'It's like the Bad News Bears ...': Lifeless Lions trounced by Eagles, limp into bye week
Detroit — The Philadelphia Eagles limped into Ford Field on Sunday losers of five of their past six games and looked to be the wounded prey the winless Detroit Lions needed to get that first taste of victory.
Instead, for the second time in three weeks, the Lions were embarrassed on their home turf as the Eagles scored the game's first 41 points and coasted to a 44-6 victory. With the loss, the Lions head into their bye week at 0-8. The Eagles improved to 3-5 with the win.
The dismantling was as thorough as it was embarrassing. The Lions couldn't sustain drives on offense, couldn't stop the Eagles on defense and committed dumb penalties on both sides of the ball.
"It’s like the Bad News Bears on some stuff, man," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "That’s on me, man. You don’t play that bad unless your head coach did not did not have you ready to go, so I did not. That’s very evident. I think we all know that."
The Eagles, despite missing their starting running back Miles Sanders, who landed on injured reserve days earlier, ran at will behind the less-than-intimidating tandem of Boston Scott and Jordan Howard.
Scott, in his fourth year with the Eagles, carried the ball 12 times for 60 yards, scoring twice. And Howard, who was promoted off the team's practice squad on Saturday, made his 2021 debut with 57 yards and two scores, also on 12 carries.
"It’s a testament to the hard work that they put in and their patience they’ve had to wait for their opportunity to come at the end of the day," Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "What a job they did of taking advantage of it. They came out, they played well, yards after contact. They did a hell of a job."
The Eagles' scoring barrage didn't get started until late in the first quarter as the two sides traded punts to open the contest, prior to Lions kicker Austin Seibert missing a 47-yard field goal, hooking the effort outside the left upright.
Taking advantage of the field position after the missed kick, the Eagles quickly worked across midfield, powered by a pair of end-arounds to receiver Jalen Reagor, netting 21 total yards. A 16-yard pass from Hurts to Quez Watkins down to the 4-yard line set up Scott for an easy touchdown plunge.
The Eagles would extend the early lead to 10 with a 43-yard field goal, while the Lions battled through a comedy of errors on their next offensive possession, dropping a pass, committing a false start and running back D'Andre Swift tripping over his own feet after making a catch in space.
Philadelphia added another touchdown before the half behind an efficient drive. Scott opened the series with a 19-yard carry, while Hurts scrambled twice for 26 yards and connected two times with tight end Dallas Goedert for 28 more. That set up Howard for a 4-yard touchdown run, his first since Week 9 of the 2020 season.
The Lions had another chance to get on the board before the half, but instead of kicking a short field goal, coach Dan Campbell had his team go for it on fourth-and-one from the 22-yard line with 13 seconds left, only to see quarterback Jared Goff sacked for the third time.
"I hate what I did before halftime, freaking hate it," Campbell said. "I don’t hate going for it, but I should’ve used a timeout going into third-and-one. So that didn’t help either. Look, I got out-coached, man. I got out-coached. I didn’t help these guys."
After a halftime ceremony to honor former linebacker Chris Spielman's induction into the "Pride of the Lions," the Eagles continued to pour it on. Hurts scrambled for 20 yards on third-and-12 to open the third quarter, fueling an 11-play, 90-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard scoring run for Scott.
"Yeah, defensive line play wasn’t very good today," Lions lineman Michael Brockers said. "...I told the team that. I told a lot of guys that I have to be better for them and each person in this locker room has to look at themselves and feel that same way. We have to be better for each other."
The Lions responded with a 34-yard pass from Goff to rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown into Eagles territory, but immediately stalled. On fourth down, under duress, Goff inexplicably threw the ball away.
"That was a misfire," Goff said. "I was not trying to throw that ball away. That ball came out high. I knew what the situation was and that was a mistake physically, not mentally."
With the short field, the Eagles needed just nine plays to drive 53 yards for another touchdown. Howard capped this one from 2 yards out, making it 31-0.
Fifteen seconds later, Philadelphia was back in the end zone.
On Detroit's first snap of their series, Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox (Detroit King) punched the ball free from Swift's grasp. The fumble was scooped up by former Lions corner Darius Slay, who scampered 33 yards for the touchdown.
Despite the crowd chanting for Goff to be replaced by backup David Blough, the Lions stuck with their starter, only to turn the ball over on downs in four plays. Taking control at Detroit's 31-yard line, the Eagles managed to kill more than four minutes off the clock before adding another field goal.
Detroit ended Philadelphia's shutout bid with 7:14 remaining after rookie running back Jermar Jefferson sliced through the middle of the offensive line for an 8-yard scoring run. The two-point conversion attempt failed when Goff was hit as he threw.
After a failed onside kick, the Eagles added another 41-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, his third of the day.