It would take a while to recap every Eagles penalty Sunday. The team had 14 in all, costing 111 yards.
But it would be a waste of time to complain about it. Head coach Doug Pederson isn’t upset about the penalty disparity — the Lions committed just two in their 24-23 upset of the Birds in Week 5 — he’s impressed at how the team reacted to them.
“We almost overcame it and won it,” the coach said, “and that’s a tribute to the football team and the way the guys battled. To have as many plays on defense to start this game — three drives, there was like 32 plays, and if you count penalties and everything, it’s a bunch of football. That was their game. Our game was we battled, we hung in there, and the defense played outstanding in the second half. We made plays on offense and had a chance to win it with two minutes to go in the game.”
Indeed the Eagles fought their way back to grab the lead with just over a minute left and prior to twoturnovers (the first two of the season), they had a real chance of finishing an impressive comeback.
But the team wouldn’t have been in the position to comeback had they played a cleaner football game. Or, if the officiating crew was a little less one-sided on how their calls were divvied out.
“We have to play smarter, obviously,” Pederson said when asked about the officiating. “The facemask onFletcher [Cox] is always going to be unsportsmanlike, it’s going to be a personal foul, those types of things. We’ve just got to play smart. As I mentioned, I think that how we came back in this game, I think it just shows the character of this football team and where we are from even a year ago. I think this game a year ago got out of hand, and it got shut down, and it got blown out. This group didn’t do that yesterday. This group was resilient. This group battled. The sideline was calm. Whatever adversity came our way, we were able to overcome it.”
In the locker room Sunday no one was blaming the refs. The Eagles, professionally, took responsibility for their mistakes.
“The biggest thing is we just shot ourselves in the foot a couple too many times.,” Carson Wentz said.”Some of the holding plays, some of those things, they happen. But some of those delays of game and some of those mistakes that we can control ourselves we’ve got to just clean up.”
At 3-1, the Eagles are preparing to head to Washington knowing they have been their own worst enemy this season.
“We just can’t beat ourselves,” Jordan Matthews said.”That’s everybody, so it’s just one of those things where as a team, we’ve got to go back and reevaluate the fact that they didn’t essentially just come out here and just beat us down, we beat ourselves.”