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October 09, 2016

Instant observations: Lions 24, Eagles 23

Eagles NFL

The Eagles dug themselves quite the hole in the first half at Ford Field on Sunday, and they couldn’t quite get out of it. Carson Wentz had a chance to win at the end of the game, but he threw his first career interception as the Detroit Lions escaped with a 24-23 victory.

For the Eagles and their fans, this loss will be very difficult to stomach. Here’s what I saw:

The good

•    Jim Schwartz must have gotten through to the Eagles defense in the locker room. In the first half, that unit played as poorly as you could imagine. In the second half, they played as well as you could hope for. The Lions finished with three points in the final 30 minutes, and those only came after the Lions were gifted excellent field position by Ryan Mathews.

•    Well, getting Nigel Bradham more involved helped, too. He was the best player on the field in the final 30 minutes:

•    Wentz finished 25-33 for 238 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Particularly in the middle two quarters, the rookie was very sharp.

The bad

•    After the Eagles received a gift fumble from Matthew Stafford deep in Lions territory, Wentz took a couple of shots at the end zone but was unsuccessful. On both throws, his receivers (Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham) appeared to have the ability to make a play, but they couldn’t get it done.

•    The Eagles hadn’t turned the ball over all season until Ryan Mathews coughed it up trying to run the clock out. Needless to say, that can’t happen.

•    Wentz’s decision to go deep to Agholor on the final drive wasn’t a wise one. He had been moving the ball downfield all day with short and intermediate throws, and Agholor against Darius Slay is not the matchup that you want.

The ugly

•    When Brandon Brooks’ holding penalty negated a long Ryan Mathews run, it felt like fifth soul-crushing penalty on the Eagles. For the game, the Birds finished with 14 penalties for 111 yards. That’s the game right there.

Referee Pete Morelli and his crew called an interesting game, but the Eagles coaching staff will certainly look to correct all of these penalties this week.