Lions vs. Eagles: Philadelphia Continues to Define Mediocrity

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 14, 2012

October 14, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) walks off the field after losing in overtime to Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Lions defeated the Eagles 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Same old, same old for the Philadelphia Eagles, who were dealt their second heart-breaking loss in as many weeks and continued to be haunted by turnovers in an overtime defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Eagles might have a championship-caliber roster, but Super Bowl-worthy teams don't lose tight games in back-to-back weeks and they certainly don't drop games like these at home. 

Philadelphia benefited from 16—sixteen!—Detroit penalties, an NFL high for 2012, but turnovers again prevented them from pulling away and the defense again couldn't get stops when it mattered. 

Their three turnovers—all assigned to Michael Vick—moved their 2012 ratio to minus-9, which ranks 31st in the league. But they still held a double-digit lead in the final five minutes and let it slip away, allowing Detroit to accumulate 253 yards of offense and 17 points in the final frame alone. 

That had a lot to do with Calvin Johnson, Detroit's game-changing freak of nature in the passing game. Philly sold out to stop Megatron, and it worked for much of the first half. But Johnson wore the defense down as the game advanced and a defense that was superb on third downs early was rarely even able to get to third downs late. 

At the end of the day, they were simply outplayed by the Lions at home, which is a very bad sign.

So why is it that an Eagles team loaded with talent continues to deliver average-at-best efforts? The turnovers are a huge factor, but they don't tell the entire story. Brent Celek dropped a touchdown pass as they continue to struggle in the red zone, while a pass rush that led the NFL in sacks last year was unable to take down the opposing quarterback for the third straight week. 

They're now 3-3 and flirting with another .500-ish season, which the man signing the checks has already said would be unacceptable. That's why this is the most important bye week in team history. It's now or never. They have two weeks to figure out why they can't protect the football on offense and suddenly don't have the necessary sting on defense.

Then they'll have to prove they've turned a corner in Week 8, against the franchise Vick once led, the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons.

What happens next could decipher what happens to the Eagles this year and what happens to Vick and Andy Reid long term.

No pressure.