PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doug Pederson certainly did not sound like the head coach who lost a winnable game just a little more than 24 hours ago.
“Hey, are we still 3-1?” Pederson asked Angelo Cataldi during his weekly 8:00 a.m. Monday morning call-in to the 94WIP Morning Show. “OK, good.
“It’s a tough one to stomach, it’s a tough one to take, but let me tell you something — what we over came, offensively, defensively, in the second half to put ourselves in position to win this football game. You have to credit the team for that, you have to credit the guys for that. The effort, the attitude on the sideline. Even after [in] the locker room, the positive nature of the guys was tremendous to see. No pointing fingers and listen, it’s tough. We felt like we should have won the game, but you know what, this is the National Football League.”
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Coming out of the bye week, the Eagles defense uncharacteristcally gave up three touchdown passes on three drives to start the game. Entering the game, the Eagles had not allowed any touchdown passes. The Lions gained 199 yards in the first half, compared to just 45 in the final 30 minutes.
“I don’t know,” Pederson said when asked what was going on with the defense. “Couldn’t get them in third down situations, we had some penalties. So there’s some things there you can kind of look it. Three drives, three touchdowns. Uncharacterstic of our defense. We gotta figure it out. We gotta figure out why. It has nothing to do with effort, scheme, things like that — guys just need to make plays.”
Listen: Doug Pederson on the 94WIP Morning Show
Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested during the bye week for putting a loaded firearm through the x-ray machine at Miami Interntional airport, forgetting it was in his bag. Bradham seemed to play less snaps in the first half and some speculated it was a discplinary decision. Pederson says that’s not true.
“Not at all. Not at all,” said Pederson. “In fact, when you look at play time for this football game, Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks played 80-percent of the snaps. And they were only out 13 plays of this game and third drive of the game was a 12-play drive so there’s the difference.
“Listen, it had nothing to do with linebackers or play time, or anything like that. The real fact of the matter is that the defense was on the field for 32 plays in the first half for touchdowns, that’s a long time. That’s a long time and guys do need rest. We rotate our defensive line that way and we do the same thing with our linebackers. And we played a lot of dime, if you noticed too we played a lot of dime personnel with only one linebacker on the field. [Stephen] Tulloch was that backer at some point, along with Jordan.”
After not commiting any turnovers all season long, the Eagles offense had two giveaways on their final two plays — a Ryan Mathews fumble and a Carson Wentz interception.
With 1:28 remaining in the game trailing 24-23 with no timeouts, Wentz took a shot deep to Nelson Agholor against Lions corner Darius Slay on the first play of the drive. The result was the rookie’s first career interception.
“It’s going to be a learning lesson for him, it’s a teachable moment for him,” Pederson said of Wentz’s interception. “Were there some other options on the play? There were some other opportunities, but again, in the heat of the battle he’s trying to make a play and give one our players an opportunity. And this is something that we learn as quarterbacks, even at a young age in high school and when I was coaching quarterbacks back in the day there. You don’t throw the ball late down the middle of the field because that’s the ultimate penalty in negative things can happen. He’ll get better, he’ll watch the film, and make those corrections and won’t let it happen again.”