playing a good football team you're going to have that. I thought he battled through it."
The Eagles will enter their bye week at 4-3 and still very much in contention for the NFC East crown. Of course, waiting for them in two weeks will be Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, a team that Andy Reid has never defeated. Then again, the Eagles are 11-0 after the bye week in Reid's tenure.
With five of the Eagles final eight games against teams currently above .500, and five against NFC East foes, there is much to be decided in the weeks to come.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:10 p.m., October 24