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Streak Ends For Eagles Defense


For the first time this season, the Eagles' defense finished the game without a takeaway. No fumble recoveries. No interceptions. In the mind of the players, those zeros on the stat sheet are unacceptable.

But, not forcing turnovers isn't the only thing that cost the team the game in its 20-19 loss to the Dolphins. The Eagles missed out on a number of opportunities.

Really, they beat themselves.

"I don't want to take away from them," linebacker Connor Barwin said following the game. "They made some plays, obviously. They've got good players who made plays at clutch times, but we didn't do what we need to do to win the game and what we're capable of doing and what we should do. We didn't execute. There were mistakes that were made, and that's not how we played the last month. It's a tough one."

The Eagles' defense started the game fast, limiting Miami to just two field goals and scoring on a safety. But then, the trouble started as the second quarter began winding down.

A blocked punt gave the Dolphins the ball at the Philadelphia 12-yard line and the defense was unable to hold up. A touchdown made the score 16-13 at halftime.

Then early in the fourth quarter, another freak play finished favorably for Miami. Barwin batted a Ryan Tannehill pass on a first-and-goal play, and with the ball high in the air, it looked as though Philadelphia might grab the interception in the end zone. Again, luck was not on the Eagles' side and wide receiver Jarvis Landry made the catch for six.

"That's kind of how the day went," Barwin explained. "I batted it up. I think it was up in the air for four seconds. It's got to be a pick if I do bat it. It's a pick if I don't bat it. But, obviously there were a couple plays there where the ball kind of rolled their way. That's how the game goes sometimes."

"A tipped ball gets thrown up for a touchdown. That was just crazy," said safety Walter Thurmond who sacked Tannehill for the safety in the first quarter. "Those are some things you just can't control. It's just part of the game. I think we can play tougher. We still have the ability to create those turnovers and today we just fell short of that.

"It's one thing to get three-and-outs. That's pretty big. That's kind of what the standard for the league is. When you hold yourself in a high regard and want to be great, we have to get the ball back. We have to get turnovers. We have to be able to put points on the board as well, to do what we can just wanting to be an elite defense."

The entire Eagles' defense blamed itself for the loss. Mistakes allowed the Dolphins to take advantage in the final minutes of play.

The team knows the mistakes need to be fixed. At 4-5, it still has a chance for success this season, but it needs to stop beating itself week after week.

"It always comes down to something and it's always on our end," Thurmond said. "It's not like a team just comes out and just beats us down for four quarters and it was like, 'That team just overpowered us and we lost the game.' That hasn't been the case. It's always been in our control, whether it be a certain technique, false start, interception, deep ball or blocked punt. It's something we can control.

"It always comes back down to us. It's just one of those things where we need to snap out of it and break this habit that we have created somehow and get back to work and make the necessary corrections that we need to."

The Eagles returned home to face the Dolphins in Week 10 of the regular season. View the full gallery here...

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