Reeling Eagles get routed again
DETROIT — Chip Kelly's third season as Philadelphia's coach is in danger of unraveling.
The Eagles were blown out for a second straight game, falling 45-14 to the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
Although Philadelphia entered the day only a game out of first place in the mediocre NFC East, Kelly's team was uncompetitive in this Thanksgiving matchup, allowing Matthew Stafford to throw for five touchdown passes.
"I think we all take accountability," Kelly said. "It starts with me. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, and I don't think anybody points fingers at anybody."
The Eagles (4-7) have lost three in a row, and this is the first time in team history they've allowed 45 points in back-to-back games in the same season, according to STATS. Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay 45-17 last weekend.
Kelly guided the Eagles to 10-6 records in each of his first two regular seasons with the team, making the playoffs once. They're still in the postseason race this year, but nothing they've shown lately inspires much confidence.
Philadelphia was outgained 430-227, allowed three touchdown catches by Calvin Johnson and gave up 3 1/2 sacks to Ziggy Ansah. Mark Sanchez was sacked six times in all.
Now the Eagles have to play at New England in their next game. Sanchez doesn't expect any dissension in the ranks.
"There shouldn't be. I just think we've got too many good players — and people, really," Sanchez said. "You've got to be able to take the good and the bad, and try to stay positive and keep playing."
Sanchez was playing because Sam Bradford missed his second consecutive game. Bradford has a shoulder issue.
The Lions have won three straight after a 1-7 start, and this was also their third victory in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game.
Stafford finished 27 of 38 for 337 yards. Johnson had eight catches for 93 yards.
After not throwing to Johnson much early in the game, Stafford started connecting with the star receiver. The Eagles couldn't do much about it, especially after starting cornerback Nolan Carroll left the game with a broken right ankle and was replaced by rookie Eric Rowe.
Stafford threw a 25-yard pass high in the end zone, where only the 6-foot-5 Johnson could catch it, to put Detroit ahead 24-7 with 12 seconds left in the first half. Taking advantage of one-on-one coverage, Stafford threw TD passes of 4 and 3 yards to Johnson in the third quarter.
Sanchez completed 19 of 27 passes for 199 yards and two TDs.
After the Lions punted on their first drive, they did whatever they wanted on offense.
Stafford started the scoring barrage with an 8-yard TD pass to Theo Riddick, who made a sharp move to the inside to get away from linebacker Mychal Kendricks late in the opening quarter. The Eagles tied the game when Sanchez capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard pass to Brent Celek early in the second.
Stafford threw a 2-yard TD pass to Golden Tate, who lined up as a fullback and went to the flat, where he caught the ball and stopped, letting safety Walter Thurmond run past him.
"Probably as complete a victory as we've had around here," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "I think all the way across the board, the guys played well."
Kelly said defensive coordinator Bill Davis will remain in that role, and he said he feels his players are still competing. Safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed.
"Your effort has nothing to do with the result. If games were won strictly off of guys wanting to win, everybody would be undefeated," Jenkins said. "Just because you miss a play, you drop a ball, you miss a tackle or you give up a block or whatever, that doesn't mean your heart's not in it."
Notes: Eagles WR Josh Huff was evaluated for a concussion during the game, and T Jason Peters left with a left ankle injury. ... Lions S Glove Quin left the game with an injured left ankle, which he was later protecting with a walking boot. ... The game was stopped briefly in the fourth quarter when people ran onto the field with a banner promoting animal liberation.