The Eagles were 30 yards from winning a football game on Sunday.
Then they went the wrong way.
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In the fourth quarter of a six-point game, the Eagles were gifted the ball at the Minnesota 30-yard line after a backwards pass from Kirk Cousins was ruled a fumble. This was the drive after the Eagles scored their first touchdown of the game. And now they had a chance to take a lead and avoid an ugly 23-21 loss (see observations).
They blew it.
The Eagles turned a 1st-and-10 from the 30-yard line into a 4th-and-20 from the 40. They coughed up a chance to score a touchdown. And worse, they basically took points off the board, losing ground that took them out of Jake Elliott's field goal range. (Doug Pederson said Elliott's range was from the 35-yard line and in.)
"It's frustrating every time you don't put points on the board," Wentz said. "When you pretty much start in field goal position with our kicker, it's even more frustrating. We gotta be better."
Here's how that whole drive went:
• 1st-and-10 from the 30: Illegal formation on the Eagles
• 1st-and-15 from the 35: Incompletion short left to Alshon Jeffery
• 2nd-and-15 from the 35: Neutral zone infraction on Minnesota
• 2nd-and-10 from the 30: Intentional grounding on Wentz
• 3rd-and-20 from the 40: Incomplete deep to Jeffery
• 4th-and-20 from the 40: Delay of game after trying to draw a penalty
• 4th-and-25 from the 45: Punt
The penalties are what have to be the most frustrating part of that drive. That first one, which was a wide receiver lining up incorrectly, has to really kill them.
"It's unfortunate," Wentz said. "Those are things that, I mean, we've got to take a real hard look in the mirror. Little mistakes like that, kind of the same thing I echoed last week after the game. These little mistakes that can sometimes go overlooked are just killing us. We're playing like we're a young rookie team and we're not. We gotta really be hard on ourselves and learn from these mistakes and turn it around fast."
For as slow as the offense started and for all the other things that went wrong, the Eagles had a chance to erase a 20-3 deficit. They would have completely closed the gap with a touchdown on that drive. Instead, they punted and then the defense gave up a drive that ended in a 52-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.
"We have a chance as an offense to pretty much put us in position to win the game, but we don't do that," Zach Ertz said. "We go backwards."
That's how you turn a promising situation into one that costs you a ballgame and puts you at 2-3 on the season.