By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (CBS) — The twisted, anguished expression that swept across Leodis McKelvin’s face said it all. That was the reaction the Eagles cornerback had after staying stride for stride with Ralph Lewis, before colliding with teammate Jaylen Watkins, which enabled Lewis to haul in an Eli Manning 30-yard touchdown pass.

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The play was a microcosm of the Eagles’ first eight games this season—a team that constantly gets in its own way—and was a leading contributor to their 28-23 loss against the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Coach Doug Pederson’s aggression disastrously backfired. He tried to convert two fourth downs in the first half, leaving six possible points off the board—a difference that could have given the Eagles a 1-point win.

When asked why he didn’t kick the field goals, Pederson responded, “I really felt good with how we were moving the football. It was my decision to stay aggressive on the field and stay aggressive with our team. It came down to how we were operating at that time.”

The loss dropped the Eagles to 4-4, and they remain winless in the NFC East, while the Giants improved to 5-3 overall and appear right in the thick of what appears to be a wide-open playoff race in the NFC.

The Eagles, meanwhile, seem to be in freefall. It’s halfway through the season and Sunday’s dagger placed them in a desperate situation with no win in sight the remainder of the year, having to face Atlanta, Green Bay, Seattle, Cincinnati, Baltimore and rematches with the Giants, Washington, and Dallas.

With the exception of the loss to Washington, which simply outplayed the Birds, a mounting number of Eagles’ mistakes led to their downfall. And with each passing week, it seems like the same errors. Whether it’s the secondary getting tangled up with one another, or Jason Kelce being pushed back into Carson Wentz’s lap, or Wentz panicking with the ball, or Eagles receivers not getting down field beyond the first-down markers, the miscues are constant.

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On Sunday, the cascade of mush started with Wentz.

Two of his first three passes were intercepted. He overthrew both intended receivers. He finished the game 27-47, for 364 yards, but ended the first quarter He closed the quarter going 6 of 11 for 96 yards and a quarterback rating of 44.3. The Eagles went into halftime trailing, 21-10, despite the fact that they had outgained the Giants, 248-177.

A looming issue was third-down efficiency. The Eagles were 1-for-7 converting third downs in the first half, and couldn’t convert fourth downs at the Giants’ 23, and after Darren Sproles’ 66-yard punt return in the second quarter, at the Giants’ 5. The Birds finished the game converting a mere 3 of 15 third downs. They were 2-for-6 in the red zone.

Wentz kept missing high.

“I think some of that may be the fact that (Wentz) is on his back foot, not following through, there some things mechanically that make the ball (release) high,” Pederson said. “All things are fixable.”

At 4-4 and sinking fast, maybe not.


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