ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A week off left the Philadelphia Eagles rested and rusty.
Disciplined, mistake-free football helped the Eagles start 3-0. Penalties and turnovers led to Philadelphia’s first loss.
Maybe the bye came at the wrong time. The Eagles were on a roll following an impressive 34-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“That’s the concern when you have that much time off,” coach Doug Pederson said. “You’d love to continue to play, but it is what it is. We didn’t make the schedule, we had a bye and we have two games on the road, and we just have to learn to take advantage of these situations and we just came up a little bit short.”
The Eagles (3-1) started slow at Detroit, falling behind 14-0 and 21-7. They rallied in the second half and had a 23-21 lead when Ryan Mathews lost a fumble on third-and-2. A first down would’ve sealed the win.
It was Philadelphia’s first turnover this season and it allowed the Lions (2-3) to take a 24-23 lead on a field goal. Carson Wentz and the offense had time for a comeback, but the rookie quarterback inexplicably heaved a desperation pass on first down that resulted in his first interception.
“I was surprised he even threw that,” said Darius Slay, who made the pick. “I was in great position, so I’m like, ‘OK.’ But then I looked in the air and I said, ‘Oh, the ball is coming for real. He’s really throwing this. Oh well, it’s time for his first career pick.'”
The game wouldn’t have come down to the end if the Eagles weren’t so sloppy. They committed 14 penalties, including some costly ones. Fletcher Cox was called for unnecessary roughness when he ripped Matthew Stafford’s helmet off in the second quarter. That negated a third-down sack and the Lions drove for a touchdown instead of trying a field goal.
“There’s a lot of bad things that we’ll see on tape that we can’t do, as far as beating ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot, losing contain, all those things that we can correct,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “But there’s a lot of good things coming out of these types of games. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the fact that if we play our style of football, we settle down, everybody does their job one play at a time, we’ll usually give ourselves a good chance to win.”
The Eagles fell behind Dallas (4-1) in the NFC East standings with a tough game at Washington (3-2) coming up. The Redskins have won three straight after a 0-2 start, but they’re 1-2 at home.
The schedule doesn’t get easier after Washington. Minnesota (5-0) visits the Eagles on Oct. 23. Philadelphia then goes back on the road at the Cowboys and at the Giants.
“We just can’t beat ourselves,” receiver Jordan Matthews said. “I think everybody’s got to take a look in the mirror and just say, ‘OK, how are we going to come back and finish next game?'”
NOTES: DE Bryan Braman has a left shoulder AC sprain and CB Leodis McKelvin has a sore hamstring. Both are expected to miss practice Wednesday. … Pederson said the recovery of Mathews’ fumble should’ve been reversed after a video review because Eagles center Jason Kelce touched the ball while out of bounds. “It’s a dead ball out of bounds. That’s the rule,” Pederson said.
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